What Is a Brand?

The Importance of Our Brand

Like a person’s signature, our Nareit identity is shorthand for who we are. As a national trade association, our brand reflects our industry and our members. One brand unites all our offerings, enhancing our credibility and making our organization more visible and recognizable. It helps position us, and the industry, for more dynamic growth. That’s the power of branding. Read on to learn more, including the key role you play in building our brand.

Instant recognition

A brand is far more than a name. It instantly identifies an organization and what it stands for. The strongest brands communicate their messages at a glance, setting an organization’s products and services apart from competitors and communicating the collective strengths of its offerings.

Visibility and value 

Few people recognize the names Porthos, Aramis and Athos. But everyone’s heard of The Three Musketeers. Brands can transfer the strengths of individual products and services to all of an organization’s offerings, delivering visibility and value that no single offering could achieve alone. And as a national trade association, our collective support of the “REIT” brand strengthens our industry.

Building a brand

Successful brands are built over time. They must be credible, backed by outstanding products, people and services. They must clearly and unmistakably communicate the value of those offerings. And they must be consistently used so that each appearance adds to the combined impact.

First impressions

Carefully coordinated introductions win out every time. Brands capture the attention of key audiences and quickly deliver powerful messages to set the brand apart. A strong, consistently executed brand expression plays a key role in raising the prominence of an organization.

The elements of brand identity

When you think of a swoosh, what brand comes to mind? Logos, like Nike's swoosh, symbolize the unique aspects of a brand. And their design helps shape your impressions of all they represent. But as important as logos are, they’re just one of several key elements of brand identity.

Visual identity

Much of a brand’s identity is visual. Over time, a brand’s unique colors and type fonts can trigger instant associations. Even subtle cues work. For example, the distinct way text is laid out on everything from stationery to web pages to brand advertising.

Words have power

People also form their impressions of a brand from the tone of what they read and hear. Coke wouldn’t be Coke if its ads sounded like they came from a Wall Street bank. Often overlooked, verbal identity is key to conveying a strong brand personality throughout all communications. Carefully articulated positioning should be a big part of what a company says or writes about itself and it should always be communicated using the brand’s unique voice.

Branding’s playbook

Establishing and maintaining a strong brand identity takes carefully coordinated teamwork. To convey a clear, consistent identity, all branding elements must work together. Reviewing Nareit Master Brand Guidelines is a good place to start. 

Strength in unity

People are bombarded with hundreds, if not thousands, of brand messages each day. Punching through the clutter is a major effort that becomes much easier when multiple products and services can be grouped under a single, powerful brand.

The power of one

Simplicity sells, especially when multiple products or services share a single, well-communicated brand. The brand’s messages are easier to understand. And a brand that’s easier to understand implies that it’ll also be easier to do business with the company behind it.

Making us more visible

Scatter nine people around a field and they might not attract much notice. But put them in uniforms and suddenly you see a team. Brands should strive to create the same kind of recognition for their offerings. And all it takes is one look.

Increasing consumer preference and brand loyalty

People are creatures of habit. Most prefer the tried-and-true. Customers happy with one offering are more likely to try others if they share the same brand. Soon, positive experiences with multiple offerings will combine to create broad, powerful brand identities.

Building a brand

It takes more than a name and logo to build a successful brand identity. People need to understand what sets the brand apart. They must recognize it amidst highly populated, competitive media environments. And then they need proof of all that is promised.

Pass the word

Successful brand identity campaigns make use of every possible medium, visual and verbal, to maintain and strengthen the brand and communicate its messages among all relevant audiences.

Stay on message

If people are to recognize a brand and associate it with the right messages, every appearance must reflect those messages in both content and style. From the way a logo is presented to the way the phones are answered, consistency carves out strong brand identities.