Have you ever gone shopping and been impressed by the stacks of clothing? Not necessarily the variety of different items that you can buy, but rather that's there's literally stacks of the same item folded and sorted by sizes; small, medium, large and so on. You can reach into the appropriate stack and pull any one of those t-shirts, shorts or whatever in your size and know that it is going to be almost exactly the same as any other in that stack. That's pretty amazing if you think about it. The secret behind this uniformity are the patterns that are used to create each garment which ensure consistency in size, shape and style. Much like these patterns, commercial real estate templates can help ensure consistency in how your company is seen by the marketplace.Templates are often eschewed as tools left to the uninitiated, un-talented or those lacking resources, but the reality is that they are great for business. In a previous blog, we spoke about the importance of consistency in executing brand strategy and templates certainly help with that. A well done template can ensure consistent use of brand elements like logos, fonts and colors or help with less obvious things like positioning and brand protection. What we didn't talk about in that previous post was familiarity and commercial real estate templates will quickly instill this with your audiences.
The science of familiarity
It turns out, a lot of research has been done on the topic of familiarity. Humans instinctively sort and classify things to create logical orders and make sense of inputs. Things that are common or familiar are automatically placed into a bucket of “good” or “safe”, because of this we actually prefer these things. In fact, according to the magazine Psychology Today, familiarity can actually breed enjoyment. With repeated exposure to stimuli of any kind, as humans, we develop an acceptance and a preference for that stimuli. If you need more evidence of this, consider this illustration from the article; “Most of us hated most vegetables growing up, but we can't remember that now. (Most of us hate the taste of beer when we first consume it!) But over time, and with repeated exposure to them, we grow to like them. The effect of familiarity on liking is thus slow, but reliable.” Imagine if, over time, the result of your on-going direct mail or email marketing campaigns is that your target audience not only recognizes your marketing piece, but actually get enjoyment in receiving it. That would really be a great day. A good commercial real estate template moves you in this direction by standardizing the presentation of your marketing communications.
Distinguishing a good template
Before you go out and start downloading templates from the dozens of websites that make these available, we should first distinguish what makes a good template. Familiarity is great, but if the template doesn't support your brand and your image then it will do more to create a negative perception or confusion than anything else. Here's a few things to look for.
Easily Customizable - A good template should be easy to use, enabling you to simply incorporate your company's branding standards including colors, fonts and logos. The best ones will be compatible with Adobe InDesign and PowerPoint.
Commercial Real Estate Specific – Any template that you use, should be specific to commercial real estate marketing. Look for a supplier that has its own proven track record in this industry and an understanding of the difference between an offering memorandum and a comps report.
Comprehensive Marketing Toolkit – You'll likely need a full complement of templates, so be sure to find a supplier or commercial real estate marketing firm that can provide templates to address all of your market touch points like email, direct mail, flyers, case studies and market reports.
Agency quality – A lot of companies will offer templates simply as click-bait and fail to invest in designs that have the quality that you'll likely want for your firm. Look for details in the design – are the images crisp and professional, margins and spacing should be consistent throughout and there should be a good balance of white space to copy.