Nov 3, 2020

Mastering the HumbleBrag // Realtor Marketing 101

The Urban Dictionary offers several definitions of the term ‘HumbleBrag’ and none of them are complimentary.  To paraphrase (and sanitize) from the UD, the ‘HumbleBrag’ is intentional false modesty.  It is the art of saying something meant to be self-effacing with the underlying intent of being self-promoting.  The practice is most recognizable on Twitter as posts by celebrities (or the ‘wanna be’ celebs) in attempts to compliment themselves while still acting as if they are living pedestrian lives.  Most of us find their attempts at thinly veiled false modesty both disingenuous and shallow.

calipariDespite our general distaste for the HumbleBrag practice, as Realtors, we are some of the worst offenders and we have built entire marketing programs around the HumbleBrag technique.  We have all seen the posts…

  • “I am so lucky to have so many wonderful clients.”
  • “Writing 3 contracts today is so tiring but so rewarding! #lovemyclients”
  • “Just showed a home and took a listing.  So blessed to be busy”


The VCU Brandcenter is located in the heart of our city and is cranking out talent at an amazing clip.  Find a graduate (or intern) and hire them.  Social strategists like the Hodges Partnership can help you understand the correct way to engage your clientele online.  If hiring a PR firm is not in the budget, you can at least read THP blog to learn some basic strategies.   Or you can choose a best in class online presence and follow their lead.

Last night I watched StyleCraft Homes take home about 10 trophies at the MAME Awards (sponsored by the Home Builders Association of Richmond.)  Bayonet (formerly Studio Savv Designs) is the marketing brains behind StyleCraft and have helped a mid-sized home builder to grow and thrive during some of the most challenging times in the last several decades.  Their campaigns were intelligent, memorable and direct.  The ads  helped StyleCraft sell new homes by pitching such novel concepts as quality and value by engaging their clients in the home building process.  It worked.

In our industry, we constantly fight the perception that we are less than accomplished in our promotional efforts.  While some of this perception comes from the fact that we have neither the time, the skills nor the budget to create entire advertising campaigns, much of it comes from the shameless self-promotion that we offer up as ‘marketing.’  A true campaign is a hard thing to execute but substituting constant ‘HumbleBrags’ for original content is not acceptable.  Creation of valuable content and delivering it in such a way that is honest and engaging should be the ultimate goal.  Lets stop telling everyone how busy we are and start telling them what is actually going on.  We will all be rewarded for it.