I look at a brand like a cake: the logo and livery are the icing on the cake, and the cake itself is the product/organisation made up of various ingredients such as quality, service, culture etc. Sure we can design the icing to look mouth watering and delicious, because this first impression is the key to enticing the consumer to take that bite. But on chomping into the cake, if we are left with a bad taste in the mouth there is no way we will be coming back for another bite.

So it is that my wife and I have been looking for a real estate agent, and trying to sell a house in the current market conditions we are aware it will be fairly tough, so we thought that we would choose an agent that would give us that little something extra. Trawling through the myriad of real estate agencies in the papers, one in particular appealed to my wife and myself. (We researched independently and happened to both agree on the same agent, surely a first!).

Visually the advert stood out miles above the rest. The placement was always superb in being 1st spread in; the photography was top notch; the logo and masthead was clean, modern and fresh and the advert was memorable because the format wasn’t the standard top to bottom layout of every other agent.

So going on how great their ads looked we proceeded to have an agent come around for an appraisal. He turned up promptly at the time agreed, (I’m a stickler for punctuality) and presented us a very impressively designed portfolio of their business and after introductions we all sat down as the agent told us about the history of the agency, all was going swimmingly with our experience with the brand so far.

On with the sales pitch he went and then the big one – their point of difference which is “our point of difference is we are different”. What?! (my wife and I looked wryly at one another), and throughout the appointment the same line kept popping up, even when I asked directly what is exactly the point of difference the reply was the still “our point of difference is we are different”.

As the meeting went on things just went downhill, what was initial charm became smarmy salesperson banter, the pushy nature to get us to sign up with him there and then turned to annoyance when we said, we would discuss things first, and it was clear to see that he had another appointment to get to and was in a hurry.

But the icing on the cake (excuse the pun) was that his appraisal of the value of our home was worked out purely on a calculation that is used across the board on all homes they appraise. It appears to work on square metres and other quantifiable elements without taking into account less tangible emotional aspects like the fact our house has bifold doors that open onto a wooden deck that overlooks parkland of established trees and waterways.

Suffice to say we didn’t use this particular real estate company. The agent we have listed with, certainly doesn’t have the fanciest icing, but the cake is made of ingredients that so far have left a palatable taste.