One of the most overused words in marketing and media in general is the word “iconic.” If words themselves could be iconic, iconic would be, well, iconic.
The term comes from the Greek word “eikonikos,” meaning image or likeness. The English word first appeared in the 17th century and was used to describe the religious imagery found in early Eastern Orthodox Christian churches.
Today, the word is used to describe just about anything that has captured the public’s imagination. The Empire State Building is a New York icon, Steve Jobs is an icon of the technology industry, the famous red phone boxes found throughout London are iconic. People are deemed icons as result of their power and influence — Oprah is an icon in the entertainment industry, Elvis and the Beatles are iconic musicians, and the list goes on.
When we think of an icon from a marketing perspective the first thing to come to mind is a logo, or an emblem, symbol, or graphic mark that represents a brand:
- Apple’s bitten apple
- McDonald’s golden arches
- Nike’s swoosh
- Starbuck’s mermaid
These trademarked images are synonymous with their brands and recognized around the world. But, a logo isn’t always a symbol.
The most famous sans serif typeface, Helvetica, has been employed by The North Face, Target, TOYOTA, NASA, and Google to name just a few. Even audio can be iconic — think T Mobile’s, or better yet, Intel’s famous chimes.
Sign of the Times
Perhaps the most iconic image in real estate is the “For Sale” sign. Long before realtor.com and the internet, the For Sale sign was there to entice “Sunday Drivers” with the prospect of a new home. Today, the iconic sign represents only about 7% of how buyers find the home they purchase according to the National Association of Realtors.
The internet, however, accounts for 51%, and the real estate agent is responsible for 30%. But that could be about to change.
The New Digital Real Estate Sign
Compass, a nationwide brokerage, is introducing a new internet-connected For Sale sign. The sign is made up of three individual pieces:
- the stand
- a circular centerpiece that features the agent’s contact information
- a glowing ring to make it easier to see at night
The ring can also project a variety of colors and animated patterns. There is a QR code on the sign that potential buyer can use to download the Compass app for more information.
Currently the lettering on the sign needs to be changed manually, but Compass hopes to introduce a fully digital sign which can be updated and controlled over the internet. According to Fast Company,
“A limited-edition first run of the signs will cost agents $700 a pop to start (agents can pay another $300 to have their signs show up on the Waze traffic app). The price is expected to drop under $500 for future iterations.”
Imagine updating a “For Sale” to “Under Contract” through an app on your phone.
The new “lollipop” sign brings a fresh digital look compared to the old analog For Sale sign. In the future, this new signage could become more interactive, enabling prospective buyers to review information about the house and the surrounding area.
While Compass is setting its sights on the luxury market initially, as the cost of these signs decrease, they will no doubt become more ubiquitous.
The question is, will they become “iconic?”