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When Google Says, “Jump”!

When Google says, “Jump”, do you say how high?  Or, do you question their authority?

We are referring to the new edict Google has put forth that websites should be “mobile friendly” before April 21st, 2015, or else!  Or else, what?

If you are concerned that your luxury real estate website will no longer be accessible on mobile devices because you do not comply with Google’s newest algorithms, that is not true. Your site will still be accessible, but your page ranking may be lowered, eventually. 

Since more and more people are searching while on the go, Google is now using their famous carrot and stick methodologies to reward “mobile friendly” website and penalize those that are not. By mobile friendly, it is generally meant that your website design readily adapts to the screen size and functionality of the devise being used and is not just a desktop design shrunk down on a smaller screen.  This is often referred to as responsive design because the page display responds to the device being used.

Since over one-half of property searches are now conducted on mobile devices we can understand Google’s own motivation here.  Real estate search may be a good barometer indicating that mobile web use across the board has become dominant.  Google wants to be the best at serving mobile ads and help keep the mobile customer satisfaction high.

Does this mean you have to jump right here and now into a new website? If you are dependent on buyer leads from Google search, a quick response to deploying responsive design on your website would be advisable.

But, we have been saying for some time now that it is better to be the Google of your marketplace (in terms of top-of-mind status vs. your competition) than to rank #1 on a Google search page.  In our opinion, luxury real estate agents are wasting too much time competing in the shark-infested waters of Google page rankings these days. Instead, we advocate focusing on gaining LISTINGS within an under served or uncontested market niche, and let the buyers come to you!  It is time for you to become the dominant player in your marketplace using your own wits and wean yourself off of Google dependence.

Go ahead and upgrade your websites to be more mobile friendly with responsive design.  But, do so on your own terms! Enough already, being dominated by Google.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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The Recipe to Attract an Abundance of Ideal Clients

Even with advanced communication devices and the Internet to connect us all so rapidly, good communication, like common sense, seems to be not so common. 

One way to gain market share as a luxury real estate marketing professional is to become known as an outstanding communicator, because good communication is itself a luxury.  But, that is only half of the secret of attracting more clients. Here is a recipe to attract an abundance of ideal clients who appreciate good communication.

When we ask luxury real estate professionals to define the qualities their ideal clients must have, invariably good communication is at the top of their list.  Yet, most have fallen into the trap of putting up with poor communicators because of an underlying notion that there is a scarcity of ideal clients.

The first step to attract an abundance of ideal clients is to make a commitment to surround yourself primarily with other good communicators. This applies to your co-workers, your service providers and even your friends.

Go cold turkey and extricate yourself from poor communicators or gradually upgrade your relationships. Take it at your own pace. The bottom line is how fast you want to reclaim your self-esteem because that is the secret to becoming a magnet that attracts more ideal clients.  Good communicators uplift your spirits and continuously add to the quality of your life. 

The second step is to make a pact to stay focused upon, acknowledge and appreciate good communication in all of your relationships. Simply refuse to dwell on episodes where you encounter poor communication. 

Have fun catching yourself when you start complaining about poor communicators. It is so easy to get carried away. By staying focused on this life-giving elixir of good communication you will naturally attract more like-minded people who value it.

Good communication is truly a luxury because it is rare. But, when you amp up your insistence to have it in your important relationships it becomes abundant.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Drone Syndrome

When adapting new technology in luxury real estate to your website, it is a good idea to consider the end-user.  There is no doubt that drone photography is impressive and the effects that can be created are comparable to films made for I-Max. However, will your buyer or seller want to see the effects every time they visit your site?

In viewing a real estate site with a home page that had beautiful drone videos, one of our friends remarked that he would need a Dramamine to continue viewing the site.  He would not go back to that site.

Will using drone photography in a listing video be the deciding feature that will win you the listing?   Who needs to be impressed, the buyer or the seller?

There is no doubt that the aerial view of a large estate, a ranch, or a waterfront property is impressive.  How often, does a buyer make a decision to buy a home based on aerial views?  How important is it to the seller to have his/her home photographed in this manner?  Do the sellers get bragging rights when talking to their friends, that their agent used a drone?

If you are going to use drone photography hire a professional, and make sure it is legal in your area.  However, do not get caught up in the drone syndrome just to appease sellers, and pass the Dramamine!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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The Magic of Mental De-Cluttering: The Benefit of Doubt!

In our previous post on this topic, The Magic of Mental “De-cluttering”, we advised that taking a few minutes several times a day to clear your mind enables you to see business opportunities and possibilities that you might otherwise miss. Here is a tip that can help you clear your mind so you can stay focused as a luxury real estate marketing professional.

The only thing that can stop you from succeeding in becoming a market leader (barring external circumstances that are truly beyond your control) is not taking consistent action toward your goal once you have identified your success formula. It may take some trial and error to develop your success formula, but that is all part of the game.

The number one enemy of consistent action is self-doubt.  It is self-doubts that start the process of cluttering your mind. It is you, second-guessing yourself that precipitates immobilization. 

The clutter accumulates when you allow yourself to get distracted by all kinds of people, circumstances or events.  Sure, there are some people who may try to immobilize you. But, it is only when you go into agreement with them that you use them as your excuse to slow yourself down or stop yourself from succeeding.

So, what is the remedy that can keep your mind clear, uncluttered and on track? Give yourself the benefit of the doubt! Test this out for yourself and watch how fast your mind becomes uncluttered, and clear. This will erase your uncertainty and restore your confidence. It is magic!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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The Magic of Mental De-Cluttering!

I was reading Michael Jacob's post on Active Rain yesterday about his progressive journey of de-cluttering the physical stuff in his life, which led me to thinking about something both Ron and I practice arduously on a daily basis: mental de-cluttering!

Mental de-cluttering is taking a few moments several times in one's day to clear all those thoughts that jump in and out of your consciousness that cause you to get distracted!  For example, it is that unpleasant encounter with a client who arrived late that makes you want to rant and rave to anyone who will listen, write a post about it, post on FB, Twitter, etc.  

The clutter compounds when your well meaning friends and commenters tell you all about the misery they suffered that morning. Or better yet they recount a whole string of events similar to yours.  This adds momentum to your incident, as they are in agreement with you about this client and how people today are mean, irresponsible, blah, blah,  blah!  And your outrage gets even bigger, which takes up more space in your head.

In marketing real estate, we all know that a cluttered room limits buyers' vision and diminishes their ability to see possibilities. The same is true of the mind. Mental clutter means you have less concentration and less focus available in your day.  

When your mind is clear you see opportunities and possibilities.  You may be surprised, you will find yourself working less hours and enjoying your life more. That is the magic of mental de-cluttering.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Precision Landing & Precision Branding

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, what words come to mind when people think about your personal or company brand.?  The entire exercise of branding is geared to take command of how you want people think about YOU!  If your target market instantly thinks of these words then you have achieved "precision branding".

In 2013 we named TESLA the "Luxury Brand of the Year" because Founder, Elon Musk shepherded TESLA to top-of-mind status in the luxury automotive industry. TESLA stands for superior Electronic Vehicle technology, innovation, reliability and extreme customer satisfaction. Now, many major automotive companies and other surprising entries in this field have plans to come out with EV's, including Apple, Google and Virgin. 

SpaceX is another Elon Musk company that designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company was founded in 2002 to revolutionize space technology, with the ultimate goal of enabling people to live on other planets.

What does SpaceX stand for in your mind?  You might say that the X stands for excitement, experimentation, and exploration (in space). SpaceX, as a brand is an excellent example of precision branding. 

There is a tremendous amount of detail that goes into crafting a brand with precision.  Ideally, your luxury real estate  logo itself should communicate the descriptive words that you want people to think of when they think of your brand.  Check out the SpaceX logo in the image above. And, take ONE-MINUTE + to watch the fun video below about a test of a Space X rocket achieving precision in its landing.  It is quite amazing!

CLICK IMAGE TO WATCH THE 1+ MINUTE VIDEO

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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The Luxury of Empathy & Compassion

CLICK TO WATCH THE VIDEO

More often than not, when you a sell a home, it represents a life-changing event for the buyer and the seller.  It could be a death in the family, or relocation due to a career change, or a divorce, or perhaps a downsizing of empty nesters. Changes bring out heightened emotions. For this reason, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, being empathetic and compassionate when dealing with your clients can set you apart from the pact and make you feel good at the same time.

In a world that is so closely connected it is more important now than ever to practice empathy and compassion. One place that you can start practicing is within a cyber community or an online professional network. In particular, stay clear of snarky comments on blog posts, as they are the precursors of cyber-bullying. And, bullying affects us all! 

Even those who insist on being snarky need empathy and compassion. At the source of all snarky remarks is a soul in pain.  They do not need you to add fuel to their fire.  Their remarks, like traps, seek your agreement and intend to ensnare you.  If they succeed in luring you in you inevitably become co-conspirators in a deadly game that results in a dwindling spiral of low self-esteem.

Monica Lewinsky lived in our LA zip code when the tsunami of public shunning and chastisement pummeled her nearly to death (by suicide). During this time, we actually sat next to her in our favorite breakfast spot where we remember feeling her pain.

Sure she made a mistake. She fell in love with her boss who happened to be the President of the United States. But, the source of the bombardment of criticism was not just from her local community as it would have been decades before.  It flooded in from all corners of the earth and not just from broadcast media, i.e., from TV, newspaper or radio commentators profiting (through advertisement) or comedians looking for laughs to fortify their fame.  It also came thundering in from bloggers and ordinary snarky people, who were complete strangers, commenting on the Internet.

Talk about being branded, personally! Yet, through all this we are happy to say that Monica Lewinsky absolutely triumphed over her adversity.  This post was actually inspired by her 2015 Ted Talk called, “The Price of Shame” (which we highly recommend) where she speaks out against cyber-bullying. 

Monica stated that she would never have survived such an ordeal had it not been for the support of family, friends and some professional help. But, the most poignant moment of her talk was saying that it was the empathy and compassion of complete strangers that finally got her through.

We encourage you to join us in practicing empathy and compassion at every possible opportunity.  Let's use the same media to spread the good word about the "new" Monica and also this very important topic, because cyber-bullying affects us all. It is a luxury for you because it makes you feel good and these are qualities that exemplify the best in the business of marketing luxury real estate. 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Luxury Is In The Details

yellowtrumpets.jpg

We are in the process of creating the visual and graphic representation of the brand for two of our clients.  Every detail is important because it has to reflect what the brand stands for. To pass the test, every color hue, every font, every line, every photo has to be congruent with the brand identity that we previously articulated in words. It is in these details that you achieve the look of luxury.

Yesterday, we had lunch at the Honor Bar in Montecito.   As we walked back to our parking space, we noticed that the yellow trumpet flowers matched the umbrellas of their outdoor eating area. How brilliant is that?  That simple touch is vital.  It screams luxury!

"It’s the little details that are vital.  Little things make big things happen."  John Wooden

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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How To Best Your Competition

A recent report by the Luxury Institute reported that 75 percent of wealthy customers across every generation (boomer, generation X and millennial) expect superior customer service from salespeople. How do they define superior service? 

In the report, knowledge, professionalism, and politeness were cited as the top qualities.  The millennial generation in particular expects sales professionals to know more than they do, since they are known to do their research prior to buying.

There are some important implications here for luxury real estate marketing. For example, in terms of knowledge, you need to know the different finishes that go into building a luxury home.  One of our clients won a listing because he could identify the mahogany hardwood throughout the home.  Another client knew the difference between marble and travertine, and could recite all the latest and greatest high-end kitchen appliances.  He knew what was in and what was out.  

Professionalism often equates to the attention to detail in marketing materials, messaging, and personal presentation.  Everything is congruent within their branding. Every detail is important, right down to their branded napkins and coasters.  These standards remain the cornerstones of professionalism for their brand identity.

Politeness is a form of expressing kindness. It is not an act reserved for the affluent, it is something one owns and practices. A polite person thanks everyone regardless of his or her status in life.  Politeness includes responding to communication promptly.  It is having a thorough grounding in manners, and protocol.  A genuinely polite person would treat everyone royally.

A friend of ours wanted to purchase a gold watch.  She did her research by going into every store in Beverly Hills to find the best watch.  Some salespeople viewed her with great disdain.  One in particular greeted her with genuine politeness, kindness and spent time to educate her on the fine points.  At the time, she could not afford a watch.  Three years later, she bought her dream watch from the individual who had taken the time to educate her.  She became loyal to this particular salesperson whenever she shopped at that store.

You can best your competition by constantly upgrading your knowledge, maintaining the highest professional standards and practicing politeness. We encourage you to study the language of luxury. Get fluent. Get Affluent!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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How Local Amenities Accelerate Home Buying Decisions -Part 2

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In Part 1 of this article series we stated that buyers make mental maps of the location of amenities that are in proximity to the home they are considering. These lifestyle amenities such as spas, golf courses, restaurants, shopping, parks, theaters etc start adding up and can tip the scale that accelerates the buying decision.   

We have been practicing yoga for years. Recently, a new studio opened in a quaint neighborhood in Santa Barbara that is within five minutes of our home.

When we saw the ocean and island view (those are the Channel Islands in the distance in the photo) from the second floor studio we were in Heaven!   

It is non-obvious amenities like these that can clinch a sale, believe it or not. It made us appreciate where we live even more.  

When you close your transactions ask the buyer what lifestyle amenities helped convince them to select one home over another. Pay close attention to the non-obvious ones.  Then, be sure to point out these amenities to all of the buyers you represent going forward and also those who visit your listings.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Never Underestimate the Earning Power of Your Personal Brand

Jack Nicklaus & Arnold Palmer photo by © Wickedgood

One of the biggest mistakes that luxury real estate marketing professionals make is underestimating the earning power of a personal brand. Once you achieve top-of-mind status and maintain that status your personal brand can start paying residuals year after year in referrals that could actually be considered passive income.

It is very easy to get bogged down in the day-to-day minutiae of running your practice and buried in your job of what we call a “transaction engineer”. Instead, you should be delegating everything you possibly can to free up as much time as possible.  Spend that time as the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) of your business, with a focus on building your personal brand and achieving top-of-mind status.

That is exactly what the top retired athletes have done.  Billionaire (yes that is a B) Michael Jordan earned $100 million dollars in 2014 by licensing his name to companies like Nike and Gatorade. David Beckham banked $74 million last year. Jack Nicklaus earned $28 million last year through licensing deals in clothing, golf courses, food and more.

Despite turning 85 years old Arnold Palmer had his biggest earning year yet in 2014.  Rolex extended their 50-year corporate relationship for another 10 years!

Shift your paradigm from being just another luxury real estate agent to being your own CMO and watch your game change dramatically. Never underestimate the earning power of your personal brand.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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How to Leverage Your Strengths to the Max

Courtesy of Apple

If market leadership is your goal as a luxury real estate marketing professional, you must leverage your strengths to the max in order to dominate your niche. With the right strategy you can render your competition irrelevant.

That is exactly what Apple has done once again, not only in the new product category of wearable tech (Apple Watch), but also by reinvigorating the smartphone (iPhone) and notebook (MacBook) categories. With a move akin to martial arts, where you use your opponent’s force against itself, redirecting the momentum of its attack, Apple has put its competition on the defensive.

They have launched a new app software framework called ResearchKit that turns the iPhone into a powerful tool for medical and health research (with user permission only-Apple does not see your data).  Gathering research in real time on a global scale is a TOTAL GAME CHANGER for the medical field!

This trivialized Samsung’s slogan, “The Next Big Thing is Here”.  And, in a pre-emptive move, it beats Google (Android) at its own game by providing an open source platform for this app that can be freely used, changed, and shared by anyone.

Helping doctors and scientists gather data more frequently and more accurately creates an added value to the iPhone within the medical niche. World-class research institutions have already developed apps with ResearchKit for studies of asthma, breast cancer, cardiovascular disease and more.  Can you see how this strategy will boost sales in all Apple product categories for this target market, including the iPad and MacBook?

The new MacBook is another astonishing breakthrough in engineering and design. It is the lightest and most compact Mac notebook ever! It required reimagining every element to make it not only lighter (just 2 lbs!) but also thinner, including the keyboard, the trackpad and the batteries.

Apple has leveraged its strengths including exquisite design to the max to fortify its dominance across the board in all product categories. It is now adding value way beyond just the consumer market as it takes on the niches of science, medicine and business.

How can you apply Apple’s latest strategies to leverage your strengths to the max as a luxury real estate marketing professional?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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How Local Amenities Accelerate Home Buying Decisions – PART 1

Luxury real estate marketing professionals often underestimate the powerful part local amenities can play in the emotional buying decisions of high net worth consumers.  Buyers make mental maps of the location of amenities that are in proximity to the home they are considering. Then, there is certain point when the amenities start adding up and tip the scale, which accelerates the buying decision.

In this article series we will point out some of the non-obvious amenities that can clinch a sale.  You will be surprised how simple the amenities can be.

We were delighted to discover that the Los Angeles based Hillstone Restaurant Group just opened one of their concept restaurants here in Santa Barbara called The Honor Bar. One item on the menu is so good, that we plan on dining here just about once per week.  It is Ding’s Crispy Chicken Sandwich with Baby Swiss cheese, sliced tomato & vinaigrette slaw on a homemade sesame seed bun that looks enormous, but is light as air.   The textures and spices compel you to stop whatever you are doing, close your eyes and just savor this simple yet layered culinary experience. And, it is plenty for two people to share.

Given that Los Angeles is the primary feeder market (no pun intended) for Santa Barbara homebuyers, The Honor Bar represents a sure bet for comfort food with the same polished level of service that they have come to expect from Hillstone’s LA restaurants (Houston’s, Bandera’s, Gulf Stream and R&D Bar). 

Can you imagine that a great sandwich could become an emotional reason to buy a home?  We are not saying that these amenities are the major emotional reasons to buy, just the ones that can tip the scale if there is indecision.

As a luxury real estate marketing professional you need to know all about these amenities and point them out to your buyers. What are some of the scale-tipping amenities in your marketplace?  Stay tuned for more on this topic! 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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The Social Media "Nextdoor"

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As a luxury real estate marketing professional, we recommend that you keep an eye on Nextdoor, an emerging niche player in the social media space aimed at small neighborhood-size communities. The focus is on sharing recommendations for local services and selling things (a la Craig’s list). They are one of the latest companies to join the billion-dollar valuation startup club.

According to the New York Times, “Nextdoor’s philosophy is that a recommendation from someone in your community carries more weight than, say, a Yelp review from someone you may not know on the Internet, or an algorithmically determined Google advertisement”.

The big players will not be able to compete as effectively as Nextdoor at recommendations for local services like dog walkers, local tutors, a handyman, or housecleaning services, provided they are able to scale up successfully. If Nextdoors succeeds we predict that community recommendations for real estate agents could be a very significant source of leads. 

Keep in mind that, to join the community, you have to validate that you actually live in the neighborhood. If they get the real estate component right, Nextdoor could eventually provide an excellent marketing strategy for luxury real estate agents.

The key questions is whether or not Nextdoor can build the same kind of trust factor that is emerging in the Active Rain community. So far, they are taking their time to do just that.  This has the potential to give Google and Facebook a run for their money when it comes to local advertising.  The convergence of local (commerce) and social is the holy grail of social media.

What to you think?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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The Antidote to Commoditization: Become Inimitable!

Photo from Vogue Insert, March 2015. 18Kt Gold watch

Photo from Vogue Insert, March 2015. 18Kt Gold watch

If you are interested in “owning” the lion’s share of business in your luxury real estate market, or a niche therein, one phenomenon to avoid at all costs is commoditization. You know you are on a slippery slide to becoming a commodity when you no longer have a unique promise of value to offer your clients and you are indistinguishable from your competition.  To make things worse, you begin to doubt your own value, as you get lost in a sea of sameness.

Another symptom of commoditization is trying to compete by copying your competitors’ features or adding features that can be copied. Samsung’s Galaxy models (top of their line) were temporarily able to trump Apple’s iPhone by offering larger screens until iPhone 6 (and 6+) wiped out that differentiator.

This allowed Apple to regain its lead as #1 in smartphones. Now, Samsung is playing catch up by copying iPhone’s fingerprint identifier, case design and finer materials for its Galaxy 6 model. They are even offering a mobile payment service to match Apple Pay, with a copycat name, “Samsung Pay”.

Photo from Vogue Insert, March 2015

Photo from Vogue Insert, March 2015

The soon to be launched Apple Watch is a whole new product category for Apple. It will be used exclusively in conjunction with the iPhone (and no other smartphone) for many applications. This will create a switching barrier for current iPhone users and also persuade many Samsung users to jump ship.  That is one key reason why so much is riding on Apple Watch.

By positioning the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory it solidly targets upper-demographic consumers in general, not just current Apple fans, sports enthusiasts and tech geeks. ALL Apple products and services will benefit from the upscale “halo effect” of the Apple Watch. 

Fortifying and strengthening Apple’s sharp upscale focus with its Apple Watch marketing is an antidote to the potential commoditization of the iPhone, even if the majority of its Watch sales are the less expensive sports models.

Marketing the Apple Watch across multiple upscale media channels helps make the Apple brand inimitable. Apple will further out-distance Samsung as an upscale brand in the minds of its target market. The Samsung brand name is scattered on products in all price ranges, which makes it more difficult to sustain a foothold in upper-end products.

Feeling the symptoms of commoditization as a luxury real estate marketing professional?  Take the antidote: Become inimitable!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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A Brand Category to Call Your Own

luxury real estate personal and company branding

In the realm of strategic branding, the ultimate coup is creating and defining your own brand category and then becoming the “category killer” (think Kleenex, Scotch Tape, iPod). This is what you want to strive for in marketing luxury real estate: staking your claim on a market niche that is uncontested (virtually no competition) and owning the lion’s share of business in that category, from day one.

The Apple Watch is slated to launch in April.  Countless tech companies have already defined the “wearable” category of computing devices creating a frenzy of cutthroat competition that will inevitably end in price wars. So, how will Apple differentiate this new line of products shark-infested waters and still command healthy margins?

The answer is to create a luxury sub-category within the broader category of wearable devices that is uncontested.  In March, Apple is kicking off their print advertising campaign with a 12-page spread in the Vogue Spring Fashion Blockbuster issue.  They hope to position the Apple Watch as a fashion accessory (vs. a tech device) by associating it with ads and content featuring high-end design houses’ latest offerings. 

Apple wants you to open a new category in your mind called ‘luxury accessory device” [our words] and they want you to think of them first in this category.  This is known as brand positioning and it is exactly what we do as brand strategists for luxury real estate marketing professionals and companies.

Creating a new category creates news. This allows you to leverage traditional and social media to the MAX.  Creating buzz is key to generating the best and least expensive form of advertising: word-of-mouth.  It forces your competition to out-spend you in marketing to try and catch up, which is an exercise in futility.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

 ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Another Case Cracked by the Husband and Wife Branding Sleuths

Starring William Powell and Myrna Loy

Over 80 years ago, the first of many Thin Man movies came out introducing two legendary lead characters: Nick and Nora Charles. This couple captured the hearts and minds of America and cinema lovers worldwide. The tremendous popularity of these characters made them a media archetype, as the bantering, romantically involved detective duo.

There have been several incarnations of Nick & Nora in literature, stage, screen, and most recently in the field of luxury brand strategy. The popular TV series in the early 80’s, Hart to Hart, with Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers, was inspired by this fun-loving dynamic couple. Now, Ron and Alexandra Seigel, brand strategists par excellence, have filled the shoes of these famous sleuths.

The process of strategic branding begins with arduous detective work. It is called the “Discovery Process” in which this husband and wife team investigate evidence at the crime scenes of bland and shamelessly ordinary luxury real estate marketing materials and websites. 

The Seigels uncover clues about uncontested and underserved market niches. They also expose complacent market leaders who are sitting on their laurels.  In so doing they solve the mysteries of how to challenge these incumbents with the right strategies that enable their clients to seize the lion’s share of business in their marketplace or a niche therein.

In each sequel the Seigels crack the case that eludes even the best luxury real estate agents in the land. To celebrate their victories, they walk off into the sunset hand-in-hand, on their favorite beach in Santa Barbara, drink a toast to the good life and ready themselves for the next exciting assignment.   CHECK OUT THESE CASE STUDIES!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel- 

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Updating Your Brand and Lady Gaga!

                                         Photo by c Sbukley

                                         Photo by c Sbukley

We recommend, to luxury real estate marketing professionals, that you update your brand to stay current and relevant. By doing this you will stand out from your competition, and insure your longevity in the business.  Here is an example from the music business as seen on last evening’s Oscar Award show.

The most memorable moment for us at the Oscar’s last night was Lady Gaga singing a medley of songs from the Sound of Music.  We were all expecting a Lady Gaga spectacle instead of the conservatively dressed Lady Gaga hitting every high note beautifully in a tribute to the classic movie, now 50 years old. 

This performance demonstrated her musical abilities rather than relying on weirdness and oddity. At one point spectacle becomes “shtick” and tiresome.  One can only take so much of that before boredom sets in. 

It seems to us that she is reinventing herself (updating her brand) by focusing on her talent and artistry.  She is now accentuating her musicality (instead of shtick and spectacle), as evidenced by her recent album featuring duets with Tony Bennett, which won her Grammy this year.

How you can update your own brand to stay current and relevant?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel- 

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Is Your Voicemail Fresh or Stale?

lightbulbphone.jpg

Some of the best luxury real estate marketing ideas can be the simplest ones. We recently had the pleasure of speaking with a member of the Language of Luxury community, Sally Uhlmann of Platinum Properties, who shared a simple, yet brilliant, zero-cost marketing tip that has helped to make her the market leader in Bozeman, Montana luxury real estate.  Sally was kind enough to let us share this with you.  

When was the last time you refreshed your cell phone voicemail message? Do you have a generic voice message or is it in your own voice? Does your message say the same boring things that almost every real estate agent voicemail message conveys? If so, you are missing a tremendous opportunity to make a great first impression or re-enforce your personal brand in the minds of your current referral base.  

Sally changes her voicemail message every two weeks! She believes that in a 30 second message you have the opportunity to identify your unique style, your distinct brand of doing business in a very personal way.  

Every holiday is an opportunity to spread good will with a fresh message. Sally’s Valentines message was quite endearing. She advises that you should never get stale or predictable.  Even her long-term friends and family look forward to hearing her latest installment, if they cannot reach her on the spot.

Keep your personal brand fresh in the minds of your target market and referral sources. Refresh your voicemail message regularly.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

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Staying On The Leading Edge Of Luxury

                               Apple 5th Avenue Store in New York, Photo by ©Phakimata

                               Apple 5th Avenue Store in New York, Photo by ©Phakimata

It is tempting to dilute your position as a leader in luxury real estate marketing by taking on whatever properties come your way in various price ranges.  The temptation comes either from greed, fearing that you will miss out on other opportunities, or from losing confidence that your chosen niche has the capacity to fulfill your financial goals.

A great case in point is the reversal of fortunes of Samsung in the smartphone market.  After an outright assault on Apple, Samsung surpassed Apple in overall smartphone sales. Their tactic was to create phones in all price ranges and go for sheer volume.

Apple stayed focused on the top-tier where the margins are high and regained supremacy after selling over 75 million phones in their last quarter.  A significant percentage of 2014 sales were in China where competition for lower price range phones is fierce and margins are slim.

Last year Apple unseated all of the iconic European luxury fashion and jewelry brands as the number one luxury brand in China. With the Apple Watch soon to launch, Senior VP of Design, Jony Ive, and the new head of retail, Angela Ahrendts (who was credited for turning around luxury retailer Burberrys) are in the process of revamping the design of its stores. Apple is doubling down on luxury to strengthen its dominance in this arena.

Continuously refining your marketing message and luxury real estate brand esthetics is an important part of staying on the leading edge. It is essential if you want to stay ahead of your competition in the long run.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace

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