The Importance of Commenting—"We Read to Know That We Are Not Alone”

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“We read to know that we are not alone” is a line from Shadowlands, a play by British writer William Nicholson, which was also made into a film. We would add that “we write to know that we are not alone.”

 

Why read a blog post you like, if you are not going to comment?  When you comment, you leave an impression for all to see which includes the writer, those who subscribe to the blog, and the public at large. Commenting is a way to engage in conversation with the author.  It is letting them know that they are not alone!

 

That conversation can lead to a discussion.  Discussions can often generate a new understanding for both the author and the commenter.  It can lead to a friendship.  The ones who read the comments also benefit from additional information that may in turn spark a desire to join the conversation.  Good conversations and discussions lead to intellectual satisfaction.  A post may inspire someone to write a related post.

 

Commenting is also a way to acknowledge and appreciate the writer’s time and effort in writing a post. The writer of the post has just given you a gift. It resonated with you. Just liking it is not enough.  It leaves the author wondering, what did you like? The least you can do say is “thank you.” Thank you, for that book recommendation, thank you for the information on this subject, thank you for the beautiful picture that made me smile. Here is a picture that may make you smile.  Or you may have a suggestion, here is a book I liked and would recommend you read, etc. 

 

Commenting is a feedback to the author, on the post and on the commenter. The author may choose to comment back if a question is asked. The author may be sparked by the comment into a further discussion.  And as the blog post catches the public’s eye, they learn so much about the author and the commenters. 

 

Do not forget, we read to know that we are not alone, and we write to know that we are not alone.  We are all in this together!

Omni Channel Marketing: Are Your Listings Visible In The Right Places?

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Omni Channel Marketing is often mistaken as plastering whatever you are selling in every visible corner of the world, print, billboards, online, public relations releases, etc..  without consideration of the optimal target market. However, Omni Channel marketing means being seen in the right place by the right people, in other words those who are going to buy or sell.

Pictured above is Disney's Omni Channel marketing for their latest movie release, Mary Poppins.  We saw this display yesterday  of three magazines featuring the movie with an interesting story at Barnes and Noble.  Disney did their homework.  

They know their target markets still subscribe to magazines and newspapers, like billboards, and some get their news on line.  This movie is geared to all who have relationships with children, whether they are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  

They also wisely cast Dick Van Dyke who starred in the original film, And then there are Academy Award Winners Angela Lansburry, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth are part of the cast. This cast is an additional draw to movie goers.

We have seen many luxury real estate or other real estate marketing professionals claim that they will market a listing everywhere.  They usually have a beautiful list replete with colorful logos of all the places they market as part of their listing presentation. You name it, they send their listings to exotic locations.  They leave no stone unturned, even if the stone yields nothing. Marketing everywhere is a colossal waste of money.  

Marketing done right is being visible in the right places at the right time.  It is about spending where it will do the most good to bring the maximum attention to your listings.  It is about researching where the potential buyers for your listings are.  It is knowing your feeder markets by constantly staying aware of this.

For example, Santa Barbara has several feeder markets,  Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle to name a few, which is why many agents here concentrate on promoting their listings in those areas.  Those who succeed stay aware of changes. The feeder market 3 years ago may not exist today, as times change.  

Omni Channel marketing requires awareness and research that you may or may not find on line or from reading magazines.  Marketing changes and adapts to circumstances as they evolve in each city, village or second home markets.  What will remain a marketing pillar is knowing your target market and marketing directly to them... 

Are Your Listings Visible In The Right Places?

Not So Wordless Wednesday: Silver Waves AKA Sunny Side Up Camellia!

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We both love Camellia's. Pictured above is the beautiful camellia plant which which graces our neighbor's outdoor entry way.  It reminds us both of a sunny side up egg.  However, the real name of this beauty is Silver Waves. Its semi-double blooms are 4 to 5 inches wide. 

The camellia flower was one of Coco Chanel's favorite flowers. It inspired the line of accessoriesmade in the shape of the flower.

Coco fell in love with camellias after reading Alexandre Dumas novel, La Dame Aux Camélias. This novel was later adapted to the stage by the author who was 23 at the time.  It was also created as a ballet.

Happy Wednesday...

Branding Analysis: The Power of Perception & Positioning In The Right Marketplace!

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When you understand your marketplace and where the fish are biting, you may have to narrow or expand your target market if that is where the sales are happening.  Chances are the market leader is complacent because no one is challenging them, and they have sold the aura that they are the expert in that market/niche.  No one is aware that there is an alternative choice.  It presents an opportunity for a smart real estate agent to step in and really take over, by creating a new brand and a new marketing strategy.

This morning while shopping at our favorite gourmet markets, we noticed this new brand of cat food in the cat food aisle. This cat food is sold at one the high end grocery stores in Santa Barbara. How does this cat food pictured above relate to luxury or any other niche in real estate?  Here is the analysis:

This market is located in one of the oldest and wealthiest communities here.  

The breed of the cat pictured is rare and expensive.  It is a Bengal ,known for being highly intelligent and playful.  

The words "natural" ingredients speaks to the soul of their owners, as well as other owners of cats with pedigrees.  

It also speaks to those who have shelter cats and treat them like aristocrats, aka aristocats.

The price is much higher that other dry cat foods available stating that the ingredients are of a higher quality.

The brand name is clever and it implies that your cat will be ultra-happy eating Applaws, which give hope to those who are owners of finicky cat eaters.

According to management, this brand is doing well on its shelves.

When you are marketing in the right venue and in the language of the marketplace you are setting yourself for success using the power of perception and positioning.

Monday Musings At The Summerland Café: Stay Out Of Your Own Way!

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We have recently rediscovered the Summerland Café.  They have great coffee and their fare is fresh and delicious.  As we were sipping our coffee, we talked about the best of our experiences in 2018...there were so many, and like we say every day, "we are grateful and thankful,and especially thankful that we stay out of own way."

Ron and I do not make resolutions, simply because a resolution is an invitation to contradictions. Contradiction is defined as: a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another. " The best illustration of this is the peak of membership gyms have at the beginning of the yea. By mid to late January all those resolved souls are no longer there.  Contradictions have taken over and rule the day!

Instead we set forth our intentions, and stay out of our OWN WAY! We don't repeat them daily, we don't write them down...we don't measure it, we don't judge it, we don't anticipate it or wonder when will it happen. These are some examples of contradictions. We just focus on the now.  What we have learned is that at the right time, the right circumstances, the right people show up and our intentions are realized...It is not magic, it is just staying out of our own way.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holiday Season!

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Ron and I wish you all a very Merry Chirstmas and a joyous 2019.  May all your dreams and wishes be realized for yourselves, your loved ones, and the dream of the world at peace!   

 "Great changes start with individuals; the basis of world peace is inner peace in the hearts of individuals, something we can all work for."

Dalai Lama

Branding Moment: Unforgettable Marketing, With Just A Few Words!

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One of the aspects of good branding is marketing the product or the service in such a way that it is unforgettable. This ad from the October Architectural Digest exemplifies this concept.  What you are seeing in this photo is trim that is used as a finishing detail on upholstery, pillows, bedspreads and drapery.  This also includes tassels.

We appreciated the trim pictured above transformed to look like desserts complete with smaller trim to look like cherries and raspberries on top. It was also presented on marble and placed in gold trimmed china.  Very little text was needed to get the message across: just the credit to the designer, Timothy Corrigan--An Elegant Indulgence For The Home, and the brand statement, Samuel & Sons Is Trim, with the URL.

Although, we are not in the market for trim, we took a look at the website and enjoyed seeing the variety of trim available.  If someone were to ask us for trim, we would know who to recommend, based on the elegance and creativity of this ad!

Branding Moments: Taboo Marketing!

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We noticed this point of sale display while shopping at the Santa Barbara Nordstrom's recently.  We watched shoppers go by, look, shake their heads and move on.  Others laughed at the double meaning, and moved on. 

Taboo marketing can definitely bring a brand into focus by those they are hoping to attract.  It creates an instant effect!  It will no doubt attract some to buy!  

We have seen taboo styled real estate videos and other ads.  The only message it may send to the sellers of these properties is that their agents will go to any length to bring attention to their listings...

What is your take on this?

Branding Moment: Brand Extension-- Rich, Sweet and Chic!

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There are those in every profession who are in the mindset that their brands have to appeal to all segments of the marketplace.  Their logic is that as one segment of the marketplace moves into another economic strata, their customers will remain loyal to their product line or services.  This is what is known in the marketing world as Brand Extension.

The same goes for real estate firms who appeal to luxury clients, over 55 communities, first time home buyers, commercial, industrial, investment real estate, and so on and so forth.  You name it, they have it, and if some new branch of real estate is invented, they will add it to their firm!

Pictured above (below the title) is the latest brand extension of a well known Champagne House, Veuve Cliquot.  Veuve Cliquot's marketing has been a favorite of ours, because it always has been innovative and creative.  They definitely understand innovative packaging as pictured below.!

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We even wrote a post about their then latest packaging in November of 2017, which they continued this year adding new cities. Below is the packaging for 2018 adding these three cities to their marketing.

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As lovers of Champagne, we were intrigued by the label and promptly researched this new product, the Rich line! The target market of the Rich brand is the cocktail drinkers.  According to the Veuve Cliquot website, champagne that can be poured over ice, or have an ingredient or two added to the glass. Below is a link and and the explanation from their site:

Created expressly for mixology, VeuveClicquotRich and Rich Roséare our most versatile Champagne designed to allow anyone to create their own playful drinking experience. Known for audacity and innovation, the Maison VeuveClicquothas introduced an entirely new way to drink champagne : It’s as easy as 1, 2, 3 !

Furthermore, this Champagne edition is sweet champagne.  Veuve Cliquot explains that in the olden days of Russia, Tsars and other noblemen and women would add sugar to their champagne to make it more palatable.  (My Russian grandparents (A) would have had an apoplectic fit, if I would have added sugar to my Champagne)

The branding for this line extension is to appeal to the HENRY(High Earners Not Rich Yet, aka affluent millennial) psycho-graphic.  This is also known as the aspirational set.  A large percentage of this category, follow what is cool and in based on social trends and derive their identity from owning and purchasing specific brands that they feel reflect who they are or what they stand for.

Just for fun, I showed the "Rich" image to other Champagne loving friends.  Some of them felt that it lessened the Veuve-Cliquotbrand image, some did not like the label, some thought it was fun but they would never buy it, as some felt the word "rich" was pretentious and unappealing!   What do you think?

Branding Moments: Finding The Perfect Brand Colors-A Case Study

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Many have asked how we come up with brand colors for our real estate clients and the companies we work with.We have a three part process.  The first is to give our client a comprehensive color test defining their favorite colors, the mood they want to convey, and the style of their practice.  The second involves the colors of their marketplace and the lifestyle.   And lastly, we combine all three into the brand.

Here is the case study.  Pictured above is the bark of a eucalyptus tree.  Note the myriad of colors and shades on the bark.  Since the target market lived among eucalyptus trees, this became our inspiration for color.

Our client's color preference were in the pastel family accented with a bright color.  Her market was a high end community with stately traditional homes.  The residents even named their eucalyptus trees.  Pictured above is the bark of a eucalyptus tree.

Together we selected the colors of the brand, and used a touch of orange (you can see it on the left lower side of the picture) and used it sparingly as an accent to the slate grey blue which became the main color.  This also is the color of the leaves on eucalyptus trees.

It was a perfect marriage of colors.  Every aspect of the luxury real estate marketplace was represented: our client, the market place and the lifestyle.

Wishing you a great weekend!

Branding Moment: Brand analysis (No Couch Needed)!

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If you are going to come up with a brand for your real estate marketing business, be sure that: 1.)It attracts your target market, 2.) It has a genuine differentiator like a niche or a specialty, 3) a good story behind it.

Ron and I happen to be a perfect target for the bottle of olive oil pictured above.  We often buy special olive oil for ourselves and for our "foodie" friends as gifts for birthdays, Christmas or Hanukkah.  We liked the bottle and the color of the label, however, we did not buy it.  Here is our reasoning.

The name "Bare" meant nothing to us.  Seeing that the olive oil originates from Portugal. I looked up the translation of "bare" from Portuguese to English.  What came up is "barge."The word "bare" is used as part of many URL's.

In English, the word "bare" is not one we would choose for a luxury product.   Wanting to be fair-minded, I found their beautiful website.  What the company means by "bare" is nothing added just the olives are in the bottle.  It mentioned their wonderful aged trees and the care they put into maintaining the quality.  This idea is no different for any fine olive oil.  One presses the olives and puts the oil in a bottle.

The words "gluten free" also made no sense to me.  Olives have no gluten, and olive presses are made solely to press olives.When we lived in Northern California's wine country, we visited the Community Olive Pressin Sonoma County that presses olive oil for wine country residents at .75 cents per pound.   No gluten ever touched that press, which was the insinuation that the site made, when it came to differentiate themselves from the olive oil competition.  

It took us all of 5 seconds to decide not to buy this brand. It did not resonate with our standards. For the same price, we can purchase a bottle of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from one the finest Olive oil producers in Italy.

Use this as a basic guideline to take a moment and analyze why a service or a product appeals to you or does not.  It will help you understand the power of branding, and the importance of getting it right!  

You want your target market to say: “Yes, I want to list my home with this you! 

What Is in Your Half Empty or Half Full Glass: Nectar or Poison?

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We have always answered the age-old question: Is the glass half full or half empty, and we say: it depends on what is in the glass.  Is it Nectar or is it Poison? We love maintaining a positive mindset— drinking nectar.

The most successful luxury real estate and other real estate niche marketing professionals have developed a genuine positive mindset. As a result, they attract more clients (sellers and buyers).  One of the ladies we worked with a young 78- year-old was thriving during the worst of the recession unlike some of the other agents in her market.  She knew without a doubt that there is always an abundance of business regardless of the economy and its fluctuations. Another one of our clients had one of her highest all-time years during the same time period.  Neither one focused on short sales, they just repeated their well-honed formula consistently.

We both grin with great delight and take it as a compliment, when s­­­­­omeone critiques us as being “too” positive or unrealistic when it comes to our approach to life and people in general. Some will tell us that we are ignoring the world’s tragedies and proceed to enumerate them.  On the contrary, we are aware of them, we just do not choose to dwell on them, and we take comfort in the fact that there are many wonderful people working on these issues, which are outside of our sphere of influence.  

We steadfastly have maintained an optimistic approach going in the worst of times.  We even give ourselves permission to moan and groan for all of 5 minutes.  We know that we can choose, how we decide to approach or feel about any problematic or disastrous situation.  We can dwell and rue about it and engender sympathy, or we can find the positive aspect and find a way to make it work.  This mindset has given us strength and inspiration in the best of times and in the worst of times.

Two weeks ago, in our Qigong *(defined below) class our teacher demonstrated the power of the positive mindset.   Using a simple muscle strength test, he used to measure one of the participant’s strength.  Now, he had us (50 students) say aloud, to this man, that he has many problems. Afterwards, our teacher went over to him and checked his muscle strength. It had markedly diminished.  Then he had the audience say, he is a wonderful problem solver!  The muscle strength test improved beyond the initial measurement.   

The second part of this demonstration was to ask several members of the group to stand next to the man.  They too had their muscle strength assessed.  We all repeated the negative mantra.  What was revealing is that the onlookers also lost muscle strength in the process.  The action of sympathizing with his dilemma created a weakening of their strength as well as he weakening of strength of the audience.  We all repeated the positive mantra and everyone’s strength was improved.

Wishing someone harm, bitching and moaning, dwelling on negative aspects of the real estate profession, the government, the leadership, your city, your family, your clients, and so on and so forth reduces your problem-solving capacity and inspiration. It impacts your health, your relationships, and your effectiveness in business. It is a bona-fide form of self-destruction.  This quote illustrates this, “resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Ultimately, it is your choice!  What is in your glass nectar or poison?!

Qigong (pronounced "chee-gung," also spelled chi kung) is translated from the Chinese to mean "energy cultivation" or "working with the life energy." Qigong is an ancient Chinese system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques, and meditations. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body's qi or( chi) . 

“In China, qigong is used n conjunction with other medical therapies for many chronic conditions, including allergies, AIDS, ,cancer, headaches, depression, mental illness ,strokes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma and obesity.”*,

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM US TO ALL OF YOU

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We wish all our friends, and subscribers a delightful Thanksgiving weekend. We thank and appreciate all of you who have taken the time to read our posts and comment.

I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual. —Henri David Thoreau


Not In Your Face Marketing VS In Your Face Marketing!

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Pictured above, is a wonderful example of subtle marketing vs in your face marketing.  In this window, you see 3 dogs and a puppy playing pool or billiards.  There are three pieces of merchandise displayed.  The tie around the dog wearing a striped shirt, the hat on the black and white dog, and the jacket on the hook.  

When marketing luxury real estate, or any other segment of real estate many choose the "In Your Face" style of marketing the homes they have listed or for that matter themselves.  Depending on the clientele you want to attract, these two forms of marketing as displayed by two famous stores in Beverly Hills will work for some and repel others depending on their psychographics. "Psychographic segmentationis dividing your market based upon consumer personality traits, values, attitudes, interests, and lifestyles. Segmentation will allow you to better develop and market your products because there will be a more precise match between the product and each segment's needs and wants."

The subtle version attracts those who are confident in themselves and do not to flaunt the origin of their purchases.  They do not delight in letting you know which store they bought it in, and what they can afford. And the last thing, they would do is wear the initials of said store on their clothing.  The Hermes brand is a perfect example where this psychographicis more likely to shop.  Since Hermes is fully aware of their clientele values and personality traits, they market accordingly.

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Right next door to Hermes is Bijan'swindow display, which is an example of in your face marketing.  As you looks at this window, the bulletin board which is the background is full of photos of famous people who shop here, fabric swatches and scissors.  The table displays all kinds of items for sale.  Your eyes go all over the window.  There are apples, flowers, ties, bags, etc..  

Bijan is appealing to those who express themselves and gain their confidence from the objects they can afford to buy.. (If you got it flaunt it mentality!)They  will tell you that "This famous person" buys their clothes and accessories here! And Bijan'sson took a picture of them also, which will be displayed in the window along with actors, presidents and heads of state. And with that, they are establishing their importance in their social world.

We are not critiquing either company's products, nor the people who prefer one or the other, nor are we saying that one marketing form is better than the other..  We are not saying that an individual may be attracted to both places.  We are just saying that the majority who will shop at Hermes will be more attracted to their stores than to Bijan's.  And the same is true for Bijan.  The majority who are attracted to Bijan will not necessarily be trotting over to Hermes...

Our advice: Know the pyschographicsof your marketplace and market accordingly.  Neither is good or bad, they just are the way they are.  And you will be more successful if your personal psychographics match your clientele's.  People like to do business with people like themselves. 





Branding: The Advantage of Authenticity Versus Playing The Role Authentically!

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Authenticity is perhaps the most important concept in personal branding for luxury real estate or any other real estate marketing professionals. Without authenticity, you live in a masquerade ball or hell as we see it.

What is at stake if you forego authenticity? Quite simply, it is your own happiness. When you walk out the door, you have to remember to take your mask and put it on like Eleanor Rigby (Beatles song), "waits at the window, wearing the face that she keeps in a jar by the door.."

Some real estate marketing professionals think they need a persona to aid them in being a success in their careers.  We certainly met many when we had our practice in commercial real estate, as well as those in luxury and other areas of residential real estate.. They were Oscar worthy  actors in their creation of their role . They had very successful careers!.  

They were obsessed with the authenticity of their role, the right thing to wear, the right car to drive, the right restaurant to be seen at, the right school for their children, etc. However, underneath all that was a profound unhappiness.  Some no longer knew who they were, or what their real face looked like.

As brand strategists, it is our job to assist our clients to drill down to their core identity, identify what is truly important to them, what they stand for, what their genuine values are, as opposed to the values of others. Only then can you make explicit, in the form of a graphic representation and a genuine marketing message, the authentic personal brand. We ask our clients what they can do better than anyone else in their marketplace. But, they also must be truly passionate about doing it. 

An authentic pursuit cannot be one based on seeking the admiration of the crowd at large, your parents,your spouse, or any other influencers in your life.  The only person that matters in all this is you, All else is a masquerade ball in hell!

" Authenticity means erasing the gap between what your firmly believe inside and what you reveal to the outside world."  

Adam Grant

Branding Moments: Something To Crow About?

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If you are going to spend money on a print ad,  make sure you have something to crow about.  One of the ways to do this is with cleverness and  humor.  Humor is something easy to remember.  It sticks in your mind. Basic house shots and head shots is what everyone opts for and are easy to miss and a big yawn to anyone who looks at it.

This ad in one of the recent Wine Spectator publications stood out!  It elevated the look of the ordinary black rooster logo.  He now has a title and new fine clothes. was elevated to his lordship, no less. This ad promotes all the wineries that are produced within the Chianti Classicoregion.  They follow this guideline "Chianti Classicowinesmust contain a minimum of 80 percent of the Sangiovesevariety. The remainder can be made from native grapes such as Canaioloor  Colorino, Wines made only from Sangiovesehave been permitted since 1996." 

If you are going to use a tone of humor and or cleverness, be sure it fits your personality and brand.  If not, your crowing will fall on deaf ears! 




Is Luxury A Comfortable Pair Of Shoes Or A State of Mind?

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We have been cogitating, pondering and mulling over the state of luxury today.  I (A) have read numerous articles by different experts in the field of branding, marketing, and those who report on luxury sales.

In an earlier post we mentioned "affordable luxury" as a category, which in our opinion is an oxymoron. An article in Harvard Business review by Michael Silverstein and Neil Fisk coined the term masstige brands for "mass prestige" brands in their book Trading Up. These are brands that are affordable to the masses.  In real estate talk, the MacMansions are an example of a masstige brand. 

We have often asked wealthy people and luxury real estate marketing professionals the question: What does luxury mean to you?  One of the answers that stayed with us was from a very successful luxury agent whose answer was, "Luxury is a pair of comfortable shoes!"  We identified with this one recalling a trip to Spain. Prior to the trip, we had outfitted ourselves with comfortable shoes that ended up being sheer torture. Luxury was buying new shoes and being able to walk again!

We have always maintained that luxury is not just expensive goods, it is a state of mind.  What does luxury mean to you? Stay tuned for Part 2.

Branding Moment: Is This An Oxymoron?

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In the Summer of issue of Net-A-Porter, Michael Kors who declared himself as owning the category of "Affordable Luxury" published this ad. We see it as an oxymoron (a combination of contradictory or incongruous words (such as cruel kindness) broadly : something (such as a concept) that is made up of contradictory or incongruous elements.)

Affordable luxury cannot possibly include a private jet.  The cost of operating a Gulfstream is $3,822.00 per hour. Be careful when making a statement about your brand that contradicts your unique concept, If you are in the luxury real estate marketing arena be sure your presentation materials are spot on your brand.  

Honor Your Reader: Don't Fall Into the Trap of Faux & Fluff Posts!

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As a luxury or any other real estate marketing professional writing blog posts or articles as a means of getting business and making yourself known and well thought of in your marketplace, spend ample time researching the facts.  Use reliable sources (verified sources) that tell both sides of the story, not just the ones who agree with your point of view, and give links to those resources. Honor your reader by letting them decide how they view it,

Recently, one of our daily feeds' headlines stated that many individuals were leaving the Facebook platform, and or changing their privacy settings.  This was a study done by Pew Research.  When I read the study, it presented both sides of the story, some were leaving and some were signing on.  The feed just told half of the story in their headline, however, they were smart to give the reference.  Many would turn around and repeat half the story, and let it spiral via social media and becomes another Faux news tidbit.  Personally, we like Pew Research organization as they give you the facts (both sides of the story), and you get to decide your interpretation.

Two years ago, we discovered that what was one a reliable source for us, (Wall Street Journal) was not so reliable.  They updated a news article on one of our Santa Barbara County Reservoirs, Lake Cachuma. Their headline stated that the water level was so low the fish were dying.  That very day, our local news reported on the Annual Bass Contest at Lake Cachuma showing a photo father and son duo who had won a $10,000 prize for their catch... This was one of the many reasons we unsubscribed to the Wall Street Journal. 

When we lived in Napa, every time severe rainstorms were predicted, the news broadcasted Storm Alerts warned everyone in the Bay Area, that the Napa River would no doubt flood that weekend.  And the San Francisco news vans drove up and parked near the river hoping it would flood. That had a huge effect on the Napa economy, whose feeder market is the Bay Area.  People canceled their reservations at hotels, restaurants and other commercial venues.  Napa depends on the tourist dollars as well as the wine trade.  Faux news kills employment opportunities.

With the recent fires in the Napa Valley last year, the news predicted that the wine would taste smoky.  They did not bother finding out that all the grapes had been harvested and the juice was resting and fermenting in their sealed barrels, and were not affected by the smoke. Think of the economic effect.  Napa County is one the richest counties in California!  We were close friends with the then CEO of Napa County.

Yesterday, as we were walking out of a store, one of our acquaintances was ranting and raving about the presidential alert test?  This gave her an opportunity to to critique the present administration.  Did she have the facts? This alert system became a law and was signed by President Obama in 2015.  And the president, by law, cannot communicate directly to us.  And the Faux facts continued to spread yesterday like wildfire.

Fluff  are the Public Relations Vanity pieces.  We see them in the luxury and other real estate arenas. Some real estate companies praise themselves as the end all be all gift to the world of real estate with the claim that they know it all, and they are the very best at what they do.  They have facts slanted to their point of view.  This is known as an advertorial aka Fluff.  

The other category of “fluffers” are the virtual influencers.  These folks are paid by companies to promote items they "love" and could not live without on all social media outlets.  Recently, one of these influencers from a luxury store named 3 cosmetic items that made her day, every day!  Just for fun and research I checked it out, and I would not recommend any of these products to my friends.

The next category of fluff is the top 100 or top 25 people or businesses in a category (real estate, social media, sports).  This is more fluff.  We have a local one that our Independent publication promotes annually claiming it is a reader- based survey.  The way to get on the list is to advertise with them year-round.  Our dry cleaner recently sent us an email asking us to vote for them, as did our go-to Thai restaurant, and we rarely pick up the Independent.  

Facts are objective. Facts are neither true or false.  Opinion is one's point of view of the facts, an interpretation of the facts. nothing less and nothing more.  One's point of view is neither good or bad, it is a point of view.  

Where do you find facts?  They are rarely on the first three pages of Google which are laden with paid ads.  Those first three pages exist because they are paid for by those looking to promote themselves.  Remember, Google wants to make money, they have to answer to their stockholders every quarter.  They have no clue as to whether those articles have any validity or are even factual!  Here is a telling example:

Our Chamber of Commerce hired the #1 authority on the first page of Google on the subject of social media.  Mr. Expert negotiated himself a nice fee, which the Chamber paid in advance.  When he gave his talk, it became obvious to the members that this man knew less than they did.  When confronted, his retort was" I know how to be #1 on Google."  We rest our case.

Our advice to you.  Honor your reader, spend ample time researching the facts, and give a link to your references.



 

 

Re-Branding Moment: Bye-Bye Donuts!

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When working with a luxury real estate company or an agent, we work as a team by thoroughly researching the marketplace.  One of these involves reviewing statistics, with a focus on strengths and what is working as well as what is not.  This give all of us the 360 degree perspective, and becomes the basis coming up for the perfect strategy and brand or re/brand.

Starting January 2019, Dunkin Donuts will drop the "Donuts" part of their name.  This decision was made based on their sale statistics.  The company has found that 60% of their sales have been on beverages, in particular their coffee, which many people are very fond of.  

They are also doing well with their other beverages such as tea, and they noticed that their customers appreciate their great speedy "food to go services" which includes donuts, but is not limited to them as the former name implies.  Their future plans include opening another 1000 stores throughout the US by 2020.  Re branding of an established  brand focuses on developing a new or expanded identity, which will differentiate them in the minds of their customers.  

For instance, one of our clients who had been successful at selling rehabs realized  through extensive review of his marketplace and statistics, that his focus should be solely on that segment of the marketplace.  Some knew that he was a specialist, but not enough realized his talent.  Tweaking the name, changed the perception and insured that he is working at what he loves best in real estate.

Is it time for you to say bye-bye donuts?