Branding Moments: Brand Consistency In Robin's Egg Blue!

Brand consistency in every form is important to remain top of mind.  As we were walking in La Cumbre Plaza, we noticed the robin egg blue water dish for dogs.  Look at the water reflecting the true robin egg blue as the dish was in the shadow of a column.

Here is the store entrance. Note the ornaments and the gift boxes.  Can you guess the brand?

Tiffwreath.jpg

Notice the wreath on the wall.  It is full of diamonds and other sparkling items wrapped in the signature blue box with white ribbon.  By now you probably guessed that these photos were taken at the Tiffany store in Santa Barbara. 

The robin egg blue color is trademarked.  It identifies the Tiffany brand.  Even though the holidays are here the blue remains! These three photos reveal the importance of consistency in robin egg blue!

 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Extraordinary Staging Puts Clients/Customers In A Buying Mood-Part 3

When it comes to avant-garde, edgy, outrageous, original, as well as fun, no one does it better than Moschino. This picture speaks volumes on the subject of extraordinary staging.  The dressing room is transformed into a leather jacket.  The leather is real and that zipper does work to ensure privacy.

Mannequins are Amazonian in scale.  They are over 10 feet tall. Note the jacket handbag, as this mannequin overlooks the park below.

This mannequin reigns in the showroom as the centerpiece of this section. 

Shoes are transformed into furniture or shelves to feature accessories.

Clothes are bright and the use of trompe-l’oeil (visual illusion to create a three dimensional perception) is evident in these bright dresses.

Note the ragged hem, the bag that looks like it was used to stomp out a fire, as well as the ends of the bow on the blouse.

Pearls and chains are important whether you wear jeans or dresses in Moschino designs

Although this brand and its staging may not be to everyone's liking, it does stimulate the imagination and inspires creativity.  Franco Moschino's (1954-1994) eccentric vision of fashion was unlike anyone else's in the industry, and his legacy has continued to delight of his fans.  

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Happy Perpetual Thanksgiving To All Our Friends!

Thanksgiving is our favorite holiday to celebrate.  It is just about giving thanks for the many wonderful things in our lives.  It is about enjoying friends and family.  Thank you to our subscribers and those of you who have taken a moment to write to us.

Ron and I wish you all a very happy and perpetual Thanksgiving!

I am grateful for what I am and have. My Thanksgiving is perpetual
— Henry David Thoreau

Identify & Amplify Your Uniqueness in Your Marketing

One of the keys to successfully marketing luxury real estate is to showcase the most outstanding aspects of the property. You need to distill your marketing message in just a few words and pictures that will have the greatest impact on your target market.  Capturing the property’s unique value proposition and expressing it succinctly is a skill you must practice continuously. 

This same skill is at the core of our work as brand strategists.  We identify what makes professionals and companies different, distinct and extraordinary. Our task is to amplify that uniqueness by making what is implicit, explicit, both verbally and graphically, and doing so with conciseness. 

You can train yourself to observe and discover uniqueness by taking the time to focus on the nuances of nature as often as possible. This is something we practice daily. 

Two of our favorite species of flowering plants are coleus and begonias for the very reason that they have so many divergent types, combinations of colors, hues, textures and shapes. We selected the plants depicted here for our front porch planter because they provide such a luscious visual contrast. The begonia is like antique roses, very muted, faded and smooth.  The coleus is comprised of vibrant intense colors with a course texture.

Check out the subtleties of the contrast in texture in the black and white version of the image.  It makes you appreciate what color adds to the richness of your experience. It also makes you thankful both for the abundance of nature and your ability to discern its splendor.  

Identify and amplify your own uniqueness in your marketing.  You will reach your target market faster if you do.

 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Extraordinary Staging Puts Clients/Customers In a Buying Mood - Part 2

Caruso Flagship Store in Milan, Italy

Caruso Flagship Store in Milan, Italy

Read Part 1

Excellent staging in marketing luxury real estate or showcasing luxury products can accelerate the speed of sales because it swiftly engages the imagination of the consumer. It allows you to set a positive tone for the sales process and makes the client or customer more inclined to buy.

Co-incidentally, on the day we were set to see The Marriage of Figaro at La Scala in Milan during our recent trip to Italy, we had the good fortune to discover a sensational new men’s clothing brand, called Caruso.  It is named after the famous Italian operatic tenor, Enrico Caruso who was under contract with La Scala at the age of 27 in 1900. 

The distinct mannequins in their flagship store window grabbed our attention, as did the view all the way to the end of the store that created the effect of the customer being "on stage" at the theatre. At Caruso, the customer is the STAR! They get the importance of staging. The “set design” was so compelling that it was next to impossible to just walk by without checking out their fine clothing. 

Caruso is known for its innovative fabrics, especially “gobigold”, made of pure camel which is used in suits for the first time in the history of men’s clothing–or mixed with merino wool for jackets, coats and sportswear. Only 2000 tons of wool is produced from the camels that live in northern Asia in the Gobi Desert in Mongolia. And, just 30% is suitable for clothing.

The touch of this fabric was amazing! It is so incredibly soft, stretchy and lightweight that you cannot make it wrinkle even when you bunch it together in your hand.  If you are in New York, visit Caruso next door to the Four Seasons Hotel, and feel this fabric for yourself!

Think of ways in which you can use staging to accelerate your sales. Check out Part 3 of this article series as we highlight one of the most provocative and outrageous examples of staging we have ever seen in a woman’s clothing store: Moschino.

 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

 

 

Extraordinary Staging Puts Clients/Customers In A Buying Mood - Part 1

Focal Point of the "Set Design" in Caruso Menswear Flagship store in Milan Italy

Focal Point of the "Set Design" in Caruso Menswear Flagship store in Milan Italy

Read Part 2

Like great set design in the theater and artful window display for retail stores, staging luxury homes engages the target audience’s attention and expedites sales. In business, effectively setting the stage with extraordinary packaging facilitates an emotional connection with the brand  and puts clients and customers in a buying mood. 

In this blog series we focus on two CONTEMPORARY Italian brands with distinctive personalities: Caruso (Men’s Clothing) and Moschino (Women’s Clothing & Accessories). Each brand exemplifies the vital role that STAGING (including outstanding costume design) plays in marketing luxury goods and services.  Here, in Part 1, we set the stage by sharing a personal epiphany that helped catapult us to market leadership in our own field, a moment when we understood that indeed, "the world's a stage" (Wm. Shakespeare).  

Our love for luxury brand strategy truly began when we launched our commercial real estate firm. Our niche was high-end retail property sales, leasing and development. Part of our job was enticing the European luxury brands to open stores in Beverly Hills and adjacent areas. 

Prior to one of our trips to Italy, early in our career, Alexandra noticed a very small article in Vogue magazine about an up and coming Italian designer. We decided to investigate. When we were in Milan we asked the cab driver to take us to Giorgio Armani and he took us to his apartment building; then he realized we meant his first, very small, basement retail store. 

While Alexandra was perusing the women’s section, I (Ron here) obliged the salesman in the men’s section who (after almost twisting my arm) insisted that I actually try on an outfit comprised of a sports coat (tweed), dress shirt (checked) and tie (striped). I thought this guy was out of his mind.

Caruso Menswear Slogan: "In Menswear Do As the Italians Do"

Caruso Menswear Slogan: "In Menswear Do As the Italians Do"

I was stunned that it actually looked great! This new contemporary brand provided me with an avenue of self-expression within our niche and a way to set myself apart from the other 800 Los Angeles commercial real estate agents, men (only 5 were women then) who all wore conservative 3-piece suits and wing tipped shoes at the time.  It helped me to "play the part" of the emerging expert in my field of high-end retail better than any of my would-be competitors.

This brand fit my risk-taking, innovative personality perfectly and forged a relationship of tremendous appreciation for Italian men’s fashion design. Replacing my entire wardrobe, I became an early adopter of Armani without any clue that this global brand would reach stratospheric heights.

I must admit as Giorgio Armani became ubiquitous (and copy cats flooded the market) and trends changed, I lost interest in the concept that “clothes can make a man”, Italian or otherwise.  That is, until I discovered Caruso on our last trip to Milan. The spectacular "staging" of the windows and the store itself drew me in the door like a magnet (More in Part 2).  Not since that experience at Armani has a clothing brand resonated so strongly with my sense of creativity and innovation. It made me realize again, that my love of the Italian sense of design and lifestyle has had a profound impact on my life over the years.  

Take a moment to watch this very clever video, featuring one of Italy's most beloved film superstars, Giancarlo Giannini. It captures the essence of my amazing experience in Caruso's flagship store in Milan. Then, stay tuned for Part 2 of this blog series.

Acquire More Ideal Clients by Associating with Endorser Brands

In affluent communities, associating your luxury real estate practice or local business with endorser brands can lend additional credibility for consumers who are choosing between you and your competition. This is an excellent strategy that can help you stand out in a crowded field and also reach more ideal clients. 

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Guy de Maupassant said, “Traveling is a door through which one leaves reality to penetrate into an unexplored reality, which seems like a dream”.  

That was our experience as we passed through the gates of Borgo dei Conti and wound our way up the long cobble stone driveway that was carpeted with golden autumn leaves from the trees that flanked this passageway and formed a lush canopy. When we reached the top of the 50-acre estate and saw the chateau overlooking the verdant Umbrian hills and valleys, we realized that this would be our “home” for the next two nights. Our jaws dropped!

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

We were greeted like relatives and offered a cappuccino with coffee cake in the lounge while our luggage was settled into our room. Before unpacking, we toured the grounds and the strikingly modern restaurant that was previously a ballroom and lemon orchard.  

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Later, we enjoyed the resort’s extensive spa facilities and dined at the chateau. Dinner featured regional wines and a sumptuous rack of lamb, which is one of the chef’s signature dishes. During our entire stay, each and every member of the staff was gracious and very helpful. They truly made us feel at home.   

Tremendous care went into every detail in the remodeling of this opulent, yet unpretentious property that originally was a fortress. The brilliant design of the exterior of the main building, in particular, made an indelible impression and will be an influence in our strategic branding practice for years to come.

The extraordinary combination and balance of warm and cool colors against the dominant background of café au lait made the surrounding gardens and the Umbrian countryside in the distance appear even more vibrant.

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Courtesy of Borgo dei Conti Resort

Had we not been introduced to Borgo dei Conti through Relais & Châteaux (and noticed the Michelin logo) we may have missed this experience that made our time in Umbria seem like a dream. Look for opportunities to align your luxury real estate or local business brand with endorser brands.  You will reach more of your ideal target market if you do. 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.


How to Reach More Clients with a Multi-faceted Brand Personality

If your luxury real estate practice caters to multi-generational consumers you should consider developing a multi-facetted brand personality that appeals to the full range of their psychographics. Otherwise, your brand might not resonate with some segments of your target market, even though they all have the same high net worth demographic.  

One global brand that epitomizes the art and tradition of fine craftsmanship and also proudly claims the phrase, “Made in Italy” is Tod’s, the makers of handmade leather goods.  Although, this heritage brand was launched in the late 1920’s, it has managed to stay current, appealing to a new wave of young affluent consumers.

Tod’s has accomplished this feat of staying relevant by adding youthful brand personality dimensions.  They also became a local and international hero by sponsoring the restoration of Rome’s most iconic landmark, the renowned symbol of Italian history: The Colosseum.

We photographed the relatively conservative window display of Tod’s store in Rome because we were drawn to the backlit letters of the logo that seem to float above it and also because it was a stark contrast to their whimsical display window in Florence, depicted in the video we took (above). It reminded us of the graphic theme of the Beatles’ Yellow Submarine movie.

Tattoo (great logo!) is a special project under Tod’s Double T sub-brand. This limited edition handbag, featuring Saira Hunjan, the tattoo artist of celebrities, joins traditional Italian craftsmanship with contemporary art.  See the provocative video below with actress Suki Waterhouse.

How can you express more facets of your luxury real estate brand to reach the full psychographic range of your target market?

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.

Does Your Marketing Tell A Compelling Story About Your Brand?

Great websites, marketing materials and ads tell a compelling brand story at first glance. With millions of dollars riding on the outcome pay attention to the effectiveness of global brand marketing and advertising. You will glean insights that can improve your own local marketing initiatives and help you stand out in a crowded field.  

Here is our test for effective ads:

1. Does the ad capture your attention, immediately?

2. Does it hold your attention?

3. Do you instantly understand the marketing message?

4. Are you able to easily grasp the extraordinary promise of value the product or service offers?

5. Does it use emotions to make an indelible impression?

6. Does it spark the impulse to share the ad with others, i.e., is it remarkable?

7. Does it tell a compelling story about the brand?

Perfume and cosmetics are among the highest profit margin products in the world. There is fierce competition in this field. Check out the ad for Homme Idéal (Ideal Man). The French cologne by Guerlain gets an A+ from us for its print ad display that we found when visiting La Rinascente, the famous department store in Italy. We were able to answer YES to all 7 test questions.

In a Nano-second you get the entire brand story. It is one of the best illustrations that we have ever seen of how branding works through story telling. The scent of the cologne itself may not be anything special. But, give it the right name, wrap it in a fun story, which gives the brand a personality, and voilà, it sells!

The target market (single men) will reach for this brand over others because of its EXTRAORDINARY PROMISE OF VALUE. They are enticed to believe that it is the answer to their prayers, and remedies their most pressing needs: to be the ideal man and attract more women.

Does your marketing tell a compelling story about your 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.

 

Could Wrigley Field Be Rumi’s Field? Will We Meet You There?

A recent Wall Street Journal article inspired this post. It was titledThe Chicago Cubs are the Official Team of Jews—Also Christians, Buddhists and Muslims!” At first, it made no sense to us.Was this some politically correct doublespeak?

The article went on to explain that pundits from all these religions mentioned have agreed that the Cubs will win the World Series. Each is using their interpretations of numbers that are a part of their religious writings, theories of meaningful numbers. Finally, something that they all can agree upon! To read more, click on the link.

Then, this evening, as we were sipping some Sagrantino wine from Umbria made from Sagrantino grapes, it came to me (A) that perhaps Wrigley Field could be the field about which the Suffi Moslem mystic, Rumi, referred. Here is the quote: 

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and right doing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there."

We could not help but reflect on the idea that all of us should try to find such a field, where it is safe to be friends, instead of enemies based on beliefs, dogmas and past wrongdoings. Will we meet you in Rumi’s field?

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.

Brands Have A Personality: What Is In This Box?

flylondon.jpg

What is in this box?  A ticket to London?  If you put the words, "fly London" in Google, you get British Airways in the first few lines.  

Here is another clue.  This is the inside of the box.  There are illustrations of London Landmarks.  No, this does not contain a First Class Ticket to London on Virgin Airlines!  There is a fun loving brand personality here!

Fly London is a United Kingdom based shoe company.  They manfacture shoes for both men and women. Here is their mission and personality statement from their web site, 

"A refreshingly balanced collection, different from the rest of the high street, having all and no trend at all, letting creativity do its work, following the motto again: always progressive, never conventional! We have created an upbeat joyous collection full of colour, innovation and humour”

And it is true, if you take time to check out their website.  They are proud to have given their designers this instruction, "Go where the inspiration takes you!  Don't Walk, Fly!"

They carved out a perfect niche and a great personality in the comfortable shoes arena without compromising style, fashion and fun.   We loved the branding, we loved the humour, and I (A) love the shoes!  I am looking forward to long walks or Flights in my new shoes!

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.

Market Leading Agents Are "Lead Magnets" !

Sales leads are prospective consumers of real estate services who show interest in buying or selling real estate now or in the near future, by either providing their contact information to you or allowing a referring party to provide it to you. Why do some agents attract the lion’s share of leads for top listings and qualified buyers while other settle for the crumbs? Market leading agents are “lead magnets”!

Think about this concept of magnetism! Why do some companies attract the best talent while others are talent-challenged? They have found a way to be a “talent magnet”. Why are some guys “chick magnets” who attract many girls while other guys find it difficult to get dates?

There is no secret formula for stellar lead generation! Lead magnets are agents who are certain of who they are, what they stand for, what they are passionate about and what they do best. Their CERTAINTY of their personal brand and their unique promise of value, i.e., their brand story is the SOURCE of their magnetism.

Sure, there are certain actions that you can take that produce leads like advertising, direct mail, even cold calling or door knocking. However, these are just supplemental sources of leads.

Apple, the most valuable company in the world, advertises. But, they get far more business from publicity and word-of-mouth advertising from raving, loyal fans than from TV commercials or billboards. Apple’s uncompromising brand story focused on quality products that people love, plus their legendary customer service is the generator, the magnet that attracts more and more customers.

When you are certain of who you are as a real estate professional and how you are different from your completion, you live in a binary world. People are either a match to your brand or not.

A good lead is simply a good match. And, you are certain that there is no scarcity of good matches, providing that you do not waste your time with leads that are weeds!

For that reason you also do not waste your time keeping track of the weeds. You just continuously cultivate those relationships that are a match to who you really are.

It is not obvious that the primary source of lead generation is being certain of who you are.  Market leaders have that certainty and that is why they are lead magnets.

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.

Marketing Tip: Good For Your Bottom Line & Good For Your Community!

If you want to exponentially increase your sphere of influence and potential referral base find a way to get involved in your community that resonates with your personal core values. You may make a big difference in the process.

Here is an example. Our small but mighty beach town, Carpinteria, in Santa Barbara County has a population of only 14,000.  It is mighty because it was responsible for two different state measures that will be on the November ballot in California in 2016.

Carpinteria Beautiful, a community campaign and related environmental groups became active in the cause to eliminate plastic bags used in grocery stores and other local stores. The reason for this initiative was the proliferation of plastic bags in our creeks. There are three big creeks in Carpinteria leading from the adjacent mountains to the ocean that allow for water runoff during the rainy season and also facilitate backwash during high tides. 

Prior to the ban on plastic bags and the promotion of reusable bags in 2012 a volunteer study found 40-50 plastic bags in one day. Post-ban a similar study found just 2.  The local Albertsons market took the first big step to eliminate plastic bags. Then other local businesses and schools joined in to raise awareness.

Get out from behind your computers and meet more people in the community. You can do some good for your bottom line and do some good for the community at the same time.

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.

Wonderful Breakfast at Carpinteria's Worker Bee Cafe

When our friends Debb James and Bernie Stea introduced us to a small local eatery in Camas, Washington, we enjoyed one the best breakfast experiences in our lifetime. And, we wished that someone would open a comparable restaurant in our own neighborhood in Santa Barbara.

Our wish came true! The funny thing was that The Worker Bee Café has been here for decades and is literally walking distance from our home, in our sleepy beach town of Carpinteria. We learned four years ago that it was one of the best-kept secrets in town. But, we thought we were too late because it sold four years ago, and heard it “just wasn’t the same”.

As a fluke, we decided to check it out and discovered that, under the new management of a father and son team (Chef Rick & Rick Sr.) it is now even BETTER!

The free-range farm-fresh eggs come from their family-owned “ranchette” in nearby Ojai Valley. They feature jalapeno infused bacon, corn beef hash that rivals the best New York delis, and bake their own gluten-free breads and muffins. Customers say that once you try their gluten-free cinnamon French toast you will never go back to gluten-rich breads again. Our eyes popped when we saw their waffle served at the next table.

We love The Worker Bee Café and cannot wait to go back to sample more items on their innovative menu. Sometimes locals want things to stay the same for iconic landmarks like these local restaurants. But, we just learned that giving new owners a try just added to the quality of our life, here in town. As, John Lennon would say, "Give Bees a Chance"!

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.

What Is The Power of An Endorser Brand?

Aligning your personal or company brand with other readily recognizable and reputable brands can instantly elevate your stature in the minds of your target market. If they trust the endorser brand they are more likely to trust you or at least give you priority over lessor known brands. That is the power of an endorser brand!

European travel has always played a large role in our lives both for business and pleasure. When we were in our early twenties we had the great fortune of discovering Relais & Châteaux. It is an Association of outstanding, refined hotels and restaurants (not a chain) dedicated to the Art of Living, each offering impeccable service and culinary experiences that create indelible memories. At the time there were just over a dozen of members primarily in France. Today there are 530 members in 64 countries.

One of our first experiences at a Relais & Châteaux property was Domaine Les Crayères in the Champagne region (depicted above). We stayed there in the first year after they were accepted as a member. Our room was $50/night, but they upgraded us to one of their best rooms for $75/night with a balcony that overlooked the magnificent 17 acre park, which is part of the grounds. Today the same room is over $400/night (off-season).

Restaurant Gastro - salle 1 et 2.jpg

The wine list at Les Crayères’s legendary restaurant (2 Michelin stars) includes more than 600 champagne labels. Memories of the meals we enjoyed there have lasted a lifetime and can cost almost as much as the rooms themselves (depending on the wines you choose, of course).

In planning an upcoming trip to the Umbria region of Italy, we did not have any particular recommendations for hotels. So, Alexandra looked into Relais & Châteaux for inspiration. We were flabbergasted to discover that, during off- season, there were some Relais & Châteaux properties there that were in our moderate price range for this trip.

It took all of two seconds to make our decision to book these hotels, sight unseen! That is the power of an endorser 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.

A Brand Is A Trustmark: Does Samsung Have Your Back?

Photo by @webitect-Ray Shu

Photo by @webitect-Ray Shu

An abundance of high-trust relationships is the name of the game for successful luxury real estate marketing professionals and all businesses. Whether you have a personal brand or a company brand, one of your most important jobs must be “brand manager”.  As such, your job description is to continuously maintain a high level of trust because your brand is your TRUSTMARK.

Samsung is facing a massive brand crisis! Call it a crisis of trust.  The key issue with Samsung’s Galaxy Note 7 debacle, in which they are permanently discontinuing production of this smartphone model due to faulty batteries and other parts, is not the $17 billion loss in valuation.  It is the potential loss of loyal customers. They will regain their valuation if they can regain the trust of their valued customers.

To get trust back they have to answer, YES, to the question most pressing in the minds of their customers: “Does Samsung have my back?”

Damage control of mistrust is priority one. Re-establishing trust will be a test of Samsung’s leadership. It will require Herculean strength of character to rebuild the brand’s reputation.

Trust is the foundation of a brand’s value. That is why you cannot cut corners in your quest to surpass your competition. As the Samsung ordeal demonstrates, trust can literally be destroyed overnight.

Is your brand your trustmark?

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.

Branding Moments: Edgy Or Over The Edge?

The first step in crafting a successful brand is to develop a brand message, a brand story, that swiftly attracts and engages the attention of your target market. This can be accomplished with eye-catching graphics, a clever brand name, or a memorable slogan. 

We immediately noticed the label pictured above of Blindfold, which is white wine blend. The base of the wine is Chardonnay with Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Chenin Bland and Marsanne.  We are not big fans of blended wines.  And, we were dumbfounded by the imagery of the label, which did not appeal to our sense of taste, although the artistic technique is edgy and simply superb. 

We associate wine with celebration and good times. So, we were trying to figure out who on earth is their target market? On their website, Jen Beloz, the winemaker stated, “I’m motivated by the freedom I have to make creative blends. Our scope is unlimited — we source fun varietals and get to work with passionate, devoted growers. Ultimately it’s about making unique wines that we want to drink.”

With further research we discovered the name of the wine company who produces Blindfold is the Prisoner Wine Company. Priced at $32 a bottle, they are definitely aiming for consumers with an adventurous palate, and can afford to experiment.  The other wines they produce are named, The Prisoner, Cuttings, Saldo, and Thorn.

Given the macabre imagery, we would hesitate to say, “Cheers”!   Our biggest question is, “Is this brand edgy or over the edge?”  What do 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.

Are You Comfortable In Your Own Skin?

Marketing is essentially matchmaking. You just need to make it easy for your ideal clients to quickly recognize that you and the service that you offer is the right match for their most pressing needs. You must also make it easy for people in general to facilitate the matchmaking process on your behalf via referrals.

The key is to fully understand and precisely articulate who you are and then, get comfortable in your own skin. The comfort comes from knowing your intrinsic value both personally and in a business context. If you have done your market research properly, the comfort also comes from a ground of being that there is an abundance of people or businesses that need what you have to offer.

When you are certain of who you are and also of your marketability it is next to impossible for others to minimize you or immobilize you. You become unstoppable!

Do you think elephants think much about the blotches of colors on giraffe’s hides? Do giraffes care that some elephants have big ears and are riddled with wrinkle lines? Do zebras debate among themselves about whether they are white with black stripes or black with white stripes?

If these questions seem absurd, it is not because animals are thick-skinned. They simply to not think about what other animals think of them. They are comfortable in their own skin!

One of the biggest challenges us humans face in life is our tendency to give other people way too much power to adversely affect our self-esteem. As a result we dis-empower ourselves. In a sense, we let others brand us as unworthy or less desirable. Then, we start to believe their hype!

The antidote to this dilemma is to, once and for all, let yourself off the hook, put down the club that YOU have crafted out of their erroneous judgments and stop beating yourself up with it! Then, take control of your own public relations and deliberately define how you want to be perceived by others. Take command of your personal or company brand.

Give yourself a break! Get comfortable in your own skin and watch how many potential clients will find out that you are a match to what they need.

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.

Photos Increase Readership: Get the Picture?

One of the oldest forms of communication is sharing pictures. If you want your blog to actually be read by humans, not just crawling Internet robots, start your posts with great photos. Let your primary photo convey the overarching theme of your post.

It is a well known fact that communicating with photos increases readership. Posts with photos are read 94% more often than those without them. That is because images are more likely to be retained in our memory, rather than abstract verbal ideas. 60% of consumers are more likely to contact a business when an image shows up in a local search, according to our research.

The photos in this post are images from the Lascaux Caves in France. They are thought to be over 17,000 years old. What is interesting about them is that they depict animals that existed at the time of the painting based on fossils found of such animals. Our ancestors were communicating their lives with us.

Flash forward! Snapchat (recently renamed, Snap, Inc.) gets the picture. They are coming out with a new "toy" called Spectacles. These are sunglasses that let you capture and share 10 second videos hands-free from your personal point of views, videos that will instantly disappear after they are viewed. The popularity of Snapchat demonstrates that pictures are used more and more as a mode of communication.

Can you see why a blog post without a photo completely misses the picture? After all, most of us learned how to read with picture books.

Great photos conveying your key message not only catch people's attention, they hold attention as your audience is reading your blog post. Take the time to select interesting pictures and watch your readership Increase.

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

The Virtue of Single-Mindedness: A Case of "Cat & Chipmunk"

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We have often stated that focusing on an underserved or uncontested market niche, and doing so better than anyone else in your marketplace, is the key to successful marketing.  But, to pull this off you need to also have a particular mindset that we refer to as SINGLE-MINDEDNESS.

Before you even begin to embark upon the journey of niche marketing, you need to achieve a level of certainty that you have selected the right niche in the first place. You need to do your homework to assess the viability of the niche because it needs to have the potential to meet your financial goals. You also need to know if it is something for which you are personally best suited, that it plays to your personal strengths and passion. Only then should you take action.

But, once you are clear that you are heading in the right direction, you need to be absolutely single-minded about your endeavors.  The opposite of single-mindedness is being plagued with self-doubt or second-guessing yourself.

The single-mindedness mindset is what makes the difference between winners and losers.  Losers tend to forget that staying focused within the niche is essential. They think that they may miss out on business outside of their niche. Thus, they get distracted and dilute their concentration.

Recently, we were reminded of the importance of single-mindedness when a chipmunk (of all creatures) ventured into our garage.  It was game-on for our cat, Qunicy!  He became absolutely single-minded about his goal to capture the chipmunk.

At first, we had no idea what had captivated the attention of our intrepid hunter. He spent the entire night in the garage, hot in pursuit.  He was missing in action--a no-show for dinner and his favorite activity of the day, going on walks with his parents.

The next day the mystery prey was in the house and under our couch in the living room.  Quincy did not leave his post for hours, monitoring the situation. Only after lifting the couch, and seeing a bushy-tailed creature make a hasty retreat for our front hall closet did we recognize what it was. At that point we sequestered Quincy, opened the front door and managed to orchestrate the chipmunk's escape.

Take a lesson from Quincy. Nothing deterred him from his Chief Aim.  He had no second-thoughts or self-doubts. Nothing else seemed to exist for him during this game of cat & chipmunk. He was fully engaged in the here and now. The joy was obviously in his journey, more so than the end result.

Find a niche that you can dominate and stay focused. Become single-minded in the unabashed pursuit of market leadership in your marketplace.

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.