Branding Moments: What Is the Core of Your Brand?

Photo by © Thinglass | Dreamstime.com

Photo by © Thinglass | Dreamstime.com

In a previous post we asked the question, “Does Your Unique Promise of Value Have An Expiration Date?” We indicated that features such as using drone photography in your luxury real estate marketing basically have a shelf life because it can be imitated, but your core, your uniqueness is inimitable.  That is, if you continue to innovate around your core.

We recently were awestruck by an interview with Angela Ahrendts, who is currently the Senior VP of Retail at Apple (previously the highest paid CEO in the UK at Burberry-$26.3M).  In 2014 she earned $70M at Apple as the highest paid executive in the company!  Basically, she said that every great brand has a core.

Rediscovering, revivifying and reinvigorating Burberry’s core, enabled her to increase the value of Burberry from £2 billion to over £7 during her tenure there.  She shifted the company from 75% wholesale to 75% retail by opening Burberry stores worldwide and developing a strong online presence.

The waterproof gabardine trench coat, which was originally created in 1856 for the military, is at the core of the brand. Angela was able to rally the troops (over 10,000 employees) around her vision of making the Burberry trench coat “cool” again.  She empowered them to passionately communicate the company’s core values (“to protect, to explore and to inspire”) directly to the consumer instead of relying on resellers to represent them.

What is the core of YOUR brand? What are you doing to continuously innovate around your core?

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.

Does Your Unique Promise of Value Have An Exipration Date?

Articulating your unique promise of value is one of the trickiest aspects of personal branding in the luxury real estate arena. Sadly, many agents mistake features, like the latest and greatest website design or the best market reports, as their unique promise of value.  The difference between a unique promise of value and a feature is that features have expiration dates. Intrinsic value endures.

Today as we were driving on the freeway, we spotted a CVS truck.  What was remarkable was the claim on the loading door. It proclaimed that they are the only pharmacy with more 24-hour stores open than any of their competitors.  How long will that be true?  Their competition can easily surpass them by opening extra stores.  What will they use next

We researched this further and found that CVS closed over 70 stores in 2016, as a cost cutting measure.  Many of those stores were 24-hour stores, and some of the remaining stores no longer offered 24-hour service. Essentially, the feature of extended hours as a differentiator expired in 2016.

In the competitive wine industry, the true promise of value can be the very dirt in which the vines grow.  That is known as “terroir”. The best example of this is Chateau d’Yquem famous for its Sauternes.  They have 310 acres of the best dirt for this grape with the perfect micro-climate and have been commanding the highest prices since 1477. The wineries next door cannot duplicate the taste of those 310 acres, and sell their wine for less. 

In real estate to find your unique value proposition you have to dig deep to discover the essence of what you stand for, what no one else can duplicate. If your unique value proposition can be duplicated, it a feature with an expiration date.  If you can find your essence and value in this business you will find the lasting elixir of longevity!

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.

 

 

 

The Sweet Sound of Clients Singing Your Praises

There is nothing more gratifying than hearing the sweet sound of a client singing your praises after a job well done. It makes you want to share it with the world.  Please take a moment to watch this 2-Minute Video Case Study of luxury real estate broker, Pamela Frey, in Naples, FL and see the testimonial below.

After setting out to build my dream website, I burned through 3 web developers and threw thousands of dollars down the drain. I felt overwhelmed, even ashamed, of my failures. I concluded that my dream site was unrealistic.

Then, after a long reprieve, I discovered Ron and Alexandra Seigel of Napa Consultants, Int’l. Much to my delight, they listened intently to my story and seemed to intuitively know how to cure my missteps. I made the frightening decision to trust them.

They got me! Ron’s mind is like a finely tuned violin. I can remember practically feeling him construct my site in his mind as he navigated how we would get from A to B to C seamlessly. Alexandra’s presence is like an enduring hug. I am in awe, even humbled by her depth of world knowledge, pulse on the human spirit and unshakeable faith in their design and marketing prowess.

They inspired me to rise to the occasion. From concept to the launch of my site, Ron and Alexandra provided service on par with The Ritz Carlton- always there for me, as they masterfully put my vision to form, holding me tight to a clear eyed schedule of to do’s. My “dream” became theirs. I felt nurtured and cared for throughout the process.

I just want to break out into song! With praise, celebration and my abiding gratitude,
— Pamela Frey, REALTOR ®, P.A., Platinum Properties, Naples, FL
 

 

NaplesWest.com

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.

 

 

Gazing At The Future In A Crystal Ball Or Thinking Like A Futurist?

We have little faith in crystal balls when it comes to predicting the future.  We prefer thinking like a futurist even though the intent is not to predict the future.  It is about observing the clues under your nose, and conjuring conditions and events as possible outcomes. The old adage, “when you want to hide something, the best place to hide it is in plain view”, is applicable. 

What is in plain sight is often ignored such as gut feelings, anecdotal evidence, and trends.  To be a futurist you have to develop the skill of observing the obvious, and let your imagination soar. You also have to be willing to destroy your construct, let go of it, and begin again. And, it helps to have a mastermind of similar minded individuals to explore with. So here are our thoughts on 2017.

Based on our observations and experiences, we think that psychographic branding and marketing is finally making sense to more marketing professionals.  Some of the top Madison Avenue agencies are realizing that one size does not fit all and are opening satellite offices in smaller markets.  

Print marketing is alive and well in the right marketplaces.  Net-A-Porter. one of the most successful online luxury retailers, now publishes a glossy magazine. Even though this seemed like a “backward” move to some, the magazine premiered in 2014. It includes relevant articles on travel, fashion, and advice of what to buy.  They understood that “women prefer to read about fashion on glossy pages as they shop online”. See WSJ. The magazine sells on newsstands for $9.99 per issue or $48 annually for 6 issues.  

Social media will continue to wane as a primary marketing influence in some areas of the country.  People have pitch fatigue from online ads, and are tired of spending time in a virtual world. The majority of people we talk to do not spend significant time or energy on social media.  At most, they may have a business page that one of their assistants monitors.  Instead, they are re-discovering the joy of being present with others and the business benefits of meeting someone for coffee or lunch. 

For some it is definitely easier to gaze at a crystal ball when it comes to predicting the future, However, the rewards of futurist thinking are much greater.

Wishing you all a great 2017!

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.

2017 Theme: "We Can Work It Out"

Life is very short, and there’s no time for fussing and fighting, my friend
— -John Lennon & Paul McCartney

Today, it is more important than ever, to really listen when someone says to you, “Try to see it my way” because “there is a chance that we may fall apart before too long”. Finding ways to create bridges across the chasms between our personal perspectives is of paramount importance. For that reason we have made “We Can Work It Out” our 2017 theme for the year.  

All successful real estate professionals know that reaching for “win-win” solutions when negotiating the sale of homes is the best long-term strategy to achieve longevity in the business. They know that their livelihood is on the line as well as their self-respect by taking this proven “high road” approach. And, their mindset when approaching negotiations is, like the title of the Beatles hit song suggests, “We Can Work It Out”. 

Achieving this mindset in our personal relationships, not just in our business relationships, is no longer an option it is an imperative if we are to thrive as individuals and as nations.  We cannot just look to our government to be the builders of these bridges of communication.  We each need to take the responsibility for successful outcomes in personal interactions. Instead of entrenching ourselves deeper in our personal point of view (“the only right viewpoint”), looking for evidence to support it, and casting blame on others, we need to take the time to see it their way.

Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook,  is setting an example of doing just that.  His 2017 goal is reaching out to more people in each of the 50 USA states this year and meeting face-to-face.  He is on a mission to listen to more people and create new bridges of communication. We applaud his outreach and recommend that real estate professionals do likewise within their community.

As we were thinking about approaching this post at breakfast this morning at the Worker Bee Café, we heard “We Can Work It Out” by the Beatles playing in the background.  We always heed amazing coincidences of this nature that affirm the underlying connectedness that we share with all human beings and nature itself.  It reminds us that this so called “great divide”, that the media is hyping, is only real because we create it ourselves and we alone can undo it.  

Let us all reach for “Win-Win” solutions in our personal relationships as well as in business in 2017. WE CAN DO IT- WE CAN WORK IT OUT!

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.

Are You Being Blurred By Your Competition?

Those who are looking to compete with successful real estate professionals will often imitate the leaders in every way, shape and form.  It is visibly prevalent in every industry, especially in real estate. The competition will study what the competitor is doing, with the intent to blur the differences. Blurring is a method of nullifying your competitor’s strategic differentiators, and saying “we are just as good, if not better!”

This explains why we often see the exact same website, and even the same messaging on these sites, and why logos often resemble each other so that they are a blur in the eyes of sellers and buyers.

Photo by Silviya Avsova

Photo by Silviya Avsova

Here is a clear-cut example: Coach (a maker of handbags and accessories) since 1941, was the first to notice the under served market of luxury handbags at affordable prices. In 1981, Michael Kors also went into the same space. The new company copied the Coach store designs and even used the same manufacturers to produce their bags. 

When Coach woke up, two years ago, they asked their employees to look at a slide show of storefronts and bags asking them to identify the brand.  Like the majority of consumers, they could not differentiate Coach from Kors. 

Photo by Rajan Singh

Photo by Rajan Singh

Coach’s chief operating officer, Victor Luis, stated, “We were slow to evolve, “We did not innovate quickly enough, did not invest enough in differentiating ourselves from the new competition that was in some ways taking our playbook.”

Blurring is a valid method of creating a level playing field with your competition.  However, if you do not amplify your own inimitable strategic differentiator you will face the same consequences.

Are you being blurred by Your Competition?

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.

Wishing You All An Invincible 2017

Ron and I want to wish you superb 2017.  In the magnificent words of Helen Keller:

Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.”
— Helen Keller

Happy New Year!

Cheers!

Ron & Alexandra Seigel

Branding Moments: Lions As A Symbol of Luxury

Ron and I loved this statue of this sleeping lion in Umbria.  This led us to look up the symbolism that mankind has attributed to lions for many centuries as"King of the Jungle", or "King of the Beasts".  In England, King Richard I was known as Richard the Lionheart, named for his bravery, and enlightened leadership.

The earliest drawings of lions (32,000 years old) was found in the Chauvet Cave in the Ardèche region of Southern France.  The drawings show lionesses hunting. The Lascaux caves (15,000 years old) depict lions mating.

This association symbolizes royalty, bravery, as well as gentleness at the same time. One often sees door knockers with lion's heads, and lions on brands.  Many luxury brands have used the symbol of lions to communicate their heritage and long standing traditions.

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.

Wishing All A Superb Weekend To Celebrate Your Meaningful Holidays!

We wish you all a superb weekend to celebrate your meaningful holidays! Regardless of our individual beliefs, we are all united in wishing everyone, peace and goodwill to all mankind without exceptions!

Tonight, December 24th, begins the first night of the Chanukah celebration!

chris.jpg

My family (A) has always celebrated on Christmas Eve and opened presents that evening.  Ron and I continue the tradition by enjoying each other's presence!

kwanzaa.jpg

Kwanzaa begins on December 26th.  Kwanzaa is a secular festival observed by many African Americans from December 26 to January 1, as a celebration of their cultural heritage and traditional values. (Wiki)

December 26th is also known as Boxing Day throughout Europe, The United Kingdom and Canada. It is part of the Christmas holiday, a day of giving surplus food, and clothing to those in need.  This year, because Christmas fell on a weekend, December 26th, becomes a holiday in the United States. 

Wishing all of you a joyous time,

Cheers,

Ron & Alexandra Seigel

Brand of the Year 2016: The Brave New World of Internet of Things

Each year we feature one consumer brand that is truly outstanding. This year the company is HP and the product actually a service, our first foray into the brave new world of THE INTERNET OF THINGS (IoT).

HP’s Instant Ink service allows you to automatically re-order ink via the mail for your desktop printer only as needed, on a subscription basis. Our new printer (HP Envy) is connected to HP via the Internet and lets the company know when we are running low on ink.

For$2.99/month we get up to 50 printed pages each month (way more than we ever use in a given quarter-year).  Unused pages roll over into the next month (up to 50 pages). We do not pay the monthly fee if we have credits from the roll over.  $36 per year (maximum) is still far less than we have been paying for ink.  The first 3 months are free. Apparently, this cuts out the middleman (Staples, Office Depot, etc) and they pass along the savings to us, the consumers! 

The best feature is that we never run out of ink when we actually need it because our needs are anticipated and it arrives by mail BEFORE we run out.  Yes, this seems a bit spooky and we are still wrapping our brains around the idea of the Internet of Things.  But, this level of convenience and cost savings is brilliant. 

Bravo HP! 

 

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.

Branding Moments: Monday's Sweet Discovery!

Late this morning, we drove to an appointment in Thousand Oaks.  As we passed through the Oaks shopping center, we spotted Lolli and Pops.  It is a new store in our area dedicated to Old Fashioned and New sweets.  The sales people wear boater hats, and striped shirts and were very welcoming.  They stocked every kind of old and new fashioned candy as well as an array of chocolates.

We loved the way the store looked the color and the welcoming feel it oozed! We just had to go in and educate ourselves!  We think they communicated their brand beautifully, and we loved the play on the word lollipop!

What do you think?

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.

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.