Branding Moment: Choose Your Words Carefully To Convey Your Message!

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Using the right words to convey your message is one of most important factors in branding and marketing yourself and or your company. The right words will emphasize your uniqueness and your value to your intended audience.

Last year, as we were meandering through the back streets of Florence, we walked into this wine store.  We were impressed with the façade and the interior of the store as pictured above.   We had a delightful conversation with the owner, and he furthered our knowledge on Italian wines.

As we walked out, we focused on the name of the store.!  Just to make sure, we knew what the word obsequium meant we looked it up.  We even researched the Italian dictionary to be sure that the meaning and nuances of the word in order to be certain that the meaning agreed with the English version. And they did!

Definition of obsequium.: the customary respectful behavior due from a freedman to his patron or former master under ancient Roman law including freedom from lawsuit by the freedman except with the consent of the praetor (the magistrate) and the duty to support the patron when needy.

Then, we went one step further in our thinking. The word obsequious as an adjective is not exactly one that is flattering. It is defined as: fawning or sycophantic compliance and exaggerated deference of manner.” 

We  cannot figure out how the word "obsequious relates to the wine industry. The logo font is adorned with a Roman column in the design is attractive.  It conveys history and heritage.  We enjoyed looking at their tastefully displayed wines (pictured below.).

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From our point of view, we do notunderstand how this brand relates to wine.  As far as this brand is concerned , we appreciate that it provided us with an opportunity to write a branding moment blog post.   Are you using the right words to convey your message? 

 

Throwback Thursday: Following Up On Spaghetti Marketing!

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On February 27, 2014, we wrote a post called Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tips:  Spaghetti Marketing: Marketing Your Strengths.  We discussed the woes of the then Italian economy  (2 trillion Euros in debt). 

At that time the idea of developing a food theme park in Bologna was born, known as Eataly.  The entrepreneurs took over 80,00 square feet of warehouse space and 20 acres of land in Bologna.  This project included using the land to grow food.  It made its debut in November of 2015.   It became a resounding success and subsequently the owners opened stores in New York, and Chicago.

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In November of 2017, the Los Angeles store in Century City conveniently situated between Beverly Hills and the Westside of Los Angeles has opened its doors.  Spaghetti marketing had made its mark in California, after opening in 2 locations in New York and in Chicago.

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As we mentioned in our post yesterday, we bought fresh egg and spinach pasta as well as Proscuitto di San Daniele, considered to be the best in class. We made the classic Italian Dish, paille e fieno (straw=egg tagliatelle and hay=spinach tagliatelle), (pictured above).

The pasta is tossed with a cream sauce flavored with fresh shallots and garlic to which freshly grated Parmesan is added. When the pasta is ready, you add the prosciutto and fresh peas and toss and serve.

According to friends, the place has been mobbed since the day it opened.  We were fortunate to be there in the morning, and we had the whole store to ourselves to explore. And everything we bought was great.  Spaghetti Marketing,  or Marketing Your Strengths really works.

Branding Moments: Does Your Brand Make It Easy For Others To Refer You?

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The value of a great brand in luxury real estate or any other real estate market is that it makes it easy for others to refer you and your business.  If there is a slogan that accompanies the brand, the slogan should further clarify for others the reason to patronize your business.  

We spotted Perry’s Steakhouse & Grille Sign (pictured above) in the Park Meadows shopping center near Denver, Colorado.  We felt that their slogan, “rare & well done,” described their promise of value. We also liked the double meaning in those four words.

Even though we rarely eat meat, we walked in to check out the menu. We found a fish dish as well as other seafood items.  This led us to make a reservation.  We loved the main course and side dishes we ordered, the ambiance, the wine list, and the dessert.  The service was just right. 

We also shared our experience the next day with all our family members at our Thanksgiving feast.  They live close-by and had not tried the restaurant.  Based on our experience, they are planning to dine there..

Does your brand make it easy for others to refer you?

Branding Moments: Simply Splendid And Memorable Packaging!

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If you want to stand out from the crowd of real estate agents, it is important that you really put some thought into the presentation of your marketing materials.  Your marketing materials, which include your web site, are a clear indication of real estate marketing savvy.

Packaging is one of those delightful attributes of a great brand.  When it is well done, it adds to the credibility of a brand. It becomes memorable and something one looks forward to seeing.  

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Yesterday we had the pleasure of seeing he latest packaging that Veuve-Cliquot, a well- known Champagne house, established in 1761 and based in Reims, France, came up with this year. Once again, we were wowed by the brilliance of their memorable packaging. 

We have always appreciated Veuve-Cliquot’s brilliant packaging, for many years.  This year is no exception, and no doubt another award winner. The theme is travel destinations: From Reims (home of Veuve Cliquot) to Tokyo, Milan, Miami, Paris, Moscow, New York, Rio de Janeiro and Las Vegas. 

The metal-like gift box is designed as an arrow.  On the box is the distance in Kilometers (9,283) from Reims to Rio de Janeiro.  The top of the arrow slides, and you can insert a bottle of Veuve-Cliquot into it.  It is something the recipient of this gift will keep long after the Champagne has been savored.

Ask yourself, are your marketing materials simply splendid, memorable, and reflect your marketing savvy?

Branding Moments: Are You Using The Right Words To Communicate Your Message?

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Using the right words to communicate your message is one of most important factors in marketing. The right words will emphasize your uniqueness and your value to your intended audience.

The words on this Tesla showroom display (pictured above) caught our attention.  Not only did it catch our attention, it jarred it.  What is ludicrous performance? We looked up the definition in several dictionaries including the Cambridge English Dictionary.

Here is the Cambridge definition: stupid or unreasonable and deserving to be laughed at.

Merriam-Webster defined it as: 1: amusing or laughable through obvious absurdity, incongruity, exaggeration, or eccentricity. 2: meriting derisive laughter or scorn as absurdly inept, false, or foolish.

Would you want to spend around $80,000 on a car that has laughable performance?   Are you using the right words to communicate your message?

Happy Thanksgiving 2017

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"At times our own light goes out, and is rekindled by a spark from another person,  Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who lighted the flame within us."" Albert Schweitzer

Wishing you all a wondeful Thanksgiving Holiday!

Ron & Alexandra Seigel

Our Swag Bag &The luxury of details: Lessons From The French Laundry

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In yesterday’s post, we promised that we would reveal the contents of the bag that was handed to us as we walked out of the restaurant.  As we mentioned before, little details leave big impressions when it comes to brand identity.  Here are a few more wonderful little details we were treated to. The bag you see pictured above is embossed with the logo.

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Embossing is a quality cue. Inside the bag was a two-pocket presentation folder (also embossed with the logo) with a signed menu.  In the pocket was a booklet with a directory of the purveyors The French Laundry uses including a description of the business.  What a great way to support the people the French Laundry buys from.

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Last but no least were two small  silver tins filled with shortbread cookies made by the pastry chef. It was a perfect experience, and we appreciate the masterful branding of the French Laundry.

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Details define the essence of luxury.  Regardless which sector of real estate marketing you are specializing in, attention to details is of paramount importance. Attention to details will help you stand out in the crowd!

Lessons From The French Laundry: Brand Identity Details

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Introduction:

The French Laundry is a 3 star Michelin rated restaurant located in Yountville, California, a quaint small city in the Napa Valley. The building pictured above was built in the 1900’s and is on the National Register of Historic Places.  It started life as a saloon. Subsequently, it was sold to a French laundry, which specializes in cleaning fine fabrics, silk, lace or linen. 

Its next incarnation was a restaurant run by Don Shmidt, then mayor of Yountville, and his wife, Sally. He then sold it to Thomas Keller in 1994, and history in the culinary world was made.

Every day, the French Laundry serves two different nine-course tasting menus. What is remarkable is that the ingredients in each course are only used once. The food is mainly French with American influences.  The French Laundry has a large organic vegetable and herb garden, as well as a greenhouse across the street..

 

Brand Identity Details

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Little details leave big impressions when it comes to brand identity.  They are the essence of what makes an experience unforgettable!  It demonstrates that an abundance of thought was given to the brand. The branded clothespins pictured above were attached to large white napkins in lieu of a napkin rings.

Be sure to note, that one side has the name, the other side has the website on it.  We attached them to the bag that was handed to us as we left the restaurant.  Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post as we reveal the contents of the bag.

Strategize Now for Market Leadership in 2018

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Brand strategy is all about seizing top-of-mind status on purpose and achieving market leadership in your area or a niche therein. Now is the time to strategize for 2018. As the leading brand strategists in luxury real estate, we can help you identify an uncontested or underserved market niche that you can dominate with our proven strategies. 

Watch this new 3-minute video case study of our client, Mary Lee, the market-leading agent in Ocean Reef, Florida, which is one of the finest private clubs and wealthiest communities in the world. Then, give us a call to discuss how we can help YOU become the breakaway brand in your marketplace.

Also, see Mary's website:  MaryLeeOceanReef.com

Branding Moments: An All In Two Words Brand!

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We recently were introduced to the Bee Kind brand.  This brand appealed to us at first glance. It is simple, and the play on words is wonderful. It also doubles as a great slogan!  And the brand made us smile.  It is an all in two words brand.

We  had the opportunity to try these products pictured above as well as their shampoo and conditioner.  All four items were excellent, and we appreciated their natural light fragrance. 

And just because you can, Be Kind today!

The Power of Texture In Writing Your Marketing Message!

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We take many pictures both for sampling colors for our client's branding and suggesting the type of photos for their photographer to take.  We also are inspired by images when we write the marketing messages (such as describing a marketplace or community.)  A message tells a story, and like a story it has layers and textures that make it come alive. 

This photo was taken at Crater Lake.  We were fascinated with he sculptural shapes of the decaying trees. They still live in the form of food and shelter for insects and other creatures.  They also feed the living trees with compost.  They are a testament to the cycle of life.

Keep in mind this quote by British Author Paul Scott,, best known for his book called The Raj Quartet, which was made into a highly acclaimed PBS series, called The Jewel In The Crown.

"The past becomes a texture, an ambience to our present."

If these words do not inspire you, read a Pat Conroy book.  He paints images with his description of places.  We would suggest reading South of Broad, where he describes Charleston.  Here is an excerpt: 

"You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the low/country, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes."

Think texture; it is visceral.  It creates an emotional response, it captures the reader's attention, and they will not forget you.

Tapping The Best Source of Brand Color Combinations

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In nature, color combinations are meant to attract mates to keep the species alive and reproducing.  In branding and marketing colors evoke a response that attract consumers, who identify with those colors, helping to keep business vibrant.

We spotted a large chicken coop yesterday when we visited the Hauser Worth Gallery Complex in the Los Angeles Arts District.  This chicken, one of a dozen attracted our attention because of its color combination. And after seeing the gallery exhibit, we both concluded that this chicken was the best art exhibit we had seen that day.  It was not hard to conclude that Nature won hands down, as the best source of color combinations.

Universal Design: The Wave of the Future

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Recently, we were tasked with helping to develop the logo, marketing and messaging of a new state-of-the-art luxury condominium development that featured Universal Design. This is an approach to design that allows people of all levels of ability to live as independently as possible. We think Universal Design is the wave of the future.

Universal Design creates an environment that can be accessed, understood and used to the greatest extent possible by all people regardless of their age, size, ability or disability. By considering the diverse needs and abilities of all throughout the design process Universal Design virtually eliminates the need for adaptation, modification, assistive devices or specialized solutions, on behalf of any persons of any age or size or having any particular physical, sensory, or mental acuity challenge. 

For example, a home built with Universal Design would have no steps and open floor plans.  The light switches would all be as easily accessible to someone in a wheelchair, a child or an adult. It is just good design without emphasizing handicaps. Universal design is the wave of the future.

Do Your Marketing Messages Communicate Your Intent And Your Savvy?

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If you want to attract buyers and sellers to work with you, be sure that the words you use in all your messaging are accurate and communicate your intent and your savvy. Make it a point to understand all the connotations of each word you use, and that you use it in its proper context.   Use the dictionary as your source of reference.  It is free and online.

The words you use make an impression both positive and or negative.  Here is an example:

Recently, we were asked to help rewrite the existing description of a 5 million dollar home.  The previous agent had written these words: “This lovely statuesque home boasts state of the art appliances in the chef’s gourmet kitchen

The word statuesque is usually used to describe a woman who is attractively tall and dignified.  Although this home is two stories high, it does not resemble a tall attractive woman.

The word “boast” according to Merriam-Webster means to brag, vaunt, crow, to express pride in oneself or one's accomplishments. Boast often suggests ostentation and exaggeration. 

How can a home boast? It is an inanimate object.

State of the art implies the latest and most sophisticated or advanced stage of a technology, art or science. This home was remodeled five years ago. A new kitchen was installed, and the existing appliances are not state of the art today. It is a nice kitchen, with name brand appliances. However, it is not a chef’s kitchen, nor a gourmet kitchen.

This description may initially flatter a seller, however it may potentially disappoint a buyer.  The home did not sell, and the new agent’s description is accurate and well written. It now demonstrates the agent’s clear intent and marketing savvy. 

Do Your Marketing Messages Communicate Your Intent And Your Savvy?

Branding Moments: Are You Certain About Your Brand Identity?

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Are you certain about your brand identity? Can you succinctly communicate this message as a clear brand signal to your target market so they can instantly grasp how you are distinct from your competition?  In the context of gaining and sustaining market leadership in luxury real estate or any other real estate market segment this is of paramount importance. If you do not have a clear and consistent brand signal your market share will began to erode.

How else can you expect others to spread the good word about you, if you do not give them a clear and concise message about who you are and how you are different?  

The lead photo was taken in front of one of our upscale markets.  It is a perfect example of brand identity crisis.  This regional market chain is known for their beautiful displays and customer service. Someone in the hierarchy was unconscious and opted to re-use watermelon boxes in the wrong season. This type of detail can be instrumental in eroding the brand signal.

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In contrast this photo of pumpkins at Trader Joe's emphasizes their brand clearly and distinctly. They were willing to spend on fun boxes (fun is part of their brand signal) to display their pumpkins.  

Are You Certain About Your Brand Identity?

Lessons From Orchids: How To Find Your Personal Brand Signal

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Nature understand the importance of brand signals in order to thrive. Here is a lesson from orchids. There are more than 25,000 orchid species and over 100,000 hybrids. Each species has a specific flower suited to a particular insect that will fertilize it. 

Each type has its own signal to attract the right pollinator. Some orchids bloom longer to increase successful pollination, some exude scents to attract bees or butterflies. Others orchids use colors as a point of attraction.  Orchids pollinated by hummingbirds and butterflies are usually red to orange tones as well as pink. 

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Marketing yourself has to be the same as the orchid. When you know your own signal it becomes easy to decide who is right for you and also where to spend your productive time and energy. You have to stay true to your signal. You cannot waver, if you want to consistently attract the right referral sources, customers or clients.

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From a personal branding standpoint, success in luxury or any other real estate marketing is all about striking the right chord with your target market. By virtue of our very existence we send out broadcast signals about who we are.

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What signal are you sending out? Are you resonating with the buyers and sellers that you want to attract as clients? Is your personal brand easy to decipher for your target market?

Your success in attracting the right people and circumstances depends on the clarity of your signal. This applies to personal relationships as well as business relationships.

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At the core of your broadcast is your passion for what you are doing. Are you passionate about marketing luxury or any other real estate? If not, people will pick up on your mixed signals and your self-contradicted message. This is tantamount to a hiss or a crackling sound from a radio signal when it is not quite tuned in to the correct broadcast signal.

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Static reduces the fidelity of your message. Eventually, people turn off to you and your message. Static comes from not knowing who you are and pretending to be what you are not. When your signal is clear you attract the very people who are seeking your signal.

Branding Moments: Is Your Marketplace Buying Your Brand?

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As a luxury or any other real estate marketing professional, it is important that your brand communicates your core values in your marketing materials, which include your web site as well as the way you conduct your business.  Real estate like any other business is a matchmaking business.  If your market resonates with your values, they will hire you and buy what you have to offer.

Core values are your foundation and your authentic essence by which you operate your business and your life.  They are the guidelines by which your decisions are made and executed.  When your core values are explicitly and implicitly expressed in words, colors, fonts, presentation and action you have a brand. Your point of attraction is clear and becomes a beacon to those whose core values are similar.  And, as an added bonus, a brand makes it easier for others to refer you.

The photo above is of a new dry cat food we recently purchased for Quincy cat.  Nutro’s packaging expressed their core values, which in turn resonated with ours when it comes to food we eat.  Amid all the choices of dry cat food that are available, this one flew off the shelf into our hands. We can also report that Quincy is happy with our choice.

Nutro’s transparency and explicit expression of their values influenced us to buy their brand., and share our experience with other cat owners.   Is Your Marketplace Buying Your Brand? 

Branding Moments: What Makes You Buy?

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Ever wonder why your competitor was given a listing you would have loved to have.  Why did the seller choose them over you?  If you want to know the answer, a good place to start is to observe your own buying habits.  What makes you buy one product over another?  Here is an example:

When we were in Oregon, we were asked to select a wine at the local Albertson’s.  Our friends selected an Oregon Cabernet Sauvignon, and as we looked over the wine section, at the California selection.  This California wine stood out from the usual choices.  Here are the reasons we bought.

1.    The winemaker, Marc Mondavi, comes from a great winemaking family.  His uncle, Robert Mondavi, put the Napa Valley on the global wine map.  This heritage gave this bottle credibility and trust. 

We also knew that unlike some Napa and Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignons, this would not be a fruit forward wine what is known as a “fruit bomb”.  The Mondavi family is known for their Bordeaux style cabs.

2.    The region where the wine is grown, the Alexander Valley, has the ideal hot weather that Cabernet Sauvignon grapes love.

These two factors influenced our 2 minute decision to buy the wine.  We were delighted that we all liked the wine and it exceeded our expectations.  We took a picture of the label to remember it by.

At home, we did further research and expanded our understanding by taking an additional look at the label. Two more factors supported our initial decision for buying this wine.

3.    The red trademark, EX AQUA VINUM, Latin for from water comes wine. We liked the description, “Winemaker and Water Witch Extraordinaire.

4.    The brand story is compelling, winemaker and water witch extraordinaire.  We liked the illustration of the divining rods of a water witch.  Unlike geologists who charge thousand of dollars to dig for water, Marc Mondavi is often hired to use his rods and find water in vineyards for $500. He has built a stellar reputation in both California and Oregon vineyards, and his success rate is 95%.

Analyze your own buying habits, and the decisions and reasons you buy.  You may uncover some interesting factors that will improve your presentation and packaging.  What makes you buy?

Market To The Right People And They Will Beat a Path To Your Door

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To market effectively take the time to research your target market thoroughly. Learn about their lifestyles and their values. Focus your undivided attention and marketing dollars on these people, the right people for you.  Then watch them beat a path to your door.

Research takes time and critical thinking (the objective analysis and evaluation of an issue in order to form a judgment). It may take longer to find the exact sweet spot, the right people.  However, once you do your research your success rate will increase significantly. 

Search engines like Google, Bing, and Yahoo know that people are searching in specific terms.  They want specific answers for their query: “homes with wine cellars”, or “home with vineyards”.  The search terms are becoming even more granular: “home with 5000 square foot wine cellar” or “home with 3-5 acre vineyards” (aka gentleman’s vineyard). Like search engines, you have to know how each market segment differs in the same city, or even in the community around the bend.

Demographics in California may be similar to those in Colorado. However, the lifestyles, tastes, values and attitudes are vastly different. What ranks high on someone values list may be utterly unimportant to another person with the same demographics in another state.

Understanding the lifestyles and values of your target market and speaking their language leads to effective marketing that produces real results.  Market to the right people and they will beat a path to your door. 

A Curious Branding Moment In Beverly Hills: The Purple People Have Arrived!

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Bright and early this morning as the streets of Beverly Hills were deserted, your intrepid branding and strategic marketing duo, Ron and Alexandra Seigel, were stunned.  In Gucci’s windows they saw that the Purple People have landed in Beverly Hills. 

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What was remarkable according to the Gucci press is that they come from a galaxy called, Gucci, in another universe, far, far away…

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It has also been reported that Alessandro Michele, newly appointed (2016) creative director of Gucci and responsible for all its collections and global brand image was inspired by classic sci-fi movies of the 1950’s and 1960”s.  He was also inspired by Gene Rodenberry ‘s brilliant creation of Star Trek.

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We are wondering if the One Eyed One Horned Flying Purple People Eater has heard the news?  

This is definitely a creative campaign, and we are pondering will this collection sell or just spark viral marketing?  What do you think?