Imagination and creativity is one of the cornerstones of a successful luxury real estate marketing practice. Imitation and luxury really do not belong together. Too often we see luxury real estate professionals copying the branding or marketing strategies of their closest competitors and forgoing the competitive advantage of being original and authentic. It becomes a case of the hot pink plastic flamingo!

One of the most beautiful birds on our planet is the flamingo.  This brightly colored bird caught the imagination of Don Featherstone who designed a plastic hot pink flamingo as a lawn ornament, sold in pairs (one upright the other feeding.) This plastic creation was awarded the “Ig-Nobel Prize for Art (a parody of the Nobel Prize). Plastic pink flamingos have become part of the American pop culture. Original Featherstone’s are marked as such on the bird’s underside.

American Flamingo, Photo by Fritz Geller Grimm

However, copy cats swarmed in and reproduced the flamingos in mass. This caught the imagination of students at the University of Wisconsin who “flamingoed” (the verb) a hill near their campus with over 1000 plastic flamingos on the first day of classes one year. Their prank sparked similar episodes around the country.

Plastic flamingos are now considered in the art world as kitsch. " Kitsch is a German word denoting art that is considered an inferior, tasteless copy of an extant style of art or a worthless imitation of art of recognized value."

Authenticity in personal branding will strike the right chord with your ideal clients.  Phoniness will repel them like plastic pink flamingos. It is not that there isn’t a market for these hollow birds.  It is just a question of knowing who you are and who you want to attract.

Is your personal brand original or is it kitsch?

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