As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is absolutely essential to sharply differentiate your brand of doing business from that of your closest competitors. When you are in a listing presentation, you must let your prospective client know, in a nano-second, how you are distinct from the other agents they may be interviewing.
A new airline, Virgin American, which launched in December 2007, demonstrates the power of brand differentiation in the fiercely competitive regional California market.
In this market the choice is between:
1. Alaskan, 2. United, 3. Jet Blue, 4. Southwest,5. Virgin America
Last week we visited a client in San Francisco for a half-day meeting which required that we fly up and return on the same day. Since there are no direct flights from our headquarters in Santa Barbara we drove to Los Angeles to catch a 6:30 am flight to SFO (returning at 3:30 in the afternoon). For this trip we chose Virgin America airlines over our favorite, Southwest. The price was virtually the same but the in-flight experience was completely different.
From the moment we walked into the plane we experienced Virgin’s unique selling proposition:
1. the cabin featured mood lighting and mood music
2. an in-flight entertainment console with a touch screen, located above the seat-back table
3. multiple emails before and after the flight to establish a loyal relationship
The novelty was striking but was it enough to get us to come back? No! Flight time between L.A. and S.F. is only about 45 in-air minutes. Entertainment and mood enhancement is not our thing. Our inbox does not need more mail from vendors.
But, Virgin America did an outstanding job differentiating itself in an overcrowded market. Those who resonate with their differentiators will definitely gravitate to them and will most likely stay loyal if they keep up their good service.
Southwest will win our business back next time. We prefer what makes them different:
1. no penalties for changing reservations
2. a much easier online reservation and check-in system
Think of your closest competitor! How can you differentiate yourself in a nano-second as a luxury real estate marketing professional?
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