Luxury real estate marketing professionals should spend zero time selling and much more time looking for soul mates. If this sounds odd to you take a lesson from one of the greatest retail brands in the world, IKEA—a brand with a soul.
Are you a Frikadellers fan? Frikadellers are flat pan-fried dumplings of minced meat--the Danish version of meatballs. If you do not have a Danish restaurant nearby you can find Frikadellers most of the 300 IKEA stores in 38 countries. IKEA is a privately held international home products company that originated in Sweden. It designs and sells ready-to-assemble furniture, appliances and home accessories. The company is the world’s largest furniture retailer.
What does the IKEA brand stand for? Or, put another way, what is the soul of IKEA’s brand?
IKEA has taken the lead in adopting environmentally friendly manufacturing processes which extends to the unassembled product solution in shipping and packaging. They are a pioneering force in taking a sustainable approach to the “mass consumer culture”. An example is their extensive use of particle board. On February 17, 2011, IKEA announced its plans for a wind farm in Sweden, furthering the furniture giant's goal of running on 100 percent renewable energy.
IKEA’s charitable foundation is officially dedicated to promoting “innovation in architecture and interior design”. With a net worth of approximately $36 billion, the foundation is unofficially the world’s largest charitable organization. It eclipses the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is worth approximately $33 billion, although the Gates donate much more in charitable gifts.
If the soul of IKEA’s brand is: 1) environmental sustainability in manufacturing, and; 2) innovation in architecture and design, who are IKEA’s ideal customers? An even better question is who are IKEA’s soul mates?
The answer is customers who have identical values! Are you an IKEA soul mate? If you prefer not to assemble your own furniture, or if you object to the idea that investing in innovation in architecture and design vs. giving to world health causes (like the Gates often do) you might not be a soul mate for IKEA.
When you understand that effective branding and marketing is really the art of matchmaking, and a member of your ideal target market is actually a soul mate, then the subject takes on a completely new and fresh perspective. The discipline of branding then becomes one of sharply defining who you are and clearly expressing it in such a way that your soul mates can quickly recognize that you are a match made in heaven.
When marketing and branding is done right it takes sales completely out of the equation! Trying to convince someone that they are a soul mate when they truly are not a match annoys the prospect and is a complete waste of your time. The hard sell is only used when a professional or a company does not know exactly who they are and also when they are "clueless" as to whom their ideal match is.
Are you looking for your soul mates? You should be. The biggest secret of marketing is this: Your soul mates are also looking for you! All you have to do is help them find you.
By the way, if you are a carnivore vs. a vegan or a vegetarian, you ought to try IKEA’s Frikadellers sometime.
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