By Ron & Alexandra Seigel, Partners--Napa Consultants, International

How to Distinguish Your Personal Brand

As a luxury real estate marketing professional you must sharply differentiate yourself from you competitors, especially if market leadership is your quest. We say, "Stand out or Bow out!" Here is a powerful lesson in personal brand differentiation from arguably the best-in-class dessert wine in the world, Chateau D'Yquem, from the Bordeaux region in France.

In the ever-growing worldwide marketplace of wines, the finest wines are distinguished not just by price but also by their place of origin. This principle of geographic differentiation is based on a French word, "terroir". The basic components of terroir are climate, soil type and topography. Wine labels will often identify the estate on which that wine was grown, or the particular section of the vineyard because there can be micro-climates in each section.

The concept of geographic differentiation was in practice by the ancient Greeks. As they poured the wine into the amphoras, they would stamp the wine's region on the seal. It is said that the Benedictine monks went as far as tasting the soil in the different parcels in which their wines grew, because one could taste the variations in terroirs in the same wine.

Sauternes wines are sweet wines balanced with acidity. The most famous of them is Chateau D'Yquem, which Thomas Jefferson hailed as "the best white wine of France". Aficionados still agree with that assessment when it comes to pairing it with their foie gras. At an auction in London in 2006, a 135-year "vertical" (containing every vintage from 1860 to 2003) was sold for a record price of $1.5 million. The estate next to Chateau D'Yquem also produces excellent Sauternes wine. However, it is not as highly rated as its neighbor, because its terroir is different.

Terroir is at the core of brand differentiation in wines because it is the result of natural forces. Your DNA, what makes you unique, is akin to the terroir of the great wines. To articulate your personal brand, drill deep into the ground of your being. You will discover your personal core values, what you stand for and also what you love to do the most in life. Do the same for your geographic marketplace by identifying what makes it unique, and also what you and others love the most about it. When you passionately express your personal brand in terms of the terroir of your soul and the soul of your marketplace, you will certainly stand out from your completion.