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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tips

Is Your Service Remarkable Enough for Continuous Referral

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Remarkable service is one of the key ways to differentiate yourself from the competition regardless of which branch of the real estate business you excel in. People who appreciate this type of service are also people who enjoy referring others like themselves to the same business person. A recent study in the luxury industry rated service as the most important reason to refer someone. And those mentioned had remarkable financial results.  And these businesses continuously look for ways to be even more remarkable.

Your most highly valued asset in your luxury or any real estate marketing practice is your database of contacts, particularly those who would go out of their way to refer business to you because you have earned their trust and respect. 

It stands to reason that understanding and consistently implementing the best practices for building a high volume of high-trust relationships will not only yield a high volume of referrals, it will also open up the opportunity to sell your practice in the future at a premium.

Have you ever wondered what it takes to inspire people to spontaneously go out of their way to refer business to you? What sparks the urge to originate word-of-mouth advertising on your behalf?  The answer is creating extraordinary value far beyond the fundamentals that are expected of you. Your service must be REMARKABLE to trigger word-of-mouth advertising. 

A remarkable brand must communicate and keep its promises, consistently. Only then can you achieve brand loyalty. For instance, there is a luxury real estate firm overseas, that promises that you can speak to one of its friendly representatives 24/7, and bespoke service. You don’t have to deal with voice mail.  We checked to make sure that they do.  To continue to succeed this firm has keep this promise. Their team must be well versed in representing their brand message. Every time the phone is answered by a live representative there is an opportunity to demonstrate and communicate the essence of their brand.

 Personally, we find ourselves drawn to brands that have great service.  And we are always delighted to recommend them.  Our car brand is now offering 24/7 emergency repair, which means that if the car fizzles out on a weekend, you don’t have to wait till Monday to get it repaired.   They have found another way to give remarkable service, and to exceed our expectations. 

Friday Photo: Whimsical & Happy House Warming Gifts!

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Pictured above is a house warming gift, Ron and I would give for our client's house warming party. We love the whimsical nature, and it would bring a daily smile to the right homeowner. And it would last as long as the plants were watered regularly.

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In our previous post, yesterday,  the commenters often mentioned that they gave house warming gifts, instead of closing gifts! House warming gifts took this subject to another level.   This is another way to say thank you for doing business with me, especially if the gift has lasting value.

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You can also create your own, with different themes and figurines. We love these, and each time, we are at Woeste'sin Los Olivos, we take a look to see what the designers have created.  We are even tempted to make our own, because they sell the individual parts also.

Wishing you many closings and giving of housewarming gifts!

The Closing Gift Conundrum: It Depends...

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In our sixteen years of focusing on branding and marketing in various niches of the real estate industry with both companies and agents, we have seen innumerable ways that real estate marketing professional in all facets of the industry attract clients, and create a referral stream.  

Closing gifts is one way to assure this happens.  We have heard and read many discussions on the subject as to what works and what does not work when it comes to closing gifts. We have concluded that the appropriate answer is that it dependson the personalities of the agents and the personalities of the people they attract.  Remember, the old adage: People like to do business with people like themselves.

It is not uncommon to hear that someone with a high-end listing will show prospects homes in a chauffeured limousine, for instance.  Or, they will rent a helicopter to view the property if they have a buyer for large tracts of land, ranches or vineyards.  They will also wine and dine them at posh restaurants.  We have seen the same type of service albeit less extravagant at the mid-range level in real estate, as well as in commercial real estate also.

Here is an example of a successful agent who feels that gift giving is the best method   to attract those who are ready to buy or sell.  We call it, the “treat them as if they ruled the world “system. 

This agent specialized in luxury real estate. A special gift from Tiffany’s was sent after a listing presentation.  It was a clever gift, a silver pen. The attached gift card explained this was the “special” pen for the potential sellers/buyers to sign the closing papers with. This individual had a high enough percentage of buyers/sellers sign the exclusive for this method to justify the cost.  At the end of the transaction, there was another luxury gift for the client.

This is one way of doing business, it worked for this individual. Even in the age of electronic signing, this person is still spending money with Tiffany’s on other items as the opening gambit.Keep in mind that this is the type of client this individual attracts over and over again, because this agent would want to be similarly treated, if he/she were the seller or buyer.  It worked.

At the same conference, we, we were speaking at, we met another agent whose approach was radically different. This person does not give gifts, she spontaneously gets them from happy clients. This is another approach to working with the wealthy or any other type of financial strata that one is working with.  

Her stance is that her service is invaluable, her knowledge of the luxury market impeccable. She has an impressive roster of clients who praise her expertise and prowess. These are the clients she consistently attracts. She is a player on an equal footing with her clients who are treated like partners in the process of selling or buying a home.  Although, she does not expect a gift, she often gets gifts from her clients.   

Find your approach, express it clearly and you will attract the very ones you would like to work with.  There is no right or wrong here, it depends on your personality and the people you would like to do business with.  As a rule, we gave ourselves a gift when we closed a deal.

What Is Marketing Magic? Is It A Rabbit Pulled out of Hat?

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We live and breathe marketing and branding day in and day out for our clients. We are constantly tweaking strategies based on evidence of psychographics (lifestyle) to refine the message for our luxury real estate client’s listings in their target market as it evolves and changes with the times. Our view on marketing magic is not a rabbit pulled out of a hat.  

 

What is appropriate for a magic show has no value in luxury or other real estate marketing.  Gimmicks have short life spans and may generate cash.  Gimmicks at some point they will die of natural causes as interest wanes.  Skip the gimmicks!

 

Successful marketing in real estate or any other profession is based on the fundamentals of marketing.  Keep in mind, that marketing is not synonymous with Sales.  As our favorite marketing guru, Peter Drucker stated: The aim of marketing is to make selling superfluous.”

 

People want to do business with people they trust, respect and like.  If you take a moment to review the brands you like doing business with, you will no doubt be able to enumerate what makes them special in your opinion.  You trust how they do business, what they stand for and what you can expect from them.  It is easy for you to recommend them.  

 

Getting the message right, (your unique promise of value) to your target market will never change, regardless where you promote your message. Remember both psycho-graphics and demographics change as time goes by.“Focus on the right message for the right people at the right time.” – Russell Glass. 

 

Know your audience is something we have preached over and over again in our posts.  Do not just relay on demographics or what someone tells you about a neighborhood.  ‘Listen to your customers, not your competitors.”Joel Spolsky.  Take time to research, and then take time to make sure your research is accurate. 

 

Get out of your office and go talk to people.  Get to know them.  Understand what makes them tick and what they are about.  What are their aspirations, values and desires when it comes to buying or selling a home?   We are talking about psychographics or generally speaking lifestyles. “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself”.  Peter Drucker

 

Know your market inside out, every minute aspect of it.  We have met several agents with whom we have worked, who can tell you the history of all the homes in their marketplace.  

 

Do not strut your stuff. It is a turnoff when someone is constantly referring to their three-favorite people (me, myself and I).  It is also off putting to compare one’s superiority over the competition, however subtle you think you are. “The customer expects you to have knowledge of their stuff, not just your stuff.”Jeffrey Gitomer

 

The biggest fundamental once you have come up with a marketing strategy is ConsistencyMaintain your visibility during lean and good times. The elements (discussed above) make marketing magical.  Leave the rabbit out of this!

Throwback Thursday: Branding Moment with History plus Localism Strategy

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Standing out from the crowd of sameness is a concept we highly recommend to those who want to dominate their marketplace in the real estate industry. Whether you are a luxury real estate marketing professional, or focus on any other part of real estate, differentiation is key in your branding and strategy.  Here is an example of using a brand strategy that implies history and localism.

We came across these bottles of wine (pictured above) in one of our favorite upscale supermarkets in town.  These bottles stood out among the rest.  They look like they came from and ancient cellar laden with dirt and dust, when making glass bottles had not been perfected.

Our research revealed that in 1952, Père Anselme came up with the idea to create a bottle that would evoke the origins of wine.  Its theme (according to their website) "The wild movement of the grenache vine twisted in the strong Provence Mistral wind".  Mistral is a strong, cold northwesterly wind that blows through the Rhône valley and southern France into the Mediterranean, mainly in winter. Even the bottle reflects the force of the Mistral winds, and the gnarled vines.

This bottle shape is a “fiole”.  Translating the French into English, it means, vial, or flask. In ancient times, liquids in vials were thought of as precious and of great value.  The bottle was created by local master glass craftsmen, and is exclusive to the Brotte family.  

The fiole is used to bottle non-vintage wines, a blend of the best vintages of Chateauneuf-du-Pape from current and past years. This is a common practice in the Champagne region.  Quite often you will find that the non-vintage blends taste better and are rated higher than their vintage counterparts.

Reviews on this wine are mixed among the critics. We did not buy it on the look or label.  We admired it for its originality and concept.  They do stand out among the rest with their brand strategy of history plus localism. a

How to Avoid Real Estate Branding Confusion, or the Me-too Marketing Box

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Perhaps one of the most important principles that luxury real estate or any other real estate marketing professionals need to understand about personal branding for real estate agents is this: Out-think, not out-spend your competition. If you want to out-smart your competition, find something, some niche that you can do better than anyone else in your marketplace. Don’t waste your time or your money becoming a what is known in marketing speak as the “me-too”in a niche that your competitor dominates.

Every year in the United States companies invest over $300 billion in marketing products and services. A huge portion of this is spent on introducing new brands in the marketplace. The majority of these new product launches never get off the ground.  The reason for this is that they are a me-too.  Here are several ways to tell if your brand is a me-too.

Your website looks like your competitors, same design, same colors, same template etc.

You use the same social media channels and other channels to spread the word of your brand, and your marketing resembles your competitors.  You even use the same vendors that everyone else uses.

Potential clients cannot tell the difference between you and everyone else, because your story and services sound the same as everyone else’s: professional photography including drones, state of the art technology to drive leads, to your website, brilliant SEO, and so on and so forth.  Even your promises are similar.

You use the same words as your competition to differentiate yourself, including the same real estate designations.

If any of these are true for you, you will be doomed to outspending your competition in order to be noticed first

As a real estate or luxury marketing professional, the size of your advertising budget does not guarantee your success if you fail to form a strong emotional connection with your target market, whether it be with consumers or referring real estate agents from outside of your marketplace. Win the hearts and minds of your target market in a niche you can own.  There are so many niches to own and create when you think outside of the me-too box.

Luxury Marketing Essentials: Maximizing Your Website's Power of Attraction!

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As a luxury or any category of real estate marketing professional, one of the best ways to think of your real estate web design is to study the window dressing of   fine retail establishments.  A luxury retail store is designed to attract its customers and maximize sales. 

Pictured above is one of the Hermes windows displays in Beverly Hills.  The theme is planning summer vacations suggesting a tropical destination.  Only two items are displayed: comfortable shoes and a large bag for those last-minute items.  There is no clutter, no extraneous items which adds to the power of attraction.

Here are some guidelines to consider that are applicable to web design:

  • The store front usually has a huge window display. The idea is to let customers see the merchandise within the store, as well as a special vignette of the latest merchandise. On the web site this should be your home page. Is it appealing to look at? Does it have curb appeal? As part of the home page, several iconic images of the area in which you work may be appropriate.

  • Is the merchandise aesthetically pleasing? When looking at what you are displaying, i.e. your listings, how do they look on the page? Are the initial photos inviting the potential client to click further and find out more? Is there logic to the way they are displayed?

  • When you are in the store are the colors complimenting the displays? Is the site easy to read? Often black is overused as a luxury color particularly with white lettering. If the whole site is black with white writing, it is hard to read. It may be beautiful from a design standpoint, but difficult on the eyes. Is the type large enough?  Functionality is more important than the look. The purpose of the site is to attract clients, not to win awards.

  • Is it easy to access the inventory? Is the search function easy to use on your site? If the client has to fill out a lengthy form to find information, they will click away. There are plenty of sites on the World Wide Web that can be searched by remaining anonymous. Is it easy to access you?

  • A luxury store avoids clutter and anything that may detract from focusing on the merchandise for sale. Avoid all extraneous information. Accessorize with pertinent and insightful information about your marketplace such as the nature of your community and why it is special.

In conclusion, think in terms of attracting the customer with eye candy.  Keep them interested in your listings.  And do not forget to refresh the site with new photos and new displays of your listings and community.

Blurring Branding: A Case of Monkey See Monkey Do Branding!

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If your aim in luxury real estate or any other branch of real estate is to have the majority of the market share in a niche or specialty, it is important that your brand is hard to blur, in other words hard to imitate. The logo and design should be original in order to prevent someone from copying your brand or colors making slight changes.  Blurring in legalese is known as “trademark dilution”.  The intent is to confuse the consumer into buying your brand, because it is similar to something that is already familiar.  A big firm whose logo has been blurred has the funds to sue and prove that the blurring party is affecting their business and profitability. 

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Pictured above is a perfect example of blurring in tuna.  We have been partial to the Genova Brand of tuna for many years. As we passed the supermarket tuna aisle we noticed that Bumble Bee had rebranded. Prior to discovering Genova, we bought Bumble Bee exclusively.  You can see the original can on their website using a blue and white label, the one we were accustomed to.  For someone in a hurry, it would be easy to pick up the new Bumble Bee rather than the Genova, especially since they share shelf space with Genova, and vice versa those wanting Bumble Bee may find the wrong brand in their bag when they get home.   

 Prior to starting our own commercial real estate firm in Los Angeles, we were wooed with a deal we could not refuse by a new company located minutes from our home in Brentwood on the Westside.  The broker owner had branded his commercial real estate company as Citi-Pacific.  He had spent large sums of money on the logo, video, signs, stationary cards, etc. It was intended by his branding company to give him as a new company a perception of legacy. Six months later, he received a nice cease and desist letter from Citi Bank’s law firm. They own the word “citi”. However, they were also willing to reimburse the costs (by providing invoices) he had incurred in branding.   He had to change the spelling to “city”.  

 Recently, a web developer contacted us to ask us to send him business both as a developer and designer. He sent us his recent work for a real estate company/agent.  It was clear that the template he used was one we had seen, over and over again.  It was a case of fill in the blanks: new agent photo, new location photo (sometimes using the same photo) for another agent in the area.  We have seen that same site in the same marketplace done in different colors, and in some cases the same copy.  We push both our graphic designer and our web developer to come up with something new and different, every time.

If you are tempted to blur to save money, don’t!  Someone may send you a cease and desist letter especially if they have the means to do so.  Blurring is a slippery slope.  Eventually even if they do not sue, they will point out that you have monkey see, monkey do branding.  In the case of Bumble Bee, it lowered our previous high esteem of the brand.  

If you are tempted to blur to save money, don’t!  Someone may send you a cease and desist letter especially if they have the means to do so.  Blurring is a slippery slope.  Eventually even if they do not sue, they will point out that you have monkey see, monkey do branding.  In the case of Bumble Bee, it lowered our previous high esteem of the brand.  

Branding: How Attractive Is This New Brand in Beverly Hills?

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One of the first rules in luxury real estate marketing and branding strategy is to identify your market, and to thoroughly research and know without the shadow of a doubt if that market will generate the income to support your lifestyle.  This is the first priority.  Selecting a name and creating a brand will naturally follow from this exhaustive search and discovery.

Today in the wee hours of the morning, we were touring Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills' prime retail street. Among all the established brands, we found this new one called Billionaire.

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Our first question in a luxury real estate marketing and branding project would be:  Who is your target buyer?  California is home to 92 billionaires, and the majority live in Northern California.  The US has a total of 540 billionaires, and the world has 2,208 billionaires according to Forbes Magazine, May 2018 issue.  Is that a high enough pool of customers to meet their rent, their cost of goods, and their employees salaries?

We have met and spent time with a handful of billionaires (US), and our impression is that they would not be attracted to this store.  Other than a prestigious yacht club crest on a polo shirt, we have not observed any with a "billionaire crest" blazer, nor "billionaire" brand crests on their casual shoes.  The majority are humble and do not brag or advertise their wealth. The use of a lion headed mannequin is implying that billionaires are "kings of the jungle." Is that attractive, or is it an overused and trite symbol of wealth?

We would guess that their prices are on par with the neighboring stores on either side of the street. We ask our readers:  "Who will buy this Billionaire Label?, Who will this label attract?"  We look forward to hearing your answers.  

Differentiation in Branding: Confused or “Corn fused”?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional or any real estate marketing professional, if you are seeking additional market share and visibility, it is important to give a complete picture of how you are different without any potential confusion to the buyers or sellers that may seek your services.  Here is an example of confusion, which turned into more confusion or “corn fused!”

Some of you many have seen the Bud Light commercial during the Super Bowl.  This was an attempt by Bud Light to differentiate themselves from their competitors, Miller Lite and Coors Lite by stating that they do not use corn syrup, whereas the competition does.  This was an attempt to claim their unique selling proposition, and transparency. A spokesman for Bud Light as quoted in Forbes: “Bud Light’s Super Bowl commercials were meant to point out a key difference in Bud Light from some other light beers. This effort is to provide consumers transparency. We’re proud of what we put into Bud Light and what we leave out like – corn syrup, preservatives and artificial flavors”. 

In response, Miller Lite explained in a full-page ad in the New York Times, that they are proud to use they use corn syrup, and not high fructose corn syrup.  This statement creates more confusion for the consumer. The bottom line is that both forms of corn syrup are sugar.  The reason folks drink light beers is because they are concerned about their health which includes an intake of calories, especially carbs.  Whether it is high fructose or corn syrup it usually produced from GMO corn, which is another health concern for many consumers.  

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Even this light organic corn syrup (pictured above) has 31grams of carbs in two tablespoons, and 130 calories. The American Heart Association recommends that most women get no more than 100 calories a day of added sugar from any source, and that most men get no more than 150 calories a day of added sugar. That's about 6 teaspoons of added sugar for women and 9 teaspoons for men.

The Bud Light spokesman went on to say:” Some beers do use corn syrup and that’s fine. In fact, our value brands use corn syrup. We use corn syrup in these brands because it makes the beer less expensive to produce and is therefore offered at a more affordable price to consumers”.

That statement leaves us even more confused. As rare beer drinkers, we are confused or “corn fused”.  Next time, we will definitely ask: “does this beer have corn syrup?”  Will you ?

Happy New Year: Chinese Wisdom in the Year of the Boar Applicable to All!

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The selection of February 5, 2019 is based on the lunar cycle and today is the new moon of 2019. Two weeks later on the 19th, we will have a full moon, and that marks the end of the celebration in China. In our Qigong class yesterday, our teacher shared with us the wisdom of the Chinese calendar and the sage advice for all of us to follow in the year of the Boar/Pig, based on the Chinese philosophy symbol of Yin/Yang.


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Pictured above is the Yin/Yang symbol of Chinese philosophy.“In Chinese philosophy, yin and yang describes how seemingly opposite or contrary forces may actually be complementary, interconnected, and interdependent in the natural world, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another.” (Wikipedia)

The boar is revered for its strengths and for being grounded in the earth. We did postures to strengthen the three human burner centers, our lungs, our heart and our digestive systems. It is what grounds all to the earth’s energy, the Yang energy.  Strengthening these systems allows the Yin energy from above to flow to us easily.  We balanced this out by also incorporating Yin exercises and postures. In other words, our wishes, dreams and desires are easier to fulfill from a grounded stance.   

The Chinese Zodiac is based on 12 animals.  The boar represents the 12th.  It is time to declutter the past 12 years, in terms of waning relationships (strengthen or discard), cleaning, and getting rid of unused things. This also a way to strengthen the Yang energy, and by getting rid of unwanted things releases attention units that can focus on what is needed and wanted.  

Wishing you all a wonderful Year of the Boar!

Monday Musings: Say Something, I am Giving Up on You!

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In our mastermind, yesterday morning, we discussed how often relationships suffer, fail or break down, because of our sole/exclusive reliance on the electronic world (text and email) to communicate.  We all had noticed how the reliance on email and text has created a reluctance to pick up our Smartphone and just call, often leading to failed relationships.  

The title for this post comes from the lyrics of “Say Something” written by indie band, A Great Big World.  The video expressed it beautifully. Sometimes, it is a question of swallowing your pride, and picking up the phone, if you are upset, or want to salvage a failing relationship.. 

Our mastermind partner is an executive coach. He mentioned a breakdown with the Skype session he was having with his client in Dubai.  He did not hesitate to call his client’s cell directly and spend the extra dollars for this long-distance call. Part of excellent communication skills is using whatever means you have at hand to maintain a relationship, whether it is personal or business.  We have called France directly, when Skype did not work, and now have an international conference call number as an added safety net.  

Recently, we had no response to electronic communications from friends.  Since they are avid off the grid travelers, we assumed they were off somewhere on the planet enjoying themselves.  We made another recent attempt via email. We received an interesting response accusing us of “ghosting” them, by having “snail” mail (Christmas card) returned, electronic messages, and texts not responded to.  Ron promptly picked up the phone, called and left a lengthy message.  He assured them we loved them.  As of this post five days have passed, and we had not heard back.  It must be our turn to be “ghosted”!

We had another friend’s Christmas card returned by the post office also.  She jotted us a note via email, and we promptly responded.  The US post office occasionally works in mysterious ways.  We are still waiting for a jar of honey that our graphic designer sent us from her beehives three years ago…The Internet is not fail-proof either, emails and texts disappear also, we experienced that last year with the fires, power outages and subsequent mudslides. Our friends picked up the phone!

We both like the convenience of email.  At the same time, we are careful of how we write our messages, because it can be misinterpreted on the other end.  We also enjoy texting also. We love seeing photos of our grand-nieces and nephews playing with their new toys.  Again, we use it mostly with close friends in fun discussions. And with our clients, we usually text when we cannot respond to a phone call immediately!.

Talking on the phone may expose how we really feel or what is happening in our world, whereas a text or email does not, even if it is full of happy face emojis!  Many are hiding behind their keyboards.  Meaningful relationships develop through verbal communications as well as face to face.  

Yes, in a verbal or face to face communication, we may be vulnerable, intimate and misunderstood, however the reward of a real meaningful relationship is worth a potential heartache.   And occasionally you may have to swallow your pride, and say something!

Branding & Marketing Moments: Do You Have A Nose For SPIN ?

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A good-looking brand identity supported with a brand story that does not ring true is not a guaranty for successfully marketing luxury real estate or any other real estate niche. A brand story needs to be congruent with the product, the marketplace, and the psychographics of the buyers and sellers.  Taking control of how you want to be perceived as a real estate marketing professional is known as SPIN in marketing.  Otherwise, it is what we would refer to as Swiss Cheese Marketing! You can see smell it and see through it!

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SPIN is an acronym for the following words: Sstands for situation (collect facts: noisy street, freeway nearby), P,stands for problem (identifying the problem-old home, desire for smaller home),I, stands for implication (higher costs of maintenance in an old home), and N,stands for need payoff/buying motive (value, importance or usefulness).  These are considered the 4 top sales/marketing questions that need to be answered to entice a prospect into buying a home.  These answers differ in each marketplace and solely depends on the psychographics of that marketplace—the attitude, aspirations and interests of those who live there. 

SPIN has a negative association also.  It is often used as a cover up for mistakes made by public figures and celebrities. An unflattering synonym for SPIN is propaganda, or what some would call a creative or deceptive use of facts in order to reflect favorably in a new venture or on a negative situation.  It can also imply that the person doing the spinning has not done their research in order to contain the effect.  

In a recent discussion (re: California problems) one of the attorneys in the group blamed the agricultural states for the problems we are having today.  It was obvious that this person (although a California native) did not know that California is largest producers of food in the United States, and the 5thlargest producer in the world.  It is also the number one dairy state, the first largest producer of wine in the US, and the fourth largest wine producer in the world.

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Pictured above is wine brand, which we both liked in terms of color and graphics.  We thought that it was very creative in its choice of color and presentation. Our wine expert friend called it a mistake! He cautioned us not to buy it, and not even to use as a marinade.  And that explains the bargain price from $14.99 to $2.99.  

In 2015, Motto Wine launched its brand of wine.   They hired winemaker, Reid Klei, who was the winemaker for Ste Michelle Wines Estates in Washington State for 10 years.  Here is his spin:

"We wanted to put a Washington spin on California wines, so we implemented the same approach we use for our Washington wines, but with California grapes," said Motto winemaker Reid Klei.  Our Story:  Our winemakers didn’t set out to push boundaries.  But they did.  They didn’t mean to ruffle any feathers.  But they did. So, they decided to embrace it and make it their motto, learn the rules so you can break them with style.  The result? Rich dark wine like none you have had before.”

Here is their introductory video that reinforces their brand story! 

Make sure that you are presenting yourself with a genuine SPIN, and not one that someone can smell or can see through, like a piece of Swiss cheese.!




The Importance of Commenting—"We Read to Know That We Are Not Alone”

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“We read to know that we are not alone” is a line from Shadowlands, a play by British writer William Nicholson, which was also made into a film. We would add that “we write to know that we are not alone.”

 

Why read a blog post you like, if you are not going to comment?  When you comment, you leave an impression for all to see which includes the writer, those who subscribe to the blog, and the public at large. Commenting is a way to engage in conversation with the author.  It is letting them know that they are not alone!

 

That conversation can lead to a discussion.  Discussions can often generate a new understanding for both the author and the commenter.  It can lead to a friendship.  The ones who read the comments also benefit from additional information that may in turn spark a desire to join the conversation.  Good conversations and discussions lead to intellectual satisfaction.  A post may inspire someone to write a related post.

 

Commenting is also a way to acknowledge and appreciate the writer’s time and effort in writing a post. The writer of the post has just given you a gift. It resonated with you. Just liking it is not enough.  It leaves the author wondering, what did you like? The least you can do say is “thank you.” Thank you, for that book recommendation, thank you for the information on this subject, thank you for the beautiful picture that made me smile. Here is a picture that may make you smile.  Or you may have a suggestion, here is a book I liked and would recommend you read, etc. 

 

Commenting is a feedback to the author, on the post and on the commenter. The author may choose to comment back if a question is asked. The author may be sparked by the comment into a further discussion.  And as the blog post catches the public’s eye, they learn so much about the author and the commenters. 

 

Do not forget, we read to know that we are not alone, and we write to know that we are not alone.  We are all in this together!

Omni Channel Marketing: Are Your Listings Visible In The Right Places?

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Omni Channel Marketing is often mistaken as plastering whatever you are selling in every visible corner of the world, print, billboards, online, public relations releases, etc..  without consideration of the optimal target market. However, Omni Channel marketing means being seen in the right place by the right people, in other words those who are going to buy or sell.

Pictured above is Disney's Omni Channel marketing for their latest movie release, Mary Poppins.  We saw this display yesterday  of three magazines featuring the movie with an interesting story at Barnes and Noble.  Disney did their homework.  

They know their target markets still subscribe to magazines and newspapers, like billboards, and some get their news on line.  This movie is geared to all who have relationships with children, whether they are parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  

They also wisely cast Dick Van Dyke who starred in the original film, And then there are Academy Award Winners Angela Lansburry, Meryl Streep and Colin Firth are part of the cast. This cast is an additional draw to movie goers.

We have seen many luxury real estate or other real estate marketing professionals claim that they will market a listing everywhere.  They usually have a beautiful list replete with colorful logos of all the places they market as part of their listing presentation. You name it, they send their listings to exotic locations.  They leave no stone unturned, even if the stone yields nothing. Marketing everywhere is a colossal waste of money.  

Marketing done right is being visible in the right places at the right time.  It is about spending where it will do the most good to bring the maximum attention to your listings.  It is about researching where the potential buyers for your listings are.  It is knowing your feeder markets by constantly staying aware of this.

For example, Santa Barbara has several feeder markets,  Los Angeles, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Seattle to name a few, which is why many agents here concentrate on promoting their listings in those areas.  Those who succeed stay aware of changes. The feeder market 3 years ago may not exist today, as times change.  

Omni Channel marketing requires awareness and research that you may or may not find on line or from reading magazines.  Marketing changes and adapts to circumstances as they evolve in each city, village or second home markets.  What will remain a marketing pillar is knowing your target market and marketing directly to them... 

Are Your Listings Visible In The Right Places?

Branding Moment: Unforgettable Marketing, With Just A Few Words!

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One of the aspects of good branding is marketing the product or the service in such a way that it is unforgettable. This ad from the October Architectural Digest exemplifies this concept.  What you are seeing in this photo is trim that is used as a finishing detail on upholstery, pillows, bedspreads and drapery.  This also includes tassels.

We appreciated the trim pictured above transformed to look like desserts complete with smaller trim to look like cherries and raspberries on top. It was also presented on marble and placed in gold trimmed china.  Very little text was needed to get the message across: just the credit to the designer, Timothy Corrigan--An Elegant Indulgence For The Home, and the brand statement, Samuel & Sons Is Trim, with the URL.

Although, we are not in the market for trim, we took a look at the website and enjoyed seeing the variety of trim available.  If someone were to ask us for trim, we would know who to recommend, based on the elegance and creativity of this ad!

Branding Moments: Taboo Marketing!

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We noticed this point of sale display while shopping at the Santa Barbara Nordstrom's recently.  We watched shoppers go by, look, shake their heads and move on.  Others laughed at the double meaning, and moved on. 

Taboo marketing can definitely bring a brand into focus by those they are hoping to attract.  It creates an instant effect!  It will no doubt attract some to buy!  

We have seen taboo styled real estate videos and other ads.  The only message it may send to the sellers of these properties is that their agents will go to any length to bring attention to their listings...

What is your take on this?

Branding Moments: Finding The Perfect Brand Colors-A Case Study

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Many have asked how we come up with brand colors for our real estate clients and the companies we work with.We have a three part process.  The first is to give our client a comprehensive color test defining their favorite colors, the mood they want to convey, and the style of their practice.  The second involves the colors of their marketplace and the lifestyle.   And lastly, we combine all three into the brand.

Here is the case study.  Pictured above is the bark of a eucalyptus tree.  Note the myriad of colors and shades on the bark.  Since the target market lived among eucalyptus trees, this became our inspiration for color.

Our client's color preference were in the pastel family accented with a bright color.  Her market was a high end community with stately traditional homes.  The residents even named their eucalyptus trees.  Pictured above is the bark of a eucalyptus tree.

Together we selected the colors of the brand, and used a touch of orange (you can see it on the left lower side of the picture) and used it sparingly as an accent to the slate grey blue which became the main color.  This also is the color of the leaves on eucalyptus trees.

It was a perfect marriage of colors.  Every aspect of the luxury real estate marketplace was represented: our client, the market place and the lifestyle.

Wishing you a great weekend!

Branding Moment: Brand analysis (No Couch Needed)!

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If you are going to come up with a brand for your real estate marketing business, be sure that: 1.)It attracts your target market, 2.) It has a genuine differentiator like a niche or a specialty, 3) a good story behind it.

Ron and I happen to be a perfect target for the bottle of olive oil pictured above.  We often buy special olive oil for ourselves and for our "foodie" friends as gifts for birthdays, Christmas or Hanukkah.  We liked the bottle and the color of the label, however, we did not buy it.  Here is our reasoning.

The name "Bare" meant nothing to us.  Seeing that the olive oil originates from Portugal. I looked up the translation of "bare" from Portuguese to English.  What came up is "barge."The word "bare" is used as part of many URL's.

In English, the word "bare" is not one we would choose for a luxury product.   Wanting to be fair-minded, I found their beautiful website.  What the company means by "bare" is nothing added just the olives are in the bottle.  It mentioned their wonderful aged trees and the care they put into maintaining the quality.  This idea is no different for any fine olive oil.  One presses the olives and puts the oil in a bottle.

The words "gluten free" also made no sense to me.  Olives have no gluten, and olive presses are made solely to press olives.When we lived in Northern California's wine country, we visited the Community Olive Pressin Sonoma County that presses olive oil for wine country residents at .75 cents per pound.   No gluten ever touched that press, which was the insinuation that the site made, when it came to differentiate themselves from the olive oil competition.  

It took us all of 5 seconds to decide not to buy this brand. It did not resonate with our standards. For the same price, we can purchase a bottle of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil from one the finest Olive oil producers in Italy.

Use this as a basic guideline to take a moment and analyze why a service or a product appeals to you or does not.  It will help you understand the power of branding, and the importance of getting it right!  

You want your target market to say: “Yes, I want to list my home with this you! 

What Is in Your Half Empty or Half Full Glass: Nectar or Poison?

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We have always answered the age-old question: Is the glass half full or half empty, and we say: it depends on what is in the glass.  Is it Nectar or is it Poison? We love maintaining a positive mindset— drinking nectar.

The most successful luxury real estate and other real estate niche marketing professionals have developed a genuine positive mindset. As a result, they attract more clients (sellers and buyers).  One of the ladies we worked with a young 78- year-old was thriving during the worst of the recession unlike some of the other agents in her market.  She knew without a doubt that there is always an abundance of business regardless of the economy and its fluctuations. Another one of our clients had one of her highest all-time years during the same time period.  Neither one focused on short sales, they just repeated their well-honed formula consistently.

We both grin with great delight and take it as a compliment, when s­­­­­omeone critiques us as being “too” positive or unrealistic when it comes to our approach to life and people in general. Some will tell us that we are ignoring the world’s tragedies and proceed to enumerate them.  On the contrary, we are aware of them, we just do not choose to dwell on them, and we take comfort in the fact that there are many wonderful people working on these issues, which are outside of our sphere of influence.  

We steadfastly have maintained an optimistic approach going in the worst of times.  We even give ourselves permission to moan and groan for all of 5 minutes.  We know that we can choose, how we decide to approach or feel about any problematic or disastrous situation.  We can dwell and rue about it and engender sympathy, or we can find the positive aspect and find a way to make it work.  This mindset has given us strength and inspiration in the best of times and in the worst of times.

Two weeks ago, in our Qigong *(defined below) class our teacher demonstrated the power of the positive mindset.   Using a simple muscle strength test, he used to measure one of the participant’s strength.  Now, he had us (50 students) say aloud, to this man, that he has many problems. Afterwards, our teacher went over to him and checked his muscle strength. It had markedly diminished.  Then he had the audience say, he is a wonderful problem solver!  The muscle strength test improved beyond the initial measurement.   

The second part of this demonstration was to ask several members of the group to stand next to the man.  They too had their muscle strength assessed.  We all repeated the negative mantra.  What was revealing is that the onlookers also lost muscle strength in the process.  The action of sympathizing with his dilemma created a weakening of their strength as well as he weakening of strength of the audience.  We all repeated the positive mantra and everyone’s strength was improved.

Wishing someone harm, bitching and moaning, dwelling on negative aspects of the real estate profession, the government, the leadership, your city, your family, your clients, and so on and so forth reduces your problem-solving capacity and inspiration. It impacts your health, your relationships, and your effectiveness in business. It is a bona-fide form of self-destruction.  This quote illustrates this, “resentment is like swallowing poison and expecting the other person to die.”

Ultimately, it is your choice!  What is in your glass nectar or poison?!

Qigong (pronounced "chee-gung," also spelled chi kung) is translated from the Chinese to mean "energy cultivation" or "working with the life energy." Qigong is an ancient Chinese system of postures, exercises, breathing techniques, and meditations. Its techniques are designed to improve and enhance the body's qi or( chi) . 

“In China, qigong is used n conjunction with other medical therapies for many chronic conditions, including allergies, AIDS, ,cancer, headaches, depression, mental illness ,strokes, heart disease, hypertension, asthma and obesity.”*,