Viewing entries tagged
Luxury Marketing

Luxury Brand Strategy: Is Privacy the New Luxury Expenditure?

This question was posed at the e-luxe conference in Paris.  What many of us don’t realize is that every time we interact in a digital environment such as: TV, mobile phone, the World Wide Web, and social media, we create a digital footprint (some have dubbed it a digital tattoo). Wikipedia defines it as “the size of a person’s ‘online presence’ measured by the number of individuals with whom they interact.”

When social media came on the scene, many rushed to make and interact with as many friends as possible without discriminating as to whom they were associating with.  The theory was: it is free, and perhaps something will come of it, the more, the merrier!  Fast forward to 2013, we are all realizing, that we may have given too much information in return for “free”.

In an article written by Jeffrey Lambert, titled, How to Erase Your Digital Footprint,

Mr. Lambert says, “Like stepping in wet concrete, these trails we unwittingly leave behind can be tough to erase. With the rise of identity theft, corporate tracking, and the ability of “Big Brother” to access our private data, it is more important than ever for Internet users to be aware of how past and future data can be erased and controlled more effectively.”

One of the recommendations he gives to understanding your digital footprints are several tools, when added to your computer will monitor what Google gathers in terms of data to allow them to search and target advertising. 

“Download the free software offering Google Alarm, created by F.A.T. Labs, which is available for both Firefox and Chrome browsers. This add-on will notify you each time you are sending data to Google. Just make sure you disable the sound option for this. I jumped out of my chair the first time the (very loud) alarm went off, and kept going off almost every time I visited a new site.  Unless you have a serious love for air horns or are trying to induce a heart attack don’t forget to do this!”

Go ahead and read this article for additional suggestions for monitoring your privacy.  In the end the most expedient and time saving procedure may be paying someone to switching your concrete prints for some cloud light slippers.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

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Luxury Brand Strategy: No More Naked Popcorn

“Small Indulgences” is an important product and service area of luxury brand strategy and marketing.  It does not mean that the item has to cost a lot. The cosmetic industry thrives on this principle of small indulgences. Starbucks built a global empire on it. 

Not long ago, a college student from Chicago made it big by identifying an uncontested small indulgence market niche. He dominates a product category that he himself defined and is passionate about. Meet Brian Taylor, CEO of Kernel Season’s the popcorn seasoning company.  

Brian has a mission:  To rid the world of naked popcorn.  He started out by getting a local movie theatre to test-market his products for free.  This grew into a multi million-dollar business based on Brian’s love for popcorn and his curiosity about seasoning it. Now you can find Kernel Season’s (cleverly similarity to Colonel Sanders of KFC chicken fame) in the popcorn isle of most supermarkets. 

The brand name itself tells you what the brand is. It even has an avatar like the Colonel.  The slogan, “No More Naked Popcorn”, tells you, in just four words, exactly what the brand stands for.  

There is no mistaking what this new product category is or in which larger category this niche belongs. It is also intuitive where you would find the products in your local market-right next to the popcorn. 

Type in the search term, “popcorn seasoning”, in Google and this brand will come up first. But, not because of brilliant SEO work. There just is not much competition in this field.  That is the beauty of identifying an underserved or uncontested market niche as a luxury brand strategy.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Impeccability--Are You Up to the Challenge?

CrayeresBack2.png

A touchstone is a benchmark or a mental yardstick that one uses to see if things or experiences measure up to this standard. Dining at Les Crayères, in the Champagne region of France is one of our touchstones for excellence in fine dining in a majestic setting with impeccable service. 

We first heard about Les Crayères just one year after it opened in the 80’s, and stayed in one of the 20 rooms at this fully restored classic French Château for a weekend we have never forgotten.  On our recent trip to Paris we returned to Les Crayères to celebrate Alexandra’s birthday, just for lunch. The trip took under one hour from Paris via the amazing TGV train traveling at about 250 miles per hour. 

When we arrived we were graciously greeted and escorted to the outdoor patio that overlooks a spectacular park with acres of lawn. We were served some delightful tidbits to amuse our taste buds and to accompany a wonderful glass of Bollinger Rose Champagne from the region.

DiningRoom.jpg

Then we were called indoors to the dining room to indulge in a French gastronomic extravaganza that exceeded our extremely high expectations and our memory from of our first experience there.  

The meal was sublime and the service was, once again, impeccable.  What we appreciated the most was the level of consistency that has been maintained over time by this fine establishment.  It was as if time had not elapsed between visits. And, that was remarkable!

CrayereSkyView.png

As a purveyor of luxury goods or a provider of luxury services impeccability is a standard worthy of striving for in your business or profession.   To embody this standard requires a commitment to excellence over time. Are you up to the challenge? 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

 

Luxury Marketing Tip: NO MONEY, NO HONEY! What if We Had Baidu?

flylosky baidu.jpg

Photo by flylosky

When we attended the Club eLuxe International Summit in Paris, we learned about the Baidu business model.  Baidu,Inc (pronounced By- doo in English) is the Chinese equivalent of Google whose user interface is very similar to Google. The name “Baidu”, according to the company, was inspired by a poem that was written during the Song Dynasty, 800 years ago.  The literal meaning of Baidu is “hundreds of times represents persistent search for the ideal.”

Baidu ranks as one of the top 10 sites in the world according to Alexa.com, with a 98% share of the Chinese market.  In December of 2007, it became the first Chinese company to be included in the NASDAQ-100 Index.  

Just today, Bloomberg said the company has struck a deal “for $1.9 billion to acquire the majority stake in China’s most popular third-party store for smartphone apps. This move mimics Google Inc. when they backed the Android operating system and started its own app store to gain share against Apple Inc.”

Their business model is very simple:  “No Money, No Honey!” There is no search engine optimization with Baidu, no convoluted algorithms, no “natural”, or “organic” search engine or social media contortions to gain a higher ranking. Baidu generates revenue from its pay for placement platform (P4P). The P4P platform is an online marketplace that introduces Internet search users to those businesses who bid the most money for top placement with defined keywords.

From our perspective a Baidu business model could be a colossal time saver.  Many would be writing blogs for enjoyment, instead of writing posts for search engine robots and artificial results. Social media as we know it today would be social and not another means of high ranking on Google.   

Perhaps, there are many people who do not realize that time is money. The belief is that it is “free” to write unoriginal, keyword-laden blog posts, and “free” to keep up with Google’s ever-changing algorithms, an exhausting pursuit. Also, one would not need to be present and accounted for on every social media platform.

How much is your time worth?  That is the real question. Would it be easier and ultimately less expensive to just pay to be #1 on Google, free up more quality time for yourself, your friends and your family where the real honey is?  What do you think?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Is There a Niche for YOU?

luxury marketing, luxury real estate marketing

Whenever we write or talk about finding an uncontested luxury real estate marketing niche in which to excel and dominate, the response often is, “this is so hard to do, or all niches have already been taken”.  Here is an example of something we discovered yesterday.

Brix Chocolate for Wine was invented by pulmonologist (lung specialist), Dr. Proia, from Ohio who felt that ordinary chocolate did not pair well with wine.  So he researched chocolate and found that a chocolate grown in Ghana was perfect when blended with confectioner’s chocolate.  A niche in the chocolate business was born. 

The word “brix” used as the brand comes from a term used in the winemaking industry. It means to measure the percentage of sugar in the grape, which determines when the grapes should be picked.   In winemaking 55-60% of sugar becomes alcohol.  The ideal brix is 20 to 25, which results in a wine with about 11% alcohol.

Brix makes 4 types of chocolate. Each has recommendations for wine pairing.  For instance, extra dark (70% cacao) pairs well with Cabernet Sauvignon, Bordeaux, Barolo and Malbec.  If you are not a wine lover, you can pair it with Brandy, Cognac, or Armagnac.

The difficulty that many luxury real estate marketing professionals have in identifying an uncontested market niche is thinking outside of the box.  These niches are just not obvious.  If they were, they would already be taken by the competition.  That is where a strategic branding expert becomes invaluable. 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Co-Marketing Art Deco Style!

Chrysler building in New York, photo by kts

Co-marketing is a great way to create a buzz about your luxury real estate marketing practice and expand your sphere of influence.   The key is to find the right non-competitive partners who share the same target market as you.

Tiffany’s has a strong tradition of co-marketing with the movie industry.  The classic film, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, certainly created a buzz about the jeweler when it opened in 1961.  The hit song Moon River gave the terrific press about movie (and Tiffany’s) “legs”, meaning that it continued to stay “top-of-mind” for years.  Because the movie became a classic it is still viewed by generations of fans via Netflix and other online distribution channels. 

Tiffany also co-marketed with the movie, Sweet Home Alabama to reach new generations with their primary marketing message, “buy your engagement ring at Tiffany’s”.  Now they are co-marketing with the newest version of the Great Gatsby opening in May 2013. 

To create a buzz for the movie and the company, Tiffany’s reproduced some if its art deco jewelry worn by actors in the film.  You can actually purchase these pieces on their website.  They also have temporarily transformed the look of their store in New York by adding art deco applique to the exterior of the building and by designing Great Gatsby window displays.

The Great Gatsby story took place in the “Jazz Age” when the art deco style flourished.  As a luxury real estate marketing professional, this is one of the architectural styles that would well be worth studying.   The iconic Chrysler Building in New York is still a monument to that era.  Let the Great Gatsby and Tiffany’s co-marketing venture inspire you seek your own co-marketing partners.

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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance - Part 4

Ferrari Enzo - Italy -- Photo by Naiyyer

LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION!

Provenance refers to a chain of ownership, a lineage, a pedigree, roots, or ancestry, i.e., where people, plants animals and things come from. Provenance can add a real or perceived value to what you are buying. In luxury real estate a home once owned by a celebrity or a home designed by a well-known architect or interior designer, can definitely command a premium price. The location, where something is sourced, is also an important component of provenance. 

To understand the added value of location, consider Chateau D’ Yquem from France.  It is known for being the finest sauterne wine in the world, often served with foie gras or as a desert wine. A wine connoisseur can distinguish the difference between their grapes, grown on only 457 acres, from the same Semillion grapes grown in the adjacent property. The terroir (the earth where the grapes are grown) and the microclimate make all the difference. 

The added value of location can be real or perceived. When you think of lobster, Maine lobster has an added value. Pacific (spiny) lobster is less expensive (but equally delicious in our opinion).  Vermont cheddar cheese and maple syrup usually commands a premium price. As a trend, farm to table dining provides an added value for those who appreciate supporting local produce growers. Pelligrino from Italy and Perrier from France have become two successful sparkling water brands in the USA. 

Many luxury brands use the location where their products are sourced to give their brands provenance. Here are some examples: Oxford (Men’s clothing-Chicago), Benefit Cosmetics (San Francisco), Loeb Shoes (London), DKNY (Donna Karan - New York), Ferrari (Italy) and Yves St. Laurent (Paris). 

Authenticating, the chain of ownership in purchasing a valuable piece of art or an antique or the lineage of a thoroughbred horse, or the terroir of a fine wine is a key component of the buying process. Because provenance can add value, real or perceived, it is mostly appreciated or required by those who can afford to pay the premium.  And, that is why it is such an important topic to understand as a luxury real estate marketing professional. 

But, what happens when a luxury product from a world-class French heritage brand (See Part 3 for more background on heritage brands) is actually manufactured in China? Does that negate the added value of its provenance? 

It was this question that inspired us to write this article series, The Added Value of Provenance, and also our previous series, Luxury is a Soul Supplement, where we explored an entirely new definition of luxury.  Stay tuned for Part 5 where we answer this question and tie the two series together.

View the Entire Series: The Added Value of Provenance

Part 1 l  Part 2  l  Part 3 l  Part 4  l  Part 5  l  Part 6  l Part 7

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Luxury is a Soul Supplement - Part 2

Part 2:  THE TWO MINDSETS OF LUXURY CONSUMERS

In Part 1 of this series, we shared an inspired definition of luxury, "Supplement of the Soul". This prompted us to do some soul searching for this article series and define a universal principle that, if applied objectively, can give you a tremendous competitive edge as a luxury real estate marketing professional. 

Here it is: If you really understand what feeds the soul of your clients you can better help them get what they want. And, they in turn will help you get what you want—more referrals! 

But, here is the catch. You must suspend your own judgments about what feeds their soul. And, that does take some soul searching on your part.   

If you secretly harbor judgments about your clients, sooner or later, they will feel it and that will definitely inhibit referrals. Being non-judgmental about what feeds their soul accelerates the speed of trust, which IS the accelerator of referrals. Once you get your own judgments out of the way you will find that you can work with a greater variety luxury real estate clients. And, that means more business. 

There are two universal mindsets of luxury consumers.  This does not mean that your clients are totally in one mindset or the other. It means that one is their dominant mindset. Luxury consumers are either predominately “self-actualizing consumers” or they are predominately “status seeking consumers”. The key is to accept that one mindset is not better than the other, no matter how you were raised or what you personally believe is right for you. 

Stay objective and non-judgmental. Watch for the clues your clients give you about their dominant mindset.  Then go about helping them get what they want, what feeds their soul. 

Watch for Part 3 of Soul Supplement!

View the Entire Series:

Part 1  l  Part 2  l  Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

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Luxury Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Be Ultra Thoughtful

As a luxury real estate  marketing professional being "ultra" thoughtfull is a great differentiatior! Tomorrow is Valentine's Day, and bringing someone an unexpected chocolate treat will make them remember you for a long time.

When Ron and I were working in commercial real estate in Beverly Hills,Beverly Hills adjacent, and the West Side of Los Angeles, we would pick up little treats for our meetings on Valentine's Day.  Tuescher-Chocolate of Switzerland in Beverly Hills was always one of our choices.  They make champagne truffles that will leave anyone speechless.  

We took this shot of Tuescher's Valentine's Day window, yesterday in Beverly Hills.  Valentine's day is a perfect day for giving someone an unexpected treat.  It is one way of being ultra thoughtful.  What will you do tomorrow?

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Life is What You Make of It

Photo by Petifrere

One of the great poets/songwriters of our time is Paul Simon.  His genius is getting under your skin with words that appear to be non-sequitur (out of context).  But somehow, the meaning comes through and moves you, profoundly. 

This New Year’s Eve, when many are making resolutions, the lyrics of one of his most recent great songs, So Beautiful or So What (April 8, 2011) inspired us. He felt it was his best work 20 years. And, we wanted to share it with you.  We believe deeply that life is truly what you make of it. 

Here is the video of his performance of the song.  See lyrics below.  This is not an official video but you can hear the song on You Tube Here

So Beautiful or So What (Music and Lyrics by Paul Simon)

I'm gonna make a chicken gumbo

Toss some sausage in the pot

I'm gonna flavor it with okra

CAYENNE pepper to make it hot

You know life is what we make of it

So beautiful or so what

I'm gonna tell my kids a bedtime story

A play without a plot

Will it have a happy ending?

Maybe yeah, Maybe not

I tell them life is what you make of it

So beautiful or so what

So beautiful, so beautiful

So what

 

I'm just a raindrop in a bucket

A coin DROPPED in a slot

I am an empty house on Weed Street

Across the road from a vacant lot

You know life is what you make of it

So beautiful or so what

 

Aint it strange the way we're ignorant

How we seek out bad advice

How we jigger it and figure it

Mistaking value for the price

And play a game with time and Love

Like a pair of rolling dice

So beautiful, so beautiful

So what

 

Four men on the balcony

Overlooking the parking lot

Pointing at a figure in the distance

Dr. King has just been shot

And the sirens long melody

Singing savior pass me not

Aint it strange the way we're ignorant

How we seek out bad advice

How we jigger it and figure it

Mistaking value for the price

And play a game with time and love

Like a pair of rolling dice

So beautiful, so beautiful

So what!

Wishing everyone a happy and prosperous 2013, Cheers, Ron & Alexandra

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Quest for the Best!

On August 20,2008, we wrote about the best in class of taquerias in Santa Barbara.  It is still one of our favorite places here.  Friday, we were there for lunch and marveled that each time we go, it is as good as we remembered from the last time we were there.  This restaurant has existed since the early 80's and each time we leave there is a line forming out of the door, and it continues to form down the block daily.  

We used this example as being the best in class in their niche and consistently getting the best results and the best word of mouth referral.  When tourists are in town, we make sure we get there just before they open at 11:00 AM, and get in line with the other smart locals...

La Superica is the best in its class, the best Mexican food in town at any price. The Robb Report, known as “the Global Luxury Source”, listed La Surperica as one of the top 100 restaurants in the world. We call this practical luxury. It’s not about the money. It’s about the quest for the best!

Wishing you all the best in 2013, Cheers, Ron & Alexandra

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Try Basecamp for Listing and Marketing Coordination

Sometimes you need to go outside of the real estate industry to find the best (and simplest) systems for luxury real estate marketing coordination and listing coordination.   We highly recommend Basecamp, a cloud-based project management software-as-a-service. 

Basecamp lets you create a custom template with To Do lists in your own words.  Save the template and use it for all of your listings (you can always make modifications for specific listings).  Each listing becomes a project. Because it is web-based your entire team (e.g., your assistant, your photographer, co-listing agents, etc.) can all have access to it from anywhere. 

Documents and photos can easily be uploaded to any To Do item (or the project in general) and shared. To Do’s can be assigned and added to a calendar which all can view. Emails are sent to the person assigned to the task with a link back to the specific To Do for that specific listing in Basecamp. 

Task specific discussions for any given listing/project are all in one place.  You do not have to search through your email inbox to find related items that may not be identified in the email subject line. 

Nothing gets lost!  If someone accidentally deletes something, you the owner, can easily retrieve it.  

We thought we lost a detailed description of a new marketing project in our own strategic branding and marketing consulting practice. We worked for almost two hours on this.  It was after hours on Christmas Eve.  We wrote to tech support not expecting to hear back until December 26th.  But, on Christmas morning there was our answer. We retrieved it instantly.  WOW!

Customer service and tech support at Basecamp is superlative!  That is so important given the need for speedy response on something that is at the core of your luxury real estate marketing practice: Listings and marketing! 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Fight or Take Flight?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is essential that you understand that luxury is a relative term.  The word has been strongly associated with the lifestyles of the rich and famous and primarily with conspicuous consumption and being ostentatious.  But, there is so much more to the meaning of luxury than glitz and glamour.

Perhaps you saw the recent 60 Minutes TV show that featured two extreme stories about luxury.  One story was about a Korean prison camp escapee whose concept of luxury was eating boiled chicken because he was only fed cabbage and gruel his entire life.  Certainly, we have heard of extreme poverty in underdeveloped countries.  But, never have we heard of three generations of prisoners who were being punished for the political crimes of their forefathers. 

The other story was about a psychiatrist who realized a dream of creating the first airplane powered solely with solar energy, one that could fly at night using the stored solar power from the previous day. To this visionary, luxury was the satisfaction of achieving his individual potential. 

It is utterly amazing to conceive that such extremes can co-exist in modern times.  But, such is the current state of human nature.  How is it possible that one man can fight so fiercely just for the right to find nourishment, while another man can let his imagination take flight, beating all odds to make the impossible, possible? 

Abraham Maslow was best known for creating the hierarchy of human needs. He addressed these extremes when we expounded upon the spectrum between the need for physical health and safety through the need to belong, the need for self-esteem (and the esteem of other) and the need for self-realization.   

The upper tiers of this hierarchy is where you find most luxury real estate buyers.  Yet, throughout each tier is the yearning of the human spirit to take flight, to rise above it all, physically, mentally and emotionally. The rewards of satisfying one’s needs, each step of the way, is what true luxury is all about.  

Take the time to genuinely understand the needs of your clients. Understand what luxury means to them. This will serve you well and will enable you to serve your clients better than ever.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: One Way to Stay on Top of Your Game

 

One of the ways to stay on top of your game when it comes to marketing luxury real estate is watching HGTV when they feature extraordinary homes and million dollar rooms. It will help you expand your “vocabulary” in the Language of Luxury.  

For example, in a recent episode of Extreme Homes, an absolutely stunning custom designed, multilevel home was featured that was built on a cliff overlooking the Southern California coastline.  The homeowners are truly passionate not only about fine architectural design but also automotive design. In fact, when they drive one of their cars into the garage (on the upper level) the floor of the garage can descend into the lower level of the home where the car can be showcased like a work of art.  (See the photos above).

Understanding what your clients are passionate about can help you find them the home of their dreams.  It can also give you a competitive edge in a listing presentation when you can connect with homeowners on their level.

The more you are familiar with the many facets of the luxury realm the more you will have in common with your ideal clients.  The faster you can build rapport the faster you can build trust.  This also translates into the acceleration of referrals. And, that is a great way to stay on top of your game.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Trends: My Kitchen has Bedrooms

As a luxury real estate marketing professional you understand the importance of an outstanding kitchen design when it comes to marketing luxury homes. You would be the first to advise your seller to remodel or upgrade the kitchen in order to get maximum value for their home.

An interesting trend has emerged in building or remodeling high-end homes.  According to the National Association of Home builders, the average square footage of kitchens has increased by about 50% in the last 30 years (from 303 to about 450 square feet on average). In the fourth quarter of 2011 the American Institute of Architects Home Design Trends Survey also noted that the size of the kitchen’s footprint in a home was growing.

Joanne Hudson, a Philadelphia based kitchen designer, says: “This trend is partly driven by a shift toward a more casual lifestyle, where people often want to prepare food with company either watching or helping them cook the meal. More people are cooking at home for health reasons—as well as wanting to show off the latest in increasingly pricey commercial-grade home cooking appliances.”

Toll Brothers has added an option for a 440 square foot kitchen in their model homes. Other builders, such as KB homes and The New Home Company have remarked that kitchen sizes, on average, account for about 15% of its homes' total floor plans in a typical 4,800-square-foot model. This is up from 10% of a similar home's plan seven years ago.

What comprises a supersized kitchen?  These kitchens now include a great room, a family room and are often connected to an outdoor kitchen. It is as if the kitchen has bedrooms and that make it a home.

How much does a supersized kitchen cost? Investing in a major kitchen remodel in an upscale home costs $111,000, on average. 57.4% of the costs typically are recouped in a resale, according the most recent annual Remodeling magazine report.

An extreme kitchen home in Beverly Hills is currently in escrow with an asking price of $58 million.  The home has a 5,000-square-foot kitchen with seating and dining areas, a glass walk in refrigerator and freezer as well as a butler’s pantry.  The entire room opens on to a beautifully manicured formal garden.

Become knowledgeable not only about kitchen design but also about top-of-the line appliances.  That way you can advise your clients about the potential value they can add to a home either as a buyer or a seller. Your expertise in this arena will also add value to the service you provide and enable you to run circles around your competition. 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Pick Your Niche Wisely!

 

Courtesy of Microsoft

Identifying an undeserved or uncontested market niche, then dominating that category is the fastest route to market leadership in the field of luxury real estate marketing or any field of business for that matter.  To be successful in your chosen category, however, it must be a category that you or your company, can serve better than anyone else.

When Steve Jobs first introduced the iPad he presented perhaps the best demonstration in the digital age of this fundamental principle of brand strategy.  On the screen behind him was an image of the iPhone and a MacBook laptop, with a space between them.  He posed this very important question:  “Is there room for a third category of device in the middle?

In this article we are going to use Steve’s logic to analyze whether there is room for yet another category in the middle between a smartphone and a laptop. This is the question to which Microsoft answered, “yes”, with their new Surface device.

According to Jobs, to qualify as a legitimate third category the iPad would have to do some things far better than either of the other two devices.  For example, browsing the Internet, or using the device for email, photos, video, games and eBooks would have to be a far better experience than doing the same thing with a smartphone or laptop.  

At the time netbooks were selling like hotcakes.  But, Steve summarily dismissed the netbook as a “cheap laptop” not a new category.  With over 100,000,000 iPads sold to date consumers have confirmed the need for this distinct third category. 

When you are on the lookout for a luxury real estate category to dominate keep this netbook example in mind:  You need to define a niche that is clearly distinct from other categories, a niche to which you or your company can add extraordinary value. 

Microsoft’s Surface is their first foray into the category of tablets and laptops. In fact it is a hybrid of the two categories.  A flat keyboard (which costs extra) can snap into the tablet, while the tablet is in standing mode, and turns the tablet into a laptop.  But, at the end of the day, doesn’t that turn their tablet into a netbook—another cheap laptop? 

No doubt Microsoft is following in Apple’s footsteps in attempting to control the entire user experience from hardware to software.  Surface runs on Windows 8, which is a completely overhauled version of their flagship product that now works with touch screens.  

Windows 8 may help Microsoft become a distant third major player in the tablet arena in the same way that #2 Google became a challenger to #1 Apple with their Android platform used by multiple manufacturers of tablets But, the Surface itself does not create a new product category because it does nothing far better than a laptop (that can also run Windows 8) or any other tablet on the market.  As such, it confuses consumers as to which devise category it belongs.  Is the Surface a tablet or a laptop? 

Select your luxury real estate marketing category wisely.   Pick an underserved or uncontested market niche that you can serve better than anyone else! 

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Luxury Real Estate Personal and Company Branding: Are You a Jack of All Trades?

Brand positioning is one of the most misunderstood concepts in marketing.  Yet, it is, by far, one of the most important concepts for you to understand as a luxury real estate marketing professional if your quest is market leadership.  

To accelerate word-of-mouth advertising, you need to make it clear to your target market exactly what category of services (or market niche) your brand stands for. The goal is to be the first brand name that comes to mind in your chosen category or niche.

Positioning your personal or company brand in the minds of your target market enables YOU to establish the brand category with which YOU want to be associated in their minds. If you do not make your brand position abundantly clear by staking a claim to a specific category, or if you try to be all things to all people, they will undoubtedly pigeonhole you in the wrong category.

We know a very talented real estate agent who dabbles in many categories including investments, single family homes, condos, REOs, fractionals, foreclosures, international, commercial, etc. She is a “jack of all trades” and not a master of one. To her credit, she makes a decent income by most standards.  But, she does not even come close to realizing her full potential as a market leader, which is easily within her reach if she were to focus on a single profitable category or market niche.

Companies spend millions of dollars each year trying to get their products’ brand names to come to your mind first when you think of their product categories.  Here is an example of brand positioning that illustrates the importance of “owning” a single category.

Did you ever hear the commercial about a couple arguing over the subject of mints? One says,  “Certs is a candy mint”. The other says, “Certs is a breath mint”. Then, the announcer says, “Stop! You are both right. Certs is the only mint that is two, two, two mints in one”.  Obviously, the company positioned their product in two categories.

Here is the challenge: If you personally wanted to buy a candy mint would you think of Certs first?  Or, if someone asked for a recommendation for candy mint would Certs come to your mind first? Ironically, this product does not contain even one drop of oil from a mint plant.

Later, they focused their ads on a single brand category (breath mints) with laser sharp communication. They magnified the pain of having bad breath and also the need for their product with a crystal clear value proposition in this brilliant slogan: “ If he kissed you once, will he kiss you again? Be certain with Certs!”

In marketing luxury real estate you already have narrowed your category in the overall real estate field.  Now, narrow your category further. Position yourself or your company as the expert in that niche!  Become the big fish in a smaller pond, provided that the category has the potential to generate the income you desire. Go for the lion’s share of a smaller category and “own” the category in the minds of your target market.  Only then can you capitalize on the amazing economic benefits of word-of-mouth advertising, because your brand comes to mind first in that category.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Big Reveal in Beverly Hills, Before & After

In April, we wrote a post illustrating how remodeling is creatively camouflaged  in  Beverly Hills.  We featured the Bulgari jewelry store who, in keeping with their brand identity, had designed a bright golden opulent camouflage while remodeling their store.  True to their identity, the store board was colorful and attention getting. We feel it is spot on its brand signal.  It is perfect for who they are!

And now, here is the big reveal.  They still have work to do.  The windows were being washed early this morning.  Paper is covering the front door and the windows.  No doubt they are working on the finishing touches.

Below is the side view on Brighton Way and Rodeo Drive, and these windows are paintings of the latest brooches they are selling.  We thought it was a beautiful store.  Here is the detail of what is creating the pattern behind the glass.

These are made from metal colored  platinum, silver, and gold.  The very center has a polished  line and there are hung on metal lines positioned to create a pattern. We feel the look is in keeping with their brand, elegant, innovative, and edgy.  What do you think?

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Personal & Company Branding: Strategic Partnerships- Pushing the "Skinny" Brand Envelope

As a luxury real estate marketing professional if you are thinking of co-marketing with another company, organization or individual be sure to pick partners that have the same demographics and psychographics (values, attitudes, interests and lifestyles).  Otherwise, you will dilute your marketing message, and also confound and confuse your target market.  Here is an example of how two well-known brands created a PR fiasco because they did not follow this important branding principle.

In an effort to attract foot traffic to its flagship store in on Madison Avenue, Barney’s, the luxury retail store, has partnered with Disney to promote high fashion.  There could not be a better example of a co-marketing mismatch both in the demographics and psychographics of their target market.

Disney morphed the bodies of their iconic female characters into size 0 models wearing designer clothes in their Electric Holiday Moving Art exhibit.   Minnie Mouse is now elongated like a runway model. (See pictures).  What were they thinking?

The skinny Minnie and other Disney characters such as Daisy Duck have infuriated some of the public.  Change.org is raising awareness to the negative effects of shrinking Minnie and Daisy. Here is what they shared:

According to sources cited on the non-profit National Association of Anorexia and Associated Eating Disorders website:

•47% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported wanting to lose weight because of magazine pictures.

• 69% of girls in 5th-12th grade reported that magazine pictures influenced their idea of a perfect body shape.

• 42% of 1st-3rd grade girls want to be thinner.

• 81% of 10 year olds are afraid of being fat.

Here is the statement released jointly by Barney’s and Disney:

 “They have deliberately ignored previously released information clearly stating this promotion is a three-minute ‘moving art’ video featuring traditional Minnie Mouse in a dreamlike sequence set in Paris where she briefly walks the runway as a model and then happily awakens as her normal self wearing the very same designer dress from the fashion show.”

To this, Change.org replied, “

Girls have enough pressure to be thin; now the beloved Disney mouse of their childhood has to add to the message that the only good body is a tall, size 0 body? Enough already. Let’s give girls a chance to celebrate the actual bodies they have instead hating them for not fitting into a Lanvin dress. Then maybe enough girls will get together and demand dresses that look good on their actual, non-digitally altered bodies and designers will just have to become talented enough to design a dress that looks good on them.”

What do you think about this? 

Avoid PR debacles like this at all costs. Be sure to pick your strategic partners wisely.  Make sure you are aiming for the same target market both from a demographic and psychographic standpoint. 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: The Luxury of Consistency

luxury real estate marketing

We just got off the phone with our SEO/SEM expert, and he mentioned that consistency and fresh relevant information is the key to maintaining a high ranking on Google.  That made us think of one of our favorite restaurants in Santa Barbara, which is Cielito in the La Arcada center.  Last Friday, after an arduous week, we decided to have dinner there.  They exemplify consistency and fresh relevant interesting food. 

The picture you see above is of their new appetizer, a crostini with avocado mousse topped with "uni"  aka Santa Barbara sea urchin, topped with microgreens and tobiko (fish roe) with a wasabi dressing. They change the menu to reflect the season's availability, and whatever is on the menu is brilliantly prepared.  We also tasted their chicken mole, and we both agreed it was the best mole we have eaten.  It had just the right hint of chocolate and spice.  We have been there for lunch and dinner, and we always walk out delighted and surprised at another new taste.  Of course, the service is superb, the wait staff works as team and they are all knowledgeable.

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, your web content/blogging has to be relevant, fresh and consistent, so that your readers will look forward to the next installment.

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