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Marketing Luxury Real Estate Marketing

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: How to Get Invited to the High-End Listing Presentation?

Throughout this article series we focus on an important question that is often asked of us by luxury real estate marketing professionals who want to challenge the incumbent market leaders in their marketplace:  

“Why am I not on the "A List" when others who are less competent, less communicative or less caring are being invited to listing presentations for prestigious properties?” 

Our answer is quite simple:  YOU GOTTA HAVE GLAM!  But, this requires a depth of understanding of the real meaning of glamour, its counterpart, “charisma” and also the ability to seize control of the way you are perceived by your target market. Glamour is the “secret sauce”, which is at the core of personal and company branding in luxury real estate marketing. 

Men, be sure not to dismiss the word glamour as being gender specific because there is so much more to the full concept of glamour than just the style or appearance of women.  The allure of an expensive sports car or the rugged lifestyle of the Marlborough Man or the accolades of a famous athletic hero, or the call to duty to serve your country at a time of war is also at the root of glamour. 

When we behold glamour, in its many forms, it offers the promise of a different or better self or lifestyle.  Most importantly, as it pertains to marketing luxury real estate, it influences our decisions about what we buy as a consumer or whom we hire to sell our most expensive assets. 

In Part 2 of this article series we will begin to answer the question about How to get the most coveted invitation in our industry, the invitation to the  High-End Listing Presentation?

Part 1   l   Part 2   l   Part 3

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Luxury of Putting Life Back into the World

What would you do if you won the lottery and the money took care of all your needs?  What would you do with the excess funds?  Would you leave a legacy for others to enjoy?

“The relation with the world that I want is to be putting life back into the world, rather than taking life out of it.”—W.S. Merwin

U.S.  Poet Laureate and two time Pulitzer winner, W.S.  Merwin decided to grow a forest of palm trees on 19 acres of officially designated wasteland on the north shore Maui, Hawaii. He has gathered palm seeds from various botanical gardens worldwide. 

The forest has been grown sustainably with recycled water, and solar energy. Within this windswept region of microclimates various specimens of palm are thriving including a rare treasured palm from Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.  Mr. Merwin remarks “I know nothing about Reunion Island, but where a tree grows you have a place.”  Botanists have actually catalogued over 2500 species of palms trees globally.

His love of trees began at a young age, Mr. Merwin remarks, ‘My father was very repressive.  As a child I didn’t trust the feelings of pretty well anyone except my mother.  But I trusted the tree in the backyard.  We were friends.  If I could talk to it, it would talk to me.  But I did not know how”.

“Later in life I was talking to the biologist, E.O. Wilson about that, and he said talking to trees was not silly at all. “The trees gene code is much older than yours,” he said, It’s not withholding anything.  If you know how to talk, it will tell you everything you want.” 

The Mervin Conservancy is his legacy.  Check out the web site and the video as Mr. Merwin takes you on an enchanting tour of the forest.

“In between twenty-five or thirty years I have planted about 850 species of palms, and at least four or five times that many actual trees. I have had no map….We both hope that the whole of this land can eventually become a palm sanctuary. Just being here, with the garden, the `palm forest,’ all around us, day after day, I think has taught me a great deal.” —W.S. Merwin

What will your legacy be?

 

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Luxury of Simple Pleasures

One of the subjects that comes up often as we advise our clients in marketing luxury real estate is the fine line between specializing in the top tier of the marketplace and not wanting to alienate previous clients whose home sold in the mid price range, our clients are concerned that they may come accross as too pretentions or aloof.  Inherent in that concern is a misconception of the meaning of luxury, because it is often associated with elitism and conspicuous consumption, whereas we firmly believe that this is a limited perspective because there is luxury in simple pleasures, for example, the luxury of tasting the first crop of sweet corn.

Corn on the cob is a quintessential American food of summer.  The first crop is here at our Farmers' Market in Santa Barbara, It reminds us of Richard Rodgers' song, Oh, What A Beautiful Morning, from the quintessential American musical Oklahoma, written in 1943.  Here is our favorite excerpt about corn.

There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
There's a bright golden haze on the meadow,
The corn is as high as an elephant's eye,
An' it looks like its climbin' clear up to the sky.

Chorus:
Oh what a beautiful morning,
Oh what a beautiful day,
I've got a wonderful feeling,
Everything's going my way.

HAPPY WEDNESDAY, WE WISH THAT EVERYTHING IS GOING YOUR WAY

Cheers, Ron & Alexandra

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Entertainment Marketing—Lessons from Major Luxury Brands

The internet has ushered in a whole new way to reach prospective clients and develop a strong referral base of raving fans.  Entertainment marketing is no longer exclusive to major companies; it is now within your reach, too, as a luxury real estate marketing professional.  But, you can get some great marketing ideas by studying how the major luxury brands leverage new technology to create buzz.

German fashion label Hugo Boss has set a new standard for live streaming fashion shows for their event in China. Their Black Collection will be streamed in 3D!  This is a first which makes it buzz-worthy. They also gave away a limited number of signature 3D glasses (too late, all gone) and offered fans a chance to win a trip to China.

The internet has ushered in a whole new way to reach prospective clients and develop a strong referral base of raving fans.  Entertainment marketing is no longer exclusive to major companies; it is now within your reach, too, as a luxury real estate marketing professional.  But, you can get some great marketing ideas by studying how the major luxury brands leverage new technology to create buzz.

German fashion label Hugo Boss has set a new standard for live streaming fashion shows for their event in China. Their Black Collection will be streamed in 3D!  This is a first which makes it buzz-worthy. They also gave away a limited number of signature 3D glasses (too late, all gone) and offered fans a chance to win a trip to the show in China.

For the event, Hugo Boss has launched a comprehensive multimedia campaign that includes print, Web, mobile, social media, and out of home advertising (outdoor advertising venues) for its runway show in Beijing. Their print ads will be embedded with “augmented reality”.  This is a technique that employs invisible watermarks that can be read by your smartphone which then has access to video and other added content. 

In October of 2007, Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld staged a fashion show atop the Great Wall of China.  It took Fendi one year to get permission for the show, and rumor has it that the show cost $10 million.  Five hundred guests attended the spectacle and giant logos were projected onto neighboring mountains.  The chairman of LVMH, Bernard Arnault, which owns Fendi joked, “This was the first fashion show visible from the moon.”

Paying attention to the ways that major luxury brands employ entertainment marketing can give you clues on how to outsmart your competition when marketing luxury real estate.  Leveraging the viral marketing capabilities of the internet and word-of-mouth advertising can significantly amplify the effectiveness of your marketing efforts and even reduce costs.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Impressions of Costa Rica

We were fortunate to be invited to consult on the local and international marketing of a beautiful luxury residential development project on the east side of San Jose, in the Central Valley of Costa Rica.  From the Central Valley it is an hour to an hour and a half drive to either the Caribbean/ Atlantic coast or the Pacific coast.  The mild climate is consistently in the low 80’s with relatively low humidity.

Our experience in meeting our clients and the various people we were introduced to was nothing less than enchanting.  When discussing the various aspects of the project, each individual in charge was passionate about their expertise.  In planning the site, the developers agreed to keep all the mature trees and bushes intact and incorporate them as part of the common areas. This included the coffee trees which had migrated on the property from the coffee bean plantation next door.  The landscape architect also decided to identify the trees and plants by both their Spanish and Latin names.  There are walkways designed to explore the grounds and benches to sit on where you can reflect upon the magnificent flora.

Our strongest impression on this adventure was the friendly nature of the people we met.  Everywhere we went, kindness and acceptance was abundant.  Time was not a pressing issue in the many meetings we attended.  There was no sense of urgency or the feeling of being rushed.  What was more important was feeling good about each other.  

We asked our new friends, colleagues and clients, “What makes Americans and Europeans move to Costa Rica?”  Here is what they said, essentially: “We have a strong sense of family, a deep caring for each other, and a slow paced lifestyle.  Our people are well educated with a 94% literacy rate. We are also pro-business as we attract many companies who want to move here.  These companies are aware of the value of an educated work force”.  

Intel was offered as an example.  They had identified 10 cities where they could open offices in the South and Central America’s.  With everyone wooing them, Costa Rica was not even on their radar.  The people rallied, as did the President and all other luminaries, to convince Intel to choose Costa Rica, which they finally did.  Now, Intel continues to grow and expand there.

Advising our Costa Rican clients on marketing luxury real estate was a sheer delight and we have made some wonderful friends in the process.  We encourage you to reach out and connect with your counterparts in this fine country.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Fine-tuning Your Appreciation of Landscaping-Part 2

One of the many skills involved with successfully marketing luxury real estate is having an appreciation for fine landscaping.  For example, do you know your tropical flowering plants?  Each time you spot a plant or a tree that you have not seen or have not focused upon before, you have the opportunity to learn something new. This quest for a greater depth of knowledge about landscaping  can enrich your life and also  demonstrate your marketing savvy when you are showing a potential buyer a property.

If tropical plants thrive in your marketplace, it would be time well spent to take an occasional trip to your local nursery and learn about these magnificent species. The more common ground you have with your clients the faster you can establish rapport and trust.  The speed of trust can translate into more transactions and significantly increase your earning power.

 Can you identify this plant?  Don't go bananas!  It's a Plantain.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Evolution of Print Ads- Good Bye Head/House Shots and QR’s

Although it is in vogue to downplay the value of print marketing versus digital marketing, in many luxury real estate markets we are working in, print still plays a dominant part in a luxury real estate agents’ marketing budget.  Many sellers still insist on seeing their homes prominently displayed in a luxury magazine, the local newspapers, as well as in digital format.   Those agents who are using print media also began using QR’s aka Quick Response squares used to drive traffic to the websites for more buyer information.  The majority of luxury real estate ads looks identical—house shots and head shots.

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Focus is Your Crystal Ball

crystalball.jpg

As a Luxury real estate marketing professional, have you taken the time to focus upon the source of your bona fide leads, i.e., those leads that have actually converted to sales or listings? What percentage of your overall sales volume comes from knocking on doors (cold calling), referrals, open houses, website leads, sign calls, your blog, networking (online or offline) or from some other source?  By focusing in this manner you can strengthen what is working, and also spend less time and resources on those things that do not produce strong results. Focusing can empower you to predict the future of your business. Focus is your crystal ball.

Focusing can also lead to discovering new ways to attract more business by finding alternative approaches that can yield more desirable results. By staying focused you have access to more solutions.  Your focus actually attracts answers that may be right under your nose. Being focused prompts you to ask better questions because you know more clearly what it is that you need to know. The need to know literally draws out answers from your environment and from people who have the answers or know where to find them. 

Sometimes it seems that the answers to your most pressing questions are eluding you. But, once you get clear on what you need to know, the answers are sure to come your way.  That is, unless you spend your time doubting yourself or the power of focus.  If you get frustrated because your answers are not showing up as fast as you want them to you might want to consider just chilling out for awhile.   It takes a mental state of relaxed focus and openness for the best answers to show up in your crystal ball.

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: What Are You Trying to Say?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it is important that you get your marketing message laser sharp. You must speak to your target market in a language that they understand using words that resonate precisely with their mindset.  The faster you can communicate your extraordinary promise of value in a way that addresses their most pressing needs the quicker they will want to do business with you. 

Apart from referrals, open houses and yard signs, your website is the place where most consumers discover you for the first time.  Does your website instantly communicate who you are, how you are different and how you stand out from your competition?  Think of your website as a retail store.  Does your site compel people to walk in to discover more?

We walked by the window of the Louis Vuitton store in Santa Barbara, California on Thanksgiving weekend,  one of the most important weekends of the year for retailers. After “scratching our heads”, wondering what this was all about we just had to take a photo and write this post about messaging. 

You can see what we saw in the window depicted above.  An elephant  doing an “hand stand” on a plank that is balanced on a ball with a designer purse on the opposite end of the plank lifting the elephant. What message does convey to you? Does it make you want to enter the store to shop?  Does it make you want to buy that particular item? To whom are they attempting to communicate?

Unless this store is a destination for you because you already know the brand and you intend to shop there for the Holidays, this is a huge missed opportunity to draw in new customers. Window design is an art form in luxury retail stores throughout Europe.  With so much competition for attention you only have seconds to capture the the attention of prospective customers. How can you expect to increase sales if you cannot draw customers in the store in the first place.

The same applies to marketing luxury real estate and to marketing YOU.  Get your messaging spot on and you will dramatically see an increase fin the number of prospects that convert to clients and sales.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Five Moments of Truth - Part 3

Zodiac Clock in Venice Italy

In Part 1 and Part 2 of this article series we stated that the first moment of truth in the client acquisition cycle occurs before your prospective client meets you. If you were not referred by a family member, a friend or a colleague, making an indelible first impression with your website is, therefore, a vital key to winning their business because they will be predisposed to hire you when they actually meet you.  Your website is your silent salesperson as a luxury real estate marketing professional. 

If your website appears at first glance to be the most authoritative site in your marketplace, if it has the best graphic interface, and is also the best  organized and easiest to navigate, you have a very good shot at  keeping them coming back to do their research.  While they are in this “self-service” mode, before they meet you, they are still operating from a favorable, lasting first impression that occurred in the first moment of truth.

Offering original content on your website is one of the best ways to keep them coming back to your site. Property search and canned neighborhood content is ubiquitous. If you have a blog that is more than just informative, one that also offers your unique point of view and is entertaining, the chances that you will convert leads  is much higher than your competition.

We were recently asked by an agent if he should subscribe to a service in India that slaps up generic blog content just to improve his Google ranking. It is only costs $50 per month.

What is the use of ranking high on Google if the consumers who lands on your site encounters inferior, generic information? In a click, off they can go in search of the real deal!   They may have been impressed with your ranking.  But they will be disappointed if you provide generic information that can be found anywhere.  This could actually damage your reputation because it speaks volumes about how you are willing to cut-corners to get ahead of your competition.  And, this is not the kind of indelible first impression you want to make.

The first moment of truth gets them to be predisposed to liking you and wanting to hire you. But, it is the second moment of truth, when they meet you, that determines if you will actually get their business.  That is why ranking #1 on Google is not as important as achieving top-of-mind (#1) status in your marketplace.  Google can arbitrarily change their algorithms and off you go from your 1st position.  But, continuously creating positive impressions in the minds of your target market will lead to making those impressions indelible.

Meeting expectations at the conclusion of your first transaction is the third moment of truth in the customer acquisition cycle.  Getting their referrals is the fourth moment of truth and getting their repeat business is the fifth moment of truth.  Consistently, winning each of the five moments of truth is the true test of a market leader.  It is the test of successful branding.

 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Five Moments of Truth - Part 2

Big Ben

The Key to Winning the First Moment of Truth:

Make an Indelible First Impression

We all know that referrals are the best source of new business in your luxury real estate marketing practice.  For someone to refer you, you must have made a strong positive impression, an indelible impression because you have achieved “top-of-mind” status in their mind. Indelible means impossible to remove from the mind or memory, and therefore remains, “forever”.  Creating positive indelible impressions and sustaining top-of-mind status over time is what branding is all about.   Therefore, the key to mastering the first moment of truth is making an indelible first impression. 

When potential clients are referred your way they are already predisposed to liking you and trusting you because they like and trust the one who sent them to you.   They have already experienced the first “moment of truth” in the cycle of client acquisition and they are hopeful that you can deliver on the promise of satisfying their most pressing needs.   But, they are relying on the indelible impression you have made on the referring party.

For those who find you through search engines, through your advertising or your website, a blog post, or your yard sign in front of an impressive listing, the first moment of truth is your opportunity to make an indelible first impression on your potential NEW client.   Think of your first moment of truth as an audition for a talent show.  Do you stand out or are you forgettable?  Are you instantly perceived as the expert who can meet your potential clients’ needs?   You actually only have a nano second to make that first impression. 

Entrepreneurs who pitch to venture capitalists are often given only 30 seconds to make an indelible first impression.  This has become known as an “elevator pitch” because you only have a few seconds in an elevator with a captive audience.  On the internet, however, you do not even have that much time because your competition is just a click away.

Being #1 on Google may be the beginning of the first moment of truth for some consumers.  But, when they click through and discover a sub-par website you could easily lose out in this part of the customer acquisition cycle. If your website is not a WOW! you will most likely not get the call or email inquiry; you will not convert the lead.  The first encounter with your website is often your first opportunity to create an indelible first impression.

Even if you do capture the lead and you succeed at winning the first moment of truth, before they meet you, you can still blow this opportunity in the second moment of truth.  The question is, “can you convince your prospect that you can deliver on your promise of value made on our website, when you actually meet the prospective client on the phone or in person?”  We will cover this further in Part 3 of this article series.

 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: So, You Want to Be a Market Leader-Part 7

Today, in marketing luxury real estate, being tech-savvy involves much more than just optimizing your website to rank highly on search engines. It encompasses the art of building an audience of raving fans not just through blogging or having a Facebook page, but also through the latest social media practice of creating a “curated” online experience.  In this final post in our series, So You Want to Be a Market Leader, we discuss how Tiffany & Company, the leading American luxury jewelry brand, has preempted their domestic and European competitors with this cutting edge, indirect or “peripheral”  marketing and branding strategy.

We understand that building an audience was never part of the job description of a real estate agent. We understand that it is time consuming, not to mention a long term strategy. But, it is swiftly becoming a requirement if you want to gain or sustain market leadership. Every incumbent luxury real estate market leader who does not fully embrace the new media is potentially vulnerable to local challengers who are willing to do so.  

Leveraging social media and mobile apps was certainly not an aspect of the jewelry marketing play-book either. But, Tiffany & Company is intent on attracting a younger audience and they know that they cannot rely solely on the tradition of their blue gift boxes or the half-century old Breakfast at Tiffany’s movie to win this new business. They are also intent on keeping ahead of their European counterparts, such as Cartier, who is challenging Tiffany’s dominance in the US when it comes to purchasing engagement rings by young affluent customers.

Tiffany has an iPhone and iPad mobile app where you can customize your own engagement ring and design and change the carat size of the diamond.  When you place one of the rings that you already own on the screen it will tell you your ring size.  But, soon every major jeweler will have their own app and this “feature” will no longer be unique.  That is why we say that you cannot count on features as a way to differentiate your brand from your competitors’. Competing on features is not a brand strategy because brand strategy is all about seizing and holding on to top-of-mind status.

Recently, Tiffany & Company launched a new “curated” website called What Makes Love True.  Their brand strategy is to “own” the word LOVE in the minds of their target market. If you want to sell engagement rings as your core product that would be an excellent word to own. 

Tiffany takes on the role of “curator” of this online exhibition listing romantic places and restaurants to “pop the question”, lists of love songs and romantic movies that you can buy via iTunes, and also videos of customers of all ages who discuss the romantic courtships that lead to their engagements.  You can also interact with the site by placing your initials (and your mate’s initials) on a map with your own story of why this location is romantic.

Staking a claim on “true love” as their brand position preempts any other competing jeweler to do so without looking ridiculous as a copycat. Can you imagine Cartier saying, “We stand for true love, too”?  Provided that Tiffany continues to develop this site in interesting ways, we believe that this peripheral branding strategy is nothing less than brilliant!  It is emotional branding at its best.

As a luxury real estate marketing professional who is bent on gaining or sustaining market leadership, what can you stand for, what word can you own? And, how do you go about executing a strategy to successfully achieve top-of-mind status with this brand position?

In our luxury real estate marketing consulting practice we work exclusively with incumbent market leaders or their challengers. We do not work with direct competitors within the same marketplace. Our ideal clients are those who realize just how much is at stake in terms of market share and revenue at this level, when you achieve top-of-mind status.  If you have the heart of a champion and are keen on “the unabashed pursuit of market leadership”, give us a call for a complimentary consultation! 805.684.8180

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: So, You Want to Be a Market Leader-Part 5

In the realm of marketing luxury real estate, we have noticed some patterns of vulnerabilities among market leaders that represent opportunities for challengers.  If they do have a chink in their armor it usually comes down to this: 1) they lose their focus; 2) they get complacent, or; 3) they lag behind technologically

If you want to overtake the incumbent market leader, rather than identifying an uncontested market niche that you can dominate, you need to assess your opponent’s weakest link and wage an all-out battle that is 100% concentrated on one of these specific vulnerabilities.  

In this post we look at the vulnerability of losing focus. Maintaining focus over time is one of the true tests of a market leader.

When you are a market leader in a specific category or niche within your marketplace there is always a temptation to lose your focus by diversifying or changing your singular winning formula because you have attracted an abundance of diverse opportunities. If you are the best prime rib restaurant in town, is it not logical that you could also become known as the best seafood restaurant?  After all, the fundamentals of the restaurant business are the same regardless of what you serve.

There is a seafood restaurant in Los Angeles that was, year after year, one the highest grossing restaurants in town because of its moderately priced menu, its ideal setting and a bar business that was unstoppable.  It appealed equally to families, tourists and young adults.  We recently visited the restaurant after over a decade of no longer living in the city, expecting to find the same menu.  Instead, they reinvented themselves as an expensive dinner house.  They may have needed to refresh their brand, but they completely lost their focus on the core attributes that made them successful for decades.  This restaurant is potentially vulnerable to competitors who could reintroduce the prior winning formula under a new brand.

To be successful today, you have to narrow your focus in order to build a position in the prospect's mind.  Then you have to stay focused to sustain your market leadership position. A company that has resisted the temptation to diversify and has maintained its focus on its primary winning formula is Gerber. 

Just take a walk down the baby food aisle in any supermarket in the USA (and dozens of countries around the world).  Gerber dominates this food category and the shelf space as well.   The company is owned by Nestlé, the largest food (and nutrition) company in the world, founded and headquartered in Switzerland.  Gerber enjoys roughly 80% of the market share.  Beech-Nut, a very distant #2, is also Swiss owned by the Hero Group, who makes fine jellies and jams in addition to baby food.  With no substantial challenger, only Gerber and Beech-Nut currently have double-digit market shares.

How focused are you in your market place? In our next post we will cover the other two vulnerabilities of incumbent market leaders:  Being complacent and being “tech-challenged”.

In our luxury real estate marketing consulting practice we work exclusively with incumbent market leaders or their challengers. We do not work with direct competitors within the same marketplace. Our ideal clients are those who realize just how much is at stake in terms of market share and revenue at this level, when you achieve top-of-mind status.  If you have the heart of a champion and are keen on “the unabashed pursuit of market leadership”, give us a call for a complimentary consultation! 805.684.8180 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Key to Blogging is Curiosity

Our Curious Cat Zoe

This post is dedicated to those of you who have embraced the art of journalism and have become bloggers on top of everything else required of your career in luxury real estate marketing. Consistently producing original content can be challenging at times.  But, here is our secret to success:  Perpetual curiosity must become your passion.  To blog consistently you must become a perennial student and you must be passionate about learning new things.  That is where the joy of blogging comes from- a curious mind.

Here are some quotes we found about the subject of curiosity.  We hope they inspire you as much as they have moved us.

I have no special talents. I am only passionately curious.
~Albert Einstein

The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.

~Dorothy Parker

Curiosity is a willing, a proud, and eager confession of ignorance.
~S. Leonard Rubinstein

Be less curious about people and more curious about ideas.
Marie Curie

Let’s just say I was testing the bounds of reality. I was curious to see what would happen. That’s all it was: curiosity.
~Jim Morrison

Satisfaction of one’s curiosity is one of the greatest sources of happiness in life.
~Dr. Linus Pauling

I find that when you have a real interest in life and a curious life, that sleep is not the most important thing.
~Martha Stewart

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Luxury Real Estate Branding: Outpace Your Competition,Get Your Brand Message Right!

As a luxury real estate marketing professional getting your brand message right is of paramount importance.  First, you must be sure you are communicating to the right target market.  Second, you need to make sure you are communicating your extraordinary promise of value in their language, i.e., words that address your target market’s most pressing needs (not yours).  When you inaccurately assess both of these factors your chances of success are between slim and none. 

Porsche’s new marketing campaign “Engineered for Magic-Everyday” misses its target on both counts. As such, it serves as a great lesson in messaging.

There are plenty of emotional needs that Porsche ownership satisfies. But, “everyday” trips in the big city (where most Porches are sold) are definitely not one of them.  This new ad campaign is geared to change the way their target market perceives this expensive sports car.  Now it is a “school bus” (to pick up the kids), a "pickup truck" (to haul items in the trunk), and a “pet carrier” (to transport your dog, who enjoys the ride in the convertible).  

This is total absurdity!  Porsche will waste millions of dollars in this attempt to change its perception of being a “race car”, which is the DNA of its brand and the primary reason people buy it, whether or not they use it as such.

Another new Porsche video ad shows a father brushing snow of his Carrera with his kid sitting in the front seat.  The caption is “Snowmobile”. 

 While visiting friends in Chicago, Alexandra, who has an impeccable driving record, drove her friend’s husband‘s Porsche in the snow with their baby son onboard.  It was a white knuckle drive all the way.  Even though she had plenty of experience driving in the snow from her days at the University of Minnesota, (in a car equipped with studded tires), it was tough not to do 360 degree turns in the Porsche.  She felt helpless several times, praying to every deity she had ever heard about, to make it safely back to her friend’s home in the country.   Perhaps, for some this would be considered a thrill.   But, that segment of Porsche’s target market must be miniscule.

Getting your brand message right is crucial when marketing luxury real estate. Know your target market inside and out, their psychographics as well as their demographics. Then, speak to them in their language.  That is, if you want to increase your sales and outpace your competition.

 

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Discovering the Non-Obvious Market Niche

The advantages of niche marketing are numerous. Concentrating your attention and passionately focusing your unique talents on an uncontested or underserved market niche can yield outstanding results when marketing luxury real estate. Here is an example of local niche marketing that exemplifies this extremely important marketing principle.

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Chart a Steady Course When Targeting High Net Worth Buyers

This is a reposting of an article we wrote in January 2009.  It seems that the luxury buyers are still alive and well. Here is a capsule of the spending habits of high net worth individuals that still hold true today. Luxury real estate marketing professionals take heed!

Exclusivity. The desire to have something better and less known to the mass audience remains strong. New niche labels can prosper in these circumstances, such as limited editions or homes with extraordinary architectural features.

Quality, Dependability and Authenticity. The consumer will want to know the provenance of the goods they are buying. They will want the manufacturer to stand by the product and take care of it, if something goes wrong. Social and environmental responsibility is an important key in the purchase making decision. If it’s “green”, they will part with their green bucks. In the days of “shop till you drop”, consumers were fascinated by novelty. Now they want the “real”, the authentic. They are no longer interested in high end reproductions or anything with “faux” in front of it. Along with authenticity is transparency. How someone does business, their ethics, has become an important part of the process.

Translating this to luxury real estate marketing is simple.

  1. Refresh your brand. Make sure your website and all your materials have the look and feel of luxury, and do not look like everyone else’s site. Remember they are looking for the exclusive feel.
  2. Make sure you demonstrate your transparency in terms of your customer relationship management. Your word MUST BE your bond. Go out of your way to provide excellent service. This makes you easy to refer via word-of-mouth advertising.
  3. Describe your listings by emphasizing the quality and the durability of the home’s appliances and finishes. Make sure that those finishes are the “real” thing. If they aren’t, point it out. If you are not sure, find out. This furthers your authenticity and your transparency.

In the long run remember. “A calm sea does not produce a skilled sailor. We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust the sails. Anyone can hold the helm when the sea is calm.” Tom Culve

Luxury real estate marketing professionals: Happy Sailing and Selling in 2011!

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Shoe Biz Buzz Marketing Lessons

Mark Parker, Nike president & CEO and Kobe Bryant

Important lessons can be learned about marketing luxury real estate by studying what works and what does not work in the marketing of major TV sports events.  Because the games are live the likelihood that viewers mute the commercials (or not watch them at all in the case of digital video recorders) is considerably less.   But, the surest way to reach viewers who have a hot hand on their remote control is “product placement”.   

The best form of product placement in TV and movies triggers “buzz” or word-of-mouth advertising.  And, buzz marketing is a skill set that should be a top priority for you in 2011.

If the media hype for LeBron James has not been enough for you this year, brace yourself for the basketball game of the year on Christmas Day when the Miami Heat take on the 2009-2010 World Champion Lakers in Los Angeles.   Los Angeles is one of the biggest media markets in the United States for television advertising.  Watch how Nike, the masters of product placement, will be “killing it” this year.   Both Kobe and LeBron are Nike “spokesmen”.

The day after Christmas, Nike is coming out with a new Kobe basketball shoe named after Kobe’s “alter-ego” the black mamba snake, one of Africa’s most dangerous and feared snakes.  The shoes are black and grey.  But, for the Christmas Day game they made them in green.  The LeBron Nike shoe will be in red for the game. Not only will Kobe be wearing the shoe in green but all of those LA ticket holders with courtside seats will get a pair of green Kobe Nike shoes.  To afford those seats these people typically have huge spheres of influence (Jack Nicholson for example).

One of the best opportunities of social media is the ability to create buzz through contests.  The prize does not necessarily have to cost you anything if you can find a co-marketing product or service provider who is also interested in reaching the same target market as you. For example, this season, one of our luxury real estate strategic branding clients will be raffling off two Super Bowl tickets which is certain to create a buzz. 

What are some ways that you can become well known as a luxury real estate marketing professional through buzz marketing in 2011?

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Personal & Company Branding: It Is Written!

A major key to success is identifying and focusing upon a market category or sub-category in which you can become the dominate player.  To fully succeed however, it must be a niche that you believe you can do better than anyone else in your marketplace, a niche about which you are passionate. When you are passionate about what you are doing your interest in your work will be sustained, you will continuously be innovative and you will persevere during the most challenging moments in your career.  

When you are passionate about what do you also attract people and events, almost magically, that can help you achieve your dreams and confirm that you are on the right path.  Here is a fun true story that we experienced about this kind of serendipity.

Several years ago, we were walking on the beach and discussing the fact that we are truly passionate about our strategic branding practice that is focused on the luxury real estate industry.  We were wondering if personal and company branding would be the vehicle that could lead to working internationally which was our desire.

Suddenly, we came upon some letters that someone had written in the sand upside down.  When we walked around to read it our jaws dropped. A young man had written his own name which happened to be B R A N D! Luckily, we had our camera and took the picture posted above.  It was like a “sign” to stay on our path.

Since then, the opportunities that social media has offered in terms of expanding internationally and also meeting more and more fascinating people have enriched our lives and added significantly to our career in strategic branding.  There is no question that being passionate about your work makes life much more fun!

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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Do You Speak "Contemporary Art"?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, do you have clients who are collectors of contemporary art?  The more you understand about this category of art the more you will be able to connect and relate with those who appreciate it. The more these clients sense your connection on this subject the more likely they will be to refer you to their collector friends because you speak “their language”.

Recently, we happened to sit next to an up and coming contemporary Los Angeles artist on our flight to the East Coast.  We took an interest in Cole Sternberg’s work and wanted to share it with you. Cole has been challenging society with his works for the last ten years, blending compelling visuals with issues ranging from pop culture to human rights to the environment. Schooled in the law and a published author on international law issues, Sternberg’s insight into his subject matter gives a unique twist rarely seen in the arts.

We were impressed by Cole’s take on the deterioration of quality journalism where the shock value of stories supersedes the truth. “The scary element is that this mentality, previously reserved for reality TV and celebrity culture, has crossed over to real issues, according to Cole.

On Thursday, January 27th 2011, art collector Normandie Keith will open her home to unveil her latest acquisition, a massive room installation by Cole Sternberg. The Content is Bleeding Through is an installation with many layers meant to challenge the progression of media and society, questioning the celebrity manufacturing system of the media and the concentration of the news on falsities and trivialities. After collecting multiple paintings by Sternberg, Keith commissioned Cole to take over an external space on her property to produce his piece.

"Cole is one of the most important artists of his generation and I'm so happy to be able to live with his amazing installation. It provides a sociological snapshot of where we are at, both disturbing and beautiful," states Keith.

Take the time to learn about what your clients are interested in. When you are interested in what matters most to them they will be more interested in promoting you.

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