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Real Estate Agents Branding Company

Branding Moment: 8 Basic Ways to Analyze the Power of a Brand Name

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As confirmed chocoholics, we noticed this chocolate selection in the chocolate aisle of our market.  And because we love the branding process, the brand name also caught our attention.  Here are some basic ways we analyze a brand:

1. The name is a play on the phrase "alter ego" defined as a person's secondary or alternative personality.  Is it distinctive enough or memorable?

2.  Does the name address the market it intends to reach?  It does focus on attracting thosewho are ecologically minded and prefer organic products, and they are proud of it.  The slogan under the name, "enlightened indulgence" is intended to have the buyer feel good for buying it..

3.  Can the name be used on other products if the company were to start another related business?  In designing real estate brands we often think in terms of "exit strategy", when the company or agent decides to sell the business or start another business.

4.  Does the brand name have any negative connotations? Based on the definition of alter ego: (the bad side of a person that may come to life at anytime, switching your personality—this is fantasy, though some people may believe they have an alter-ego), it may be construed as such.

5.  Is the name original?  It is important to do a trademark search.

6.  Is it a name the marketplace will remember?

7.  Will it have word of mouth power, or social media power that will last? 

8.  And most important is the product delicious to those who are tempted to buy it?

When I (A) pointed it out the brand to Ron, he reminded me that dear friends who are also chocoholics had sent us a bar to try.  I had forgotten, the name and the experience.  Ron remembered the name.   Neither one of us thought that the taste was memorable enough for us to buy again.  

Keep in mind that tastes differ.  Perhaps some of you who may have tried this brand will disagree with us. Again, this a basic guideline to analyze a brand name!



Luxury Real Estate Personal Branding: Real Estate of the Mind

 

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, you must understand the “inner game” of marketing as well as you know the process of selling a home.  If you want to gain or sustain market leadership in your area or your niche you must “own” real estate in the minds of your target market.  We refer to the real estate of the mind as top-of-mind status.  The key question is: Who comes to mind first?

In your mind who owns the category of multipurpose household oil that lubricates, cleans and prevents rust?  Did you come up with W-D 40 or 3-IN-ONE?  Can you think of another brand? Most people cannot think of a 3rd or 4th brand in this product category.  It so happens that both household oil brands are owned by the same company. More importantly, they own the category! 

Welcome to the world of real estate of the mind!  In our time-pressed, over-communicated world we just cannot hold more than a few brand names in our mind in any category of product or service.  That is what makes the stakes so high in the bid for market leadership.

In the realm of listing and marketing luxury real estate, achieving top-of mind status is far more valuable than owning the top position on a Google search result pages.   Sure, it is great to also come up first on the search engines so you can get more buyer leads, especially when properties are slow to move.   But, over time he or she who has the best listings and has the best reputation in town, or in a given niche, the one who stands out from the crowd, wins the lion’s share of the business!

We know an agent who is one of the top producers in all of the United States who has never optimized his website for the search engines.  He does not have a Facebook or any other social networking account.  His phone rings off the hook. He barely keeps up with his email and the business he attracts.  He enjoys top-of-mind status in his marketplace because he has focused solely on building trusting relationships that yield continuous referrals. 

This seems to fly in the face of what is now considered conventional wisdom.  But, this luxury real estate marketing professional has mastered the inner game of marketing. He owns the most valuable real estate where “location, location, location” rules the day now and forevermore:  in the minds of his target market.

By, the way...did you know that W-D stands for "water displacement" which was what the inventor, Norm Larson, was aiming for with his formula to prevent rust. It took him 40 attempts to find the best way to prefvent corrosion by repelling water. 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Focus is the Name of the Game

 

 

Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO --Courtesy of Xerox

The imperative to re-invent yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional has never been greater.  The competition for attention on the internet now requires that you declare a highly focused , sharply defined “brand position”. To stand out from the crowd, you must stake a claim to an uncontested market niche and offer an extraordinary promise of value. Your claim to market leadership must be based on something that you can do better than anyone else in your marketplace. Now more than ever, focus is the  name of the game in luxury real estate marketing.

For decades Xerox was focused on one thing: plain-paper photocopying. Xerox was one of the first brand names to become a verb, just as the verb “to FedEx” has come to mean ship overnight. Although Xerox still “owns” the top-of-mind status in the prduct category of plain-paper copiers, the status has become less and less relevant in light of the transition of documents between the paper and digital worlds. This fundamental shift necessitated that Xerox completely reinvent itself and reposition the brand in the minds of its target market and substantial customer base.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Xerox worked to transform its product offering into a service. Xerox began providing a complete "document service" to companies including supply, maintenance, configuration, and user support. Customers became clients. To reinforce this image, the company introduced a corporate signature, "The Document Company" above its primary logo. However, at this time documents still meant ink on paper.

In 2008, Xerox changed its logo again to a red sphere and a white X with three grey stripes. The change is meant to shift the emphasis of the company’s focus from plain-paper document photocopying to digital document management and solutions. 

On July 1, 2009, another change occurred in Xerox. Ursula Burns became the first African American woman to head a company the size of Xerox.  Under Ms. Burn’s leadership, in February 2010, Xerox acquired Affiliated Computer Services, Inc. transforming Xerox into the world’s leader in business process and digital document management.

With this acquisition, Xerox now processes over one million credit card applications and twelve million student loans each year.  They also provide HR (human resources) services for more than 4.4 million employees and retirees annually.  Xerox’s extraordinary new promise of value is to “help our customers reach new levels of efficiency and effectiveness, giving them the freedom to focus on what matters most: their real business”.

From product oriented to service oriented, from paper documents to digital document management and  out-sourced business processes Xerox has undergone an astonishing metamorphisis, a total shift in focus.

What will be your new focus, your new claim, your new extraordinary promise of value? Focus is the name of the luxury real estate marketing game.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: The Winning Formula of Passion & Competence

 

Mount Fuji, Japan

The difference between luxury real estate marketing professionals who are genuinely passionate about what they do and others who are not is palpable. It is your passion and competence that compels others to rave about you and refer business your way. But, competence alone is not enough. Emotions attract more business than logic. Tapping into the emotions of your target market and offering an extraordinary value proposition beyond competent service will give you the competitive edge.

In Japan, consumers of electronic gadgets have traditionally been persuaded to buy new products based more on extensive new features rather than the emotional benefits of ownership. Skeptics warned that Apple’s iPhone would not sell well in Japan because it lacked detailed technical features that would require hours of studying a thick instruction manual to master.

The skeptics were wrong about the simplistic user interface of the iPhone and also about the iPad, which was recently introduced to raving fans in Japan. Apple products have become a brand name accessory. They are considered a luxury on par with Louis Vuitton handbags which are extremely popular in Japan. Apple has found a way to tap into the deep seated emotional consumer needs of self-expression and the promise of gaining acceptance, approval and admiration from others. 

Showing off your new iPad, a product that has instant brand recognition, offers emotional currency to the consumer.  This effect can occur from twenty feet away simply by recognizing the Apple logo.  That is brand power! From twenty feet away you cannot tell if a competing gadget has the latest technical features inside.

Then, there is Apple's "coolness factor"-- an inimitable brand culture that has been developing over decades.  You do not just buy a product; you join a brand and you belong to a likeminded community. Have you ever walked into an Apple store? The brand culture, the passion and the camaraderie between customers and competent employees is obvious there.

The reason that Apple has such a superior competitive advantage is not because of features but, because of this emotional currency. Google, Samsung, HP and dozens of other companies are coming out with tablet computers in the near future.  But, they will all be competing based on features alone, not on emotions, a realm that Apple dominates. 

Dell is coming out with a tablet that has a 5 inch screen (double the size of a smart phone screen). The logic is that is can still fit into your pocket like a smart phone.  They will be given away free with a wireless subscription because Dell will subsidize the cost of the device in a revenue sharing model. 

When you compete on the basis of features alone, you become a commodity because features can easily be copied.  The only territory left, when all competitors have the same features, is price. We saw this phenomenon with discount real estate brokerage firms.

Tap into your passion, as a luxury real estate marketing professional.  Claim an contested market niche that you can dominate. Serve this niche better than anyone else in your marketplace. Then, you will find the winning formula of passion and competence.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Ride the Wave of Change - Part 3

 

Part 3:  Get In Touch!

Touch screens on computers have been in development for years.  But, they did not reach a critical mass in terms of consumer use until the iPhone, and recently, the iPad was introduced by Apple. Soon touch screens will become ubiquitous on many types of devices. At Napa Consultants, International we anticipated this trend and have been designing our clients' web sites to be "touch-friendly" for luxury real estate marketing.

For example, one tap of the photo icon of a neighborhood can produce instant mapped search results for all available high rise condos in that neighborhood  One tap on the map and you can see details of a particular building, plus, those units within the building that are available for sale.  This is the kind of instant gratification that users are now expecting.

Riding the touch screen wave of change can give you an immediate competitive advantage as a luxury real estate marketing professional. Get in touch!

Check out this video to see where the revolutionary touch screen wave of change is heading . You will be amazed!

 

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Ride the Wave of Change - Part 2

 

Part 2: Capitalize On Your "Unfair"Competitive Advantages

 The stunning sales velocity that Apple has achieved with the iPad (1 Million iPads in just 28 days) is truly inspiring. As a luxury real estate marketing professional, when you study and stay focused on these kinds of results you will attract more of what you want for yourself.

In part one of this series we looked at how Apple spotted two trends and rode these waves to propel sales of the iPad. Those trends are the popularity of netbooks and e-books.  Here in Part 2, we look at a question that Steve Jobs must have asked himself to stage such a stupendous encore to the iPhone:  What else can Apple do better than anyone else in the world?  If market leadership is your quest, this is a question that you need to ask yourself as well; just rephrase the question to, “What can I (or my company) do better than anyone else in my marketplace?  What are your “unfair” competitive advantages?

Apparently, Jobs had been asking himself these questions about the tablet computer for some time.  He must have determined that Apple’s “unfair” competitive advantages included:

  1. The feedback received by consumers (of all ages) who rave about the simplicity of user interface experience with other Apple products including the touch screen of the iPhone and iPod Touch
  2. The world’s largest selection of Apps (applications) from other Apple products
  3. The iTunes Store with established accounts of millions of customers already in place, which would make it easy for iPad owners to buy more products and services from Apple.

Prior to the launch iPad, both Amazon and Barnes & Noble had an unfair competitive advantage in the e-book space (as categories or niches are referred to in marketing terms) over other e-book readers. That is their vast databases of customers with established customer accounts, plus established relationships with publishers.  But, Apple, who was an unlikely competitor, ALSO has established iTunes accounts with a significant number of Amazon and Barnes and Noble customers.  And, for about $150 more someone who is considering buying a Kindle or Nook can get a very powerful computer.  Needless to say the other e-book readers’ chances of achieving market leadership are “slim-to-none”.

The real shocker that turned the tables and made the iPad a game changer was the low price.  Apple’s purchase of the chip maker that runs the iPad also became an “unfair” competitive advantage.

Capitalize on what you can do better than anyone else in your luxury real estate marketplace.  Leverage your “unfair” competitive advantage!

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Ride the Wave of Change - Part 1

 

Part 1: Capitalize on Trends

Apple announced that it sold one million iPads in just 28 days.  That is less than one half the time it took to sell 1million iPhones which took 74 days.  Over 300,000 iPads were sold in one weekend upon the release of their 3G model (anytime internet access wherever there is 3G coverage vs. the less expensive model that accesses the web in Wi-Fi hotspots only).  This phenomenon has very important implications for luxury real estate marketing professionals that we will cover in a three-part blog series.

The speed at which these devices have sold staggers the imagination considering the fact that, prior to 2010, very few consumers were even aware of the category of tablet computers.  However, when you assume a broader perspective, an aerial view if you will, there is a logical explanation that helps to make sense of this sales velocity. 

Apple astutely spotted and capitalized on two significant consumer trends:

  1. The rapid sales of netbooks (small, inexpensive laptops).
  2. The growing popularity of e-book readers (e.g., Amazon’s Kindle and Barnes & Nobles’ Nook).

The iPad was positioned, in the mind of consumer, as a superior alternative to both of these devices, at a cost that was less than the two other devices combined.

When you anticipate trends and position yourself in the path of progress it is like catching and surfing a wave.  By harnessing the power of trends you leverage energy that is bigger than just your own effort and your success rate dramatically improves.

We often recommend to clients “to go fishing where the fish are biting”.  If sales are slow in one price range or one geographic area, concentrate where the movement is happening. It is of vital importance to watch for, tune into and anticipate luxury real estate sales trends in your marketplace.  

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Personal Branding: Witty Slogans That Stick in Your Mind

 

One way to sharply distinguish yourself from your competition, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, is through a witty slogan that reflects your personality. The best slogans succinctly communicate the main benefits of your brand for your target market and trigger demand for your services. Terrific slogans also adhere to your memory.

One of the best ways to come up with a great slogan for your personal brand is to study the most famous slogans of all time. AdAge.com has named the top 10 slogans of the 20th Century.

TOP 10 SLOGANS OF THE 20th CENTURY

  1. Diamonds are forever (DeBeers)
  2. Just do it (Nike)
  3. The pause that refreshes (Coca-Cola)
  4. Tastes great, less filling (Miller Lite)
  5. We try harder (Avis)
  6. Good to the last drop (Maxwell House)
  7. Breakfast of champions (Wheaties)
  8. Does she ... or doesn't she? (Clairol)
  9. When it rains it pours (Morton Salt)
  10. Where's the beef? (Wendy's)

The following slogans were inducted into the Advertising Slogan Hall of Fame by AdSlogans.com.  For fun, see if you can name the brand that goes with each of these slogans (see answers at the bottom):

  1. "Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, oh what a relief it is."
  2. “Reach out and touch someone”
  3. "M'm! M'm! Good!"
  4. "The antidote for civilization."
  5. "Finger lickin' good."
  6. "Because I'm worth it."
  7. “Have it your way.”
  8. "The ultimate driving machine."
  9. "When you care enough to send the very best"
  10. "The Uncola."

1, Alka-Seltzer; 2. AT&T; 3. Campbell Soups; 4. Club Med; 5. KFC; L’Oreal; 6. Clairol; 7. Burger King; 8. BMW; 9. Hallmark;, 10. 7UP

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Personal Branding: Defining Your Personal Values

 

Define What You Value the Most

By Alexandra Seigel

People like to do business with people like themselves.  By making your values explicit graphically and in your messaging of your website and collateral material you will find that you can accelerate the speed of trust.  Typically, people hang out with others who have the same basic values. Swiftly, expressing your values also speeds up the rate of referrals, because there is social currency in successfully introducing you to others who appreciate the same things.  As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it helps you capitalize on the principle that birds of a feather flock together.

Part of the exercise of articulating your personal brand is defining what you value the most. Think about some of your favorite things and why they are meaningful to you. This can reveal your personal brand values.

Here is a personal example from Alexandra to illustrate how to do it:

I love going to the open air Farmers Market. I appreciate the farmers who grow the food organically. My eyes are wide with anticipation as I look at all the beautiful produce. I feel connected to the food I eat. I enjoy the vendor’s kids who are helping their parents sell as they weigh tomatoes, and tell me which ones are sweeter. I applaud the restaurants who are buying organic and fresh for their patrons. I am overwhelmed by the varieties and the choices and I am thankful to be in their midst. At home, I unpack my goodies and plan our meals. Everything tastes better.

From this, you can surmise that I probably buy organic when possible, as it is my preference and an important value. I am also likely to patronize restaurants who buy direct from the farmers. I talk about it, I write about it, and I look forward to going. I am passionate about fresh food and the care that goes into bringing it to market.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing : Discovering Your Spots

Kevincollins123  photographer

Kevincollins123 photographer

We are often asked to describe the process of developing a personal or company brand for luxury real estate marketing professionals.Our very first step is what we call the discovery process. Our job is to transcend the layers of superficiality where it is next to impossible to detect distinctions between real estate agents and companies within the same marketplace.With a battery of very pointed questions and two-way communication we reach for and identify the authentic brand signal, the core identity.

The philosophy behind this quest is the notion that things cannot change their innate nature, NOR SHOULD THEY.Instead, one's innate nature (or the nature of your company) should be proudly amplified and expressed vividly so that those who value, and are thus attracted to this core identity can readily recognize that they have found their match.

Have you ever heard the proverb that a leopard cannot change its spots?Nor, can a leopard spotted moth be a butterfly. Some people look at this as a limitation. But, in fact, there are infinite ways to express your core identity.

Furthermore, there is no scarcity of potential clients who would be attracted to your authentic brand signal if you clearly bring it into focus, sharply differentiate it from your competition, and simply make it obvious.Those who seek the impossible task of trying to change their “spots” are trying to be all things to all people and will fail.

The art of branding is tuning into the deepest concerns of your target market and expressing your core identity as the solution to their problem, their challenge or their predicament in an inimitable way.This is a very creative process and we love doing it.

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Essentials: Blazing New Paths with Brand Originality

For luxury real estate marketing professionals understanding what makes you an original is one of the keys to a successful luxury real estate practice. If you want to be the standout in your marketplace originality, the quality of newness and the ability to depart from tradition or the norm, is a necessity.

When originality is accompanied by authenticity in your personal brand you have the ingredients to become an “overnight success” once you encounter the right opportunity. And, opportunities are plentiful if you believe in yourself.

Here is an example of the place where originality, authenticity and opportunity all came together and created a global personal brand overnight. The recent emergence of Susan Boyle, runner up contestant on the very popular British television show, Britain’s’ Got Talent, is a case in point. An ordinary Scottish housewife with a dream of singing Andrew Lloyd Weber songs like Elaine Page emerges as one of the crowd’s favorites and catches the attention of the world. On first impression, she does not resemble a Broadway star. However, she can sing like one. She is an original and she is authentic. These are the qualities that the populace at large can identify with and praise.

Often, as we are presenting the concept personal branding to real estate agents and show them our case studies, someone will make the quip, “ I will work with you if you can make me look like some of your clients who have movie star looks”. This is a telling remark, because people feel they have to be or look “a certain way”, in order to be a local celebrity.

We hope that the story of Susan Boyle ends that misconception. What a seller or buyer needs is a person that can do the job, someone they can identify with, someone original and authentic.

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Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents: What Is Your DNA Code?

 

DNA = Different Not Alike

The entire exercise of personal branding for real estate agents is geared to cracking your DNA Code. That is, clearly and succinctly articulating your unique selling proposition—how you are different, not alike (not like your competition).
DNA Sequence
DNA profiling or genetic fingerprinting is a technique employed by forensic scientists to assist in the identification of individuals on the basis of their DNA profile. Although 99.9% of human DNA sequences are the same in every person, enough of the DNA is different to distinguish one individual from another

In real estate agent personal branding we identify your 0.1% difference. Then we amplify it graphically, in messaging and in distinct marketing strategies that set you apart from your competition, in a nano-second, in the minds of your target market.

The faster you can tell your target market how you are different, not alike, distinct from other agents, the faster they can decide to work with you or not. People like to do business with people like themselves. The faster you let them know you are like them the faster you can build trust in your business relationship.

What’s at stake in cracking your genetic code through the process of personal branding for real estate agents? Whoever has the most high-trust relationships wins!

Here’s the best way to get started in cracking your own DNA code:

1. Look at how your competition attempts to differentiate themselves from one another.
2. Check out their websites and see how well they distinguish themselves.
3. Ask yourself how you are different from them?

How can you amplify your own DNA code?

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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Small Things Can Make a Big Difference

Eyebrow Pencil Sharpeners: Sisley (top) & Chanel (bottom)

Luxury real estate marketing professionals should always pay close attention to details in their marketing materials, their website and their client services. With personal branding for real estate agents, it is the little things that can distinguish you from your competitors. The more sophisticated your target market the more they will appreciate the details. But, almost everyone appreciates even minor acts of kindness and thoughtfulness. Small things make a big difference.

To tune into the importance of details as a strategic differentiator study the major luxury brands. We are firm believers in out-thinking not out-spending your competition to achieve more market share. Here is a very simple example of how a very minor design element can completely influence a major buying decision and even cause someone to switch brands all together.

Chanel and Sisley are two French luxury cosmetic brands. Chanel is by far the most well known. Both produce basically the same quality eyebrow pencils. But, Sisley’s eyebrow pencil sharpener, an item that costs pennies to manufacture in volume, is so far superior, in terms of user experience, that it is enough to prompt a customer to switch brands.

The Sisley eyebrow pencil sharpener has a cover and the Chanel does not. The cover prevents the shavings from the pencil to scatter and cause a mess especially if you are in a hurry. Clean up is faster and easier with Sisley, a feature that has nothing to do with make-up but everything to do with convenience and a quality user experience.

In today’s time-starved world paying attention to details and taking the time to be thoughtful can be enough to win you more business. Here are some small things that you can do that can make a big difference:

  1. Write a hand written note to stay in touch
  2. Remembering birthdays
  3. Remember the names of clients’ kids and pets
  4. Open the car door for your clients when you show them property

How can you pay more attention to detail in your day-to-day practice of real estate and win more business?

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Personal Branding for Real Estate Agents: Promote Your Marketplace More Than You

 

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it can be strategically advantageous to anchor your locale as a major component of your personal brand identity. Doing so can add significantly to the emotional appeal of your brand because it promotes the fact that you an ambassador of good will in your marketplace. Promoting your marketplace more than you demonstrates your marketing expertise and sells you in the process.

Donna Karan

Here is an example of a luxury fashion brand that incorporates geography in their marketing strategy and how it can be applied to personal branding for real estate agents:

Donna Karan New York (clothes for men and women targeting the urban chic crowd): In a recent article in Interview Magazine, Donna Karan explains:

“When Donna Karan started, I didn’t like the name Donna Karan. I had a real problem with it. I was so used to designing under somebody else’s name that I didn’t want to go out there with my own. I’m sitting in the kitchen, and I see the name “Maud Frizon/Paris, London” on a shoebox. I’m thinking, “That’s cool. What about Donna Karan New York?” Because it won’t be about me. It will be about New York City. Why New York City? Because New York City says the world. I wanted an international brand. Donna Karan’s just another boring name. I want everything to be about New York people living. I mean, everybody relates to New York as a bridge to the world. So that’s how New York came in.”

Our clients, Crown & Crown, AKA The Downtown Crowns (downtown San Diego mother-daughter luxury real estate team): Sharyn and Victoria Crown are experts in promoting their marketplace through their popular blog. And, they are very active participants in their community. Visit their website.

The United States is replete with geographical gems. Which one is yours and how can you demonstrate your marketing expertise by promoting your marketplace more than you?

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