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

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


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

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

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

Wishing you all a wonderful Year of the Boar!

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Monday Musings At The Summerland Café: Stay Out Of Your Own Way!

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We have recently rediscovered the Summerland Café.  They have great coffee and their fare is fresh and delicious.  As we were sipping our coffee, we talked about the best of our experiences in 2018...there were so many, and like we say every day, "we are grateful and thankful,and especially thankful that we stay out of own way."

Ron and I do not make resolutions, simply because a resolution is an invitation to contradictions. Contradiction is defined as: a combination of statements, ideas, or features of a situation that are opposed to one another. " The best illustration of this is the peak of membership gyms have at the beginning of the yea. By mid to late January all those resolved souls are no longer there.  Contradictions have taken over and rule the day!

Instead we set forth our intentions, and stay out of our OWN WAY! We don't repeat them daily, we don't write them down...we don't measure it, we don't judge it, we don't anticipate it or wonder when will it happen. These are some examples of contradictions. We just focus on the now.  What we have learned is that at the right time, the right circumstances, the right people show up and our intentions are realized...It is not magic, it is just staying out of our own way.

Honor Your Reader: Don't Fall Into the Trap of Faux & Fluff Posts!

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As a luxury or any other real estate marketing professional writing blog posts or articles as a means of getting business and making yourself known and well thought of in your marketplace, spend ample time researching the facts.  Use reliable sources (verified sources) that tell both sides of the story, not just the ones who agree with your point of view, and give links to those resources. Honor your reader by letting them decide how they view it,

Recently, one of our daily feeds' headlines stated that many individuals were leaving the Facebook platform, and or changing their privacy settings.  This was a study done by Pew Research.  When I read the study, it presented both sides of the story, some were leaving and some were signing on.  The feed just told half of the story in their headline, however, they were smart to give the reference.  Many would turn around and repeat half the story, and let it spiral via social media and becomes another Faux news tidbit.  Personally, we like Pew Research organization as they give you the facts (both sides of the story), and you get to decide your interpretation.

Two years ago, we discovered that what was one a reliable source for us, (Wall Street Journal) was not so reliable.  They updated a news article on one of our Santa Barbara County Reservoirs, Lake Cachuma. Their headline stated that the water level was so low the fish were dying.  That very day, our local news reported on the Annual Bass Contest at Lake Cachuma showing a photo father and son duo who had won a $10,000 prize for their catch... This was one of the many reasons we unsubscribed to the Wall Street Journal. 

When we lived in Napa, every time severe rainstorms were predicted, the news broadcasted Storm Alerts warned everyone in the Bay Area, that the Napa River would no doubt flood that weekend.  And the San Francisco news vans drove up and parked near the river hoping it would flood. That had a huge effect on the Napa economy, whose feeder market is the Bay Area.  People canceled their reservations at hotels, restaurants and other commercial venues.  Napa depends on the tourist dollars as well as the wine trade.  Faux news kills employment opportunities.

With the recent fires in the Napa Valley last year, the news predicted that the wine would taste smoky.  They did not bother finding out that all the grapes had been harvested and the juice was resting and fermenting in their sealed barrels, and were not affected by the smoke. Think of the economic effect.  Napa County is one the richest counties in California!  We were close friends with the then CEO of Napa County.

Yesterday, as we were walking out of a store, one of our acquaintances was ranting and raving about the presidential alert test?  This gave her an opportunity to to critique the present administration.  Did she have the facts? This alert system became a law and was signed by President Obama in 2015.  And the president, by law, cannot communicate directly to us.  And the Faux facts continued to spread yesterday like wildfire.

Fluff  are the Public Relations Vanity pieces.  We see them in the luxury and other real estate arenas. Some real estate companies praise themselves as the end all be all gift to the world of real estate with the claim that they know it all, and they are the very best at what they do.  They have facts slanted to their point of view.  This is known as an advertorial aka Fluff.  

The other category of “fluffers” are the virtual influencers.  These folks are paid by companies to promote items they "love" and could not live without on all social media outlets.  Recently, one of these influencers from a luxury store named 3 cosmetic items that made her day, every day!  Just for fun and research I checked it out, and I would not recommend any of these products to my friends.

The next category of fluff is the top 100 or top 25 people or businesses in a category (real estate, social media, sports).  This is more fluff.  We have a local one that our Independent publication promotes annually claiming it is a reader- based survey.  The way to get on the list is to advertise with them year-round.  Our dry cleaner recently sent us an email asking us to vote for them, as did our go-to Thai restaurant, and we rarely pick up the Independent.  

Facts are objective. Facts are neither true or false.  Opinion is one's point of view of the facts, an interpretation of the facts. nothing less and nothing more.  One's point of view is neither good or bad, it is a point of view.  

Where do you find facts?  They are rarely on the first three pages of Google which are laden with paid ads.  Those first three pages exist because they are paid for by those looking to promote themselves.  Remember, Google wants to make money, they have to answer to their stockholders every quarter.  They have no clue as to whether those articles have any validity or are even factual!  Here is a telling example:

Our Chamber of Commerce hired the #1 authority on the first page of Google on the subject of social media.  Mr. Expert negotiated himself a nice fee, which the Chamber paid in advance.  When he gave his talk, it became obvious to the members that this man knew less than they did.  When confronted, his retort was" I know how to be #1 on Google."  We rest our case.

Our advice to you.  Honor your reader, spend ample time researching the facts, and give a link to your references.



 

 

Throwback Thursday: Which Niche Can Make You Rich Part 2

As we promised last week on our Throwback Thursday post, here is the next installment of our video course, which was inspired by webinars we had done both for Active Rain and Zillow on the subject of niches. Our entire course can be found on our website if you are curious to see it all at once.  Here is part 2 of the course.  We named this video:

The Most Powerful Law of Niche Marketing

Mind-share precedes market share. Focus on capturing MIND SHARE FIRST.  Market share will follow. It must follow according to this law. Click the image above to watch the video. 

Enjoy!


 

Are You Missing The Mark With Your Marketing Campaigns?

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One the most important requirement of effective marketing in luxury or any other segment of the real estate field is researching the priority values of your target market before spending time or money. Do your homework and understand what makes your audience “tick”. Otherwise, you will miss your mark.

Here is an example of how a major company has misjudged the local values. This is reflected in their recent direct mail campaign.  Is convenience a priority value?  In some congested cities, home delivery of meal kit services is highly valued especially if they have limited access to fresh fare. This is not true in Santa Barbara from our perspective. 

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Pictured above is the identical third marketing piece we received in the last 6 months from Blue Apron.  Blue Apron is one of several subscription based meal kit services. The brochure lures you with a $30 off card for 3 two-person dinner meals, ($9.99 per person) which would ordinarily run $59.94. This is a beautifully produced mini brochure.

We threw the first two out, and kept the last because it would illustrate the importance of knowing the people in your marketplace when planning a snail mail campaign. Whoever created this marketing piece did not do their homework, when it comes to the Santa Barbara County target market. 

Our County has Farmers Markets, 6 days a week on the coast.  In the inland wine country, there are several Farmers Markets each week, as well as farm direct stands.  This includes grass fed beef, poultry and lamb.  Our fishermen bring in fresh seafood daily.

The majority of the chefs shop at those venues, or have direct delivery from the farmers.  Our chefs focus on the farm to table concept, and locally sourced produce, meats, and seafood. One of the chefs in nearby Buellton limits his buying radius to 50 miles.

In the Blue Apron brochure, they emphasize their value with these words: “Get fresh, seasonal ingredients delivered right to you door.”  There is a big freshness differential between picking up vegetables that have been picked in the wee hours of that morning, versus those that have been delivered to a warehouse, put into a box and then sent to the customer.

Just for fun these last few months, Ron and I have been calculating our dinner meal expenses, and we keep paying less than the $19.98 price tag on average. Both of us are capable of reading a recipe.  There is an abundance of recipes on line.   We have also checked out one of the newest grocery stores with their ready fresh meals (organic and locally sourced). Like Blue Apron, they are “chef-designed, step-by-step recipes for each meal,” and their price tag is less than Blue Apron’s.  Thus far, we have not seen a single Blue Apron box delivered to our neighborhood, or in any other area in the county.

Are You Missing The Mark With Your Marketing Campaign?

 

Branding Moments With Print: Enchantment Realized-Objects Come Alive!

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In yesterday’s post we discussed the windows of Hermes in Beverly Hills.  And the picture above is part of their print campaign.  It suggests enchantment, magical moments, and dreams realized.

We marveled at the concept and the genius it took to create this fantasy world on a piece of paper.  There are so many subtle details: the orange brand color featured in the horse mounting aid (pictured on the left), and the stirrup shaped perfume bottle Galop d’Hermes, galloping away with an invisible rider.  This is no doubt a salute to the brand’s origin as saddle makers to royalty!

With this play on magic, they are reaffirming their luxury standards, and why they rank as one of the best global luxury brands.  When objects are well made, they have a pleasurable quality as you touch them or wear them.  You can feel the craftsmanship and revel in it.  And that is enchantment realized!

Friday Fun Fashion Fact: Eco Lux Or Wearing Orange Peels!

Sustainable and earth friendly luxury has been one of the primary items of focus for the luxury industry for several years now.  Many luxury companies like Kering (an aggregate of luxury brands) have had sustainability targets as part of their business plans since 2012.

In honor of WorldEarth Day 2017,  Ferragamo, one of Italy's premier luxury leather goods and high fashion brands has teamed up with Orange Fiber to create a line of clothing made from sustainable materials.  Orange fiber is the brainchild of two ladies from Catania, Sicily who observed that Italy was throwing out over 700,000 tons of peel from squeezed citrus fruits.

Adriana Santanocito and Enrica Arena teamed up with the Polytechnic University of Milan to create a fiber made from the cellulose of the orange peel. They perfected and patented a high quality fiber.  It has been described as resembling "twill with a silky feel"

The Ferragamo orange collection of shirts, dresses, trousers and scarves was designed by architect Mario Trimarchi.  You can view it on line using this link.  And depending on your geographical location, you may be able to see it in person at your nearest Ferragamo store.

The Inner Game of Real Estate – Part 3 Powered by Passion & the Joy of Mastery

We often hear that a goal of top real estate agents is to earn the trust of their clients so they become “clients for life”. These agents are in it to win it, the inner game of real estate that is!  They have a mindset for professional longevity that can only be powered by passion and the joy of mastery.

To truly appreciate this mindset, one needs to look outside the real estate industry and learn about others who have achieved mastery in their lives.  Chef Jiro Ono, now 91 years old, is the owner of a three-Michelin starred Japanese sushi restaurant. With an average check of $350 per person and only 10 seats he is perennially booked at least one month in advance.

Jiro started working at a local restaurant at the age of seven before moving to Tokyo to study as an apprentice and eventually open up his own restaurant. His peers regard him as the greatest sushi craftsman alive.

World famous Italian education innovator, Maria Montessori, was a 20th century master. She observed an important behavioral phenomenon about the way kids learn. While in the state of relaxed focused concentration that we refer to throughout this article series they will repeat a learning task over and over again until they have an “explosion”- a sudden joyful burst of insight.

This explosion is the key to mastering a task. Once they have “cracked the code” and can effortlessly repeat the action, they experience a gain in self-confidence and then move on to master another skill.  For a very young child this can be something as simple as pouring colored water from one vessel to another without spilling.  The learning environment is purposely set up to provide opportunities for these “learning explosions”, the stepping-stones to mastery.

Someone who approaches their real estate practice as if it was a playground where they can continuously experience “learning explosions” is playing the inner game of real estate.  They create the games conditions in their minds so they can constantly win at something. They deliberately seek out ways to better serve their clients and to better market themselves.

Personally, Maria Montessori has provided us with tremendous inspiration for lifelong learning and mastery as we pursue our own inner game of brand strategy in the luxury real estate realm. As a touchstone we keep an old 1000 Lire note in our wallets on which she is depicted. Like us, the Italians truly value education and the pursuit of mastery.

Is your real estate practice powered by passion and the joy of mastery? If so, you are playing the inner game of real estate. May you live long and prosper in your profession!

Avoiding The High Cost of Mindlessness: Part 3

As a real estate professional you spend roughly half of your waking hours working at or thinking about your business, which often carries over into the weekend.  How much of that time would you say you spend in relaxed, focused concentration-the quiet state of mind of the archer we referred to in Part 2 of this article series

Be honest with your answer. Do not be judgmental because there is no contest here! You are not competing with anyone to get an award for “most time in the zone”. In fact, one of the greatest sources of distraction in life is looking outside of your self for approval or feeling that you are not living up to some standard imposed by others.

Being in the state of Mindfulness while you are working is immensely pleasurable and life-giving because present time, the here & now, IS LIFE! It is where life happens, not in your head. Relaxed, focused concentration in the present is the “pre-condition” for mastering the skills required for being an effective real estate professional and also for enjoying frequent moments of peak performance. 

In this state, fresh inspired ideas flow. Opportunities present themselves that you heretofore would miss for lack of relaxed, focused concentration.

The alternative, Mindlessness, IS A DEGREE OF DEATH because you are not present to live your life.  Most people traipse through their lives in a somnambulant state that Rodney Dangerfield referred to in one of his movies as “the dance of the living dead”.

But, once you acknowledge that there is a high price to be paid (in wasted time, wasted money and wasted life) for being Mindless FOR ANY REASON, you can regain more control of your life. It is matter of training your attention to be focused more often in the present moment. 

Yes, it takes practice. But, it is a lot easier than you think because the answer is literally right under your nose! It is quite simple and can really be fun, if you make a game out of it and do not take yourself too seriously. Do not think of this as a discipline. It is a matter of LIFE OR DEATH! What more motivation do you need?

Many have advocated meditation to achieve the state of relaxed, focused concentration more often. We do practice meditation and deep breathing, but that is part of our yoga practice for overall health and vitality.  The real breakthrough that Alexandra and I discovered is the astonishing ABUNDANCE OF OPPORTUNITIES throughout the entire day to practice relaxed focused concentration in everyday tasks. 

Everything from washing dishes, to taking out the trash, to brushing our teeth, walking our cat, Quincy, on and on, has become an opportunity to practice relaxed, focused concentration.  Practicing while we are not working and reminding each other to do so has been a blast!  Suddenly, we discovered SO MUCH MORE LIFE AND MORE QUALiTY TIME, time that was always available to us had we understood the magnificent freedom that results from hanging out more often in present time!

We encourage you to try this and even find a buddy with whom you can practice.  Whenever you find yourself distracted, or get sucked into the soap operas, the counterfeit lives in which so many people participate, just find something that you can do with relaxed focused concentration and that will bring you right back into the here and now.  If you find that one thing does not do the trick, keep looking for more items, until you break the spell of mindlessness.

In the movie, Auntie Mame, Mame says, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”  We sincerely hope you discover, as we have, the abundance of opportunities to enjoy more of your life in a state of relaxed, focused concentration and avoid the high cost of Mindlessness.

Branding Moment: Make An Indelible First Impression with Great Packaging

Packaging is a “mighty” important component of personal and company luxury real estate branding.  If your packaging is spot on you can leverage the sense of touch as an additional experiential means of making an indelible first impression. Great packaging can give you a competitive edge by helping to gain instant brand recognition and also by rapidly securing brand retention (being unforgettable).

Recently, we visited our local supermarket in search of Organic African Nectar tea that we enjoyed several months ago.  We stood in front of all of the teas on display and could not find it. And, we could not remember the brand name.

Finally, after looking closer we discovered that Mighty Leaf created completely new packages for their teas. Sure enough we found what we were looking for, but only out of sheer determination.

Like coffee, tea is one of the most commoditized products on the world market. That is why brand recognition and brand retention is vitally important.  We almost gave up and switched to another brand and a different type of tea.

What is so great about Mighty Leaf’s new offering is their clear plastic packets for the tea bags themselves.  They open absolutely EFFORTLESSLY!  No ripping or tearing the paper off.  That visceral experience is a branding moment that makes the competition seem old fashion.

The teabags are extraordinary as well.  They are pyramid shaped pouches, which allows the hot water to penetrate from more angles. That allows for better steeping and a richer flavor. They are biodegradable, commercially compostable and no staples or glue is used. The carton is also recyclable.

Mighty Leaf does an excellent job with their messaging. They emphasize that the organically grown herbal blend has a “honeyed sweetness” of rooibos infusion (a bush in S. Africa). They use Fair Trade Certified rooibos, a touch of vanilla and a handful of hibiscus to “heighten the experience”. Nectar means, “drink of the gods”

These words engage the mind and the emotions making this Mighty Leaf tea a “must taste”.  But, it is the very first experience of their packaging that “seals the deal” to be loyal Mighty Leaf fan.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Are You Marketing To Labels Or Core Values?

Many luxury real estate marketing professionals are often trapped into directing their marketing efforts to labels and concepts. Here are some examples of labels: millennials, baby boomers, generation X, Y, Z, and so on and so forth.  These labels are indicative of trends only. Some marketing pundits feel that marketing to different labels is what attracts them to buy from you.

We wholeheartedly disagree. We find that many core values apply to all those labels. The photo above states the core values of Green Star coffee roasters, where we buy our coffee beans.   These core values are true for many, regardless of their generation label.  Core values are the guiding principles that dictate our paths in life and in business .  It explains why we choose one product over another, or one real estate professional over another.

Marketing to a label is the lazy solution, however, it is not as effective as marketing to core values.   Marketing to core values involves research of the target market.  That research will determine the marketing effort needed to attract the right buyers and the right sellers in your real estate target market.

Are You Marketing To Labels Or Core Values?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Branding Moments: What Is the Core of Your Brand?

Photo by © Thinglass | Dreamstime.com

Photo by © Thinglass | Dreamstime.com

In a previous post we asked the question, “Does Your Unique Promise of Value Have An Expiration Date?” We indicated that features such as using drone photography in your luxury real estate marketing basically have a shelf life because it can be imitated, but your core, your uniqueness is inimitable.  That is, if you continue to innovate around your core.

We recently were awestruck by an interview with Angela Ahrendts, who is currently the Senior VP of Retail at Apple (previously the highest paid CEO in the UK at Burberry-$26.3M).  In 2014 she earned $70M at Apple as the highest paid executive in the company!  Basically, she said that every great brand has a core.

Rediscovering, revivifying and reinvigorating Burberry’s core, enabled her to increase the value of Burberry from £2 billion to over £7 during her tenure there.  She shifted the company from 75% wholesale to 75% retail by opening Burberry stores worldwide and developing a strong online presence.

The waterproof gabardine trench coat, which was originally created in 1856 for the military, is at the core of the brand. Angela was able to rally the troops (over 10,000 employees) around her vision of making the Burberry trench coat “cool” again.  She empowered them to passionately communicate the company’s core values (“to protect, to explore and to inspire”) directly to the consumer instead of relying on resellers to represent them.

What is the core of YOUR brand? What are you doing to continuously innovate around your core?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Could Wrigley Field Be Rumi’s Field? Will We Meet You There?

A recent Wall Street Journal article inspired this post. It was titledThe Chicago Cubs are the Official Team of Jews—Also Christians, Buddhists and Muslims!” At first, it made no sense to us.Was this some politically correct doublespeak?

The article went on to explain that pundits from all these religions mentioned have agreed that the Cubs will win the World Series. Each is using their interpretations of numbers that are a part of their religious writings, theories of meaningful numbers. Finally, something that they all can agree upon! To read more, click on the link.

Then, this evening, as we were sipping some Sagrantino wine from Umbria made from Sagrantino grapes, it came to me (A) that perhaps Wrigley Field could be the field about which the Suffi Moslem mystic, Rumi, referred. Here is the quote: 

"Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing

and right doing there is a field.

I’ll meet you there."

We could not help but reflect on the idea that all of us should try to find such a field, where it is safe to be friends, instead of enemies based on beliefs, dogmas and past wrongdoings. Will we meet you in Rumi’s field?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Brands Have A Personality: What Is In This Box?

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What is in this box?  A ticket to London?  If you put the words, "fly London" in Google, you get British Airways in the first few lines.  

Here is another clue.  This is the inside of the box.  There are illustrations of London Landmarks.  No, this does not contain a First Class Ticket to London on Virgin Airlines!  There is a fun loving brand personality here!

Fly London is a United Kingdom based shoe company.  They manfacture shoes for both men and women. Here is their mission and personality statement from their web site, 

"A refreshingly balanced collection, different from the rest of the high street, having all and no trend at all, letting creativity do its work, following the motto again: always progressive, never conventional! We have created an upbeat joyous collection full of colour, innovation and humour”

And it is true, if you take time to check out their website.  They are proud to have given their designers this instruction, "Go where the inspiration takes you!  Don't Walk, Fly!"

They carved out a perfect niche and a great personality in the comfortable shoes arena without compromising style, fashion and fun.   We loved the branding, we loved the humour, and I (A) love the shoes!  I am looking forward to long walks or Flights in my new shoes!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Photos Increase Readership: Get the Picture?

One of the oldest forms of communication is sharing pictures. If you want your blog to actually be read by humans, not just crawling Internet robots, start your posts with great photos. Let your primary photo convey the overarching theme of your post.

It is a well known fact that communicating with photos increases readership. Posts with photos are read 94% more often than those without them. That is because images are more likely to be retained in our memory, rather than abstract verbal ideas. 60% of consumers are more likely to contact a business when an image shows up in a local search, according to our research.

The photos in this post are images from the Lascaux Caves in France. They are thought to be over 17,000 years old. What is interesting about them is that they depict animals that existed at the time of the painting based on fossils found of such animals. Our ancestors were communicating their lives with us.

Flash forward! Snapchat (recently renamed, Snap, Inc.) gets the picture. They are coming out with a new "toy" called Spectacles. These are sunglasses that let you capture and share 10 second videos hands-free from your personal point of views, videos that will instantly disappear after they are viewed. The popularity of Snapchat demonstrates that pictures are used more and more as a mode of communication.

Can you see why a blog post without a photo completely misses the picture? After all, most of us learned how to read with picture books.

Great photos conveying your key message not only catch people's attention, they hold attention as your audience is reading your blog post. Take the time to select interesting pictures and watch your readership Increase.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace

Change Your Perspective: Say Yes To More Business!

People see and interpret things differently. Your ability to shift your point of view and see things their way may just be one of the most important skills to develop when dealing with affluent clients in real estate or any service business.

One of our most memorable travel experiences and life lessons occurred while visiting the Vasarely Museum in Aix-en-Provence, southern France. Victor Vasarely was known as the “grandfather of op art”, the art movement that incorporates optical illusions in abstract compositions. 

Vasarely’s works included huge carpets that were hung on walls, sculptures and many two-dimensional pieces that give the viewer a sense of movement, camouflaged images, vibrating patterns, or of three-dimensional warping or swelling.

Vasarely’s compositions often shift perspective completely as you gaze upon them. One moment they are concave and then convex the next moment.  When we left the museum we literally had to sit down and get acclimated again to our normal surroundings.

The take-away that left an indelible impression for us was the idea that we actually craft our own realities in our minds as we view the objects “out there”. The same set of “facts” can take on completely different meanings given the context or worldview that each of us holds.

That is why it is essential that we have agreed upon ground rules to facilitate our interactions with each other. Yet, it is so important that we also understand that people see and interpret things differently.

In tennis for example, with multiple cameras triangulate impressions digitally, a ball is objectively either on the line or out (within a minute agreed upon margin for error). All umpires, players and fans agree upon this objective rule, which eliminates subjective disputes.

Apart from these rules, we need to champion diversity and creativity in perception.  That is the source of innovation and of invention. Practice shifting your point of view and appreciating other’s perspectives more often. You will find that you will attract more affluent clients when you do

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Going For Gold & Fun: The Competitive Advantage of Precision Teamwork

As a luxury real estate marketing professional you have a distinct competitive advantage if you operate as a team. However, the secret to winning the game is to develop PRECISION teamwork and that requires the total alignment of purpose among all team members. Those teams who win medals in the Olympics are shining examples of precision teamwork.

Whether you are a solopreneur with a support staff, a partnership, or a group of professionals each individual member of the team has his or her own purpose. It is essential that you discover the chief aim of each person, then, communicate that explicitly and openly. Only then can you clearly see how your purposes actually can align.

In selecting a partner it is wise to find someone who has the same level of ambition as you. As a husband and wife team who has worked together in several businesses, we have truly experienced the power of precision teamwork

We have a rule that everything we pursue together must be what we call a “hell yes!” If one of us disagrees we usually drop the idea, and take no action. But, this does not represent a subordination of individuality. We are both strong individuals on our own and very effective persuaders. We often laugh at each other’s clever persuasion techniques. It is fun because we trust that our overarching purposes are identical and totally aligned.

Our mutual purpose is to individually experience the certainty of our ability to make our dreams come true. This transcends the importance of any particular goal and makes our mutual endeavors more like a game that we help each to win.

Nothing is more important than maintaining our relationship of trust as a team. With that in mind, together, we are always bigger than any obstacle that can arise.

If one of us feels particularly strong about some pursuit, we support each other by encouraging the other to trust their intuition and see how it plays out in the realm of action. We trust that the stronger willed partner will either expand our horizons or jettison the idea entirely.

In a group, however, not everyone has the same level of ambition. This does not diminish the power of each individual’s contribution to the overall aim of the team. Role players can make or break a team.

When we owned a commercial real estate firm we were a small but mighty group of five. By creating a small, high-powered team we were able to more quickly dominate our niche in high-end retail development and leasing, and also corporate relocation for the entertainment industry, in Beverly Hills and the adjacent areas.

Like a gold metal winning Olympic team, when your purposes are aligned, precision teamwork flourishes. More, importantly, from our personal perspective, you simply have more fun!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

A Better You: Not Just Me, Myself And "I"!

In a previous post about our Mid-Year Business Check Up, we mentioned a very important paradigm shift that is now required if you are interested in achieving market leadership in your marketplace. There seemed to be a bit of confusion about this topic, so this post is intended to make this crucial point even clearer.

The paradigm shift that we are referring to is this:  The business of residential real estate is no longer a game of marketing real estate; it is a game of marketing YOU! 

Due to public access of real estate listing information via the Internet, everyone has the exact same inventory, with the exception of pocket listings.  That makes both the information and YOU a commodity.

Here is where the clarity is needed. By YOU we mean your unique brand of doing business. We have to assume that most competent agents have knowledge of their marketplace, good negotiation skills and have integrity. Can you see that even these fine qualities become commodities? In this context what makes YOU stand out?

That is why it is so important to identify what you can do better than anyone else, express your unique promise of value is just a few words, and then BRING A BETTER YOU TO THE GAME by doing the following:

 

  1.     GET OUT THERE AND MEET MORE PEOPLE FACE-TO-FACE THAN YOUR CLOSEST COMPETITION. BE INTERESTED, NOT INTERESTING.
  2.     COMMUNICATE YOUR UNIQUE PROMISE OF VALUE TO MORE PEOPLE THAN YOUR COMPETITION
  3.     BE MORE VISIBLE IN YOUR COMMUNITY THAN YOUR COMPETITION
  4.     CONSISTENTLY STAY IN TOUCH WITH YOUR EVER-EXPANDING REFERRAL BASE, AND DO SO BETTER THAN YOUR COMPETITION
  5.     ASK MORE PEOPLE TO INTRODUCE YOU TO MORE PEOPLE

 

That is what we mean by marketing YOU, a BETTER YOU, not just me, myself and I.

 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Sharply Focused Niche Marketing: A $1 Billion Idea!

The power of focus cannot be emphasized enough if you want to dominate a luxury real estate market niche in your area.  A single strategy that is sharply focused can make you rich while all others are faced with cutthroat competition!

Five years ago Mike Dubin launched an online business through which he sells razors as a subscription service, shipped by mail. His company, Dollar Shave Club in Venice, California, has been sold to Unilever for a cool $1Billion. 

His strategy is simple:  A great shave for a few bucks a month.  His slogan is precise, stating the unique promise of value in just 4 words:  “Shave Money. Shave Time!”

Knowing his target market’s psychographics inside and out, he got away with a big fat claim, using taboo marketing: “OUR BLADES ARE F**KING GREAT!

The Dollar Shave Club rapidly gained popularity with a You Tube video that went viral. It was viewed almost 23 million times. Check it out below!

A single strategy can make you rich if you have the right niche! Hopefully, this will help to dispel your fears of choosing a niche that is too narrow, providing there is a large enough target market that can potentially satisfy your financial goals.

To learn more about niche marketing click here: Which Niche Can Make You Rich? 

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International is the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  They work exclusively with professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership. With an expertise in personal branding, company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.