Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Luxury is a Soul Supplement - Part 4

Inspired by a new definition of luxury, “supplement of the soul”, we embarked upon a very exciting journalistic journey in this article series. We discovered one of the most important universal principles that must be applied in your luxury real estate marketing practice if you sincerely desire to gain or sustain market leadership.  Here is a recap:
  1. Determine what feeds the soul of your client (Part 1) 
  2. Accurately assess the luxury mindset of your client (Part 2)
  3. Adopt what we call the “Objective Luxury Real Estate Agent Mindset" (Part 3) 
The next component of this universal principle may require some additional soul searching on your part:  Clear your mind of envy!  Nothing will impede your personal success more, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, than being  “green with envy” when it comes to the wealth, possessions or social status of others.
Envy is:
 “The pain caused by the good fortune of others”  - Aristotle
"A reluctance to see our own well-being overshadowed by another's because the standard we use, to see how well off we are, is not the intrinsic worth of our own well-being but how it compares with that of others" – Kant
Are you green with envy?
If you secretly begrudge your clients for being able to afford the luxury homes you are marketing, this is important internal personal feedback (from you, when you are in your best state of mind) that you need an attitude adjustment. Instead of clubbing yourself over your head with this feedback, use it to propel yourself into a more affluent state of mind. And, watch your luxury real estate marketing practice soar!
Follow Us on Twitter: LuxuryMarketing

Monday, February 25, 2013

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

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

Here it is: If you really understand what feeds the soul of your clients you can better help them get what they want. And, they in turn will help you get what you want—more referrals! 
But, here is the catch. You must suspend your own judgments about what feeds their soul. And, that does take some soul searching on your part.   

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

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

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

Watch for Part 3 of Soul Supplement!

Follow Us on Twitter: LuxuryMarketing

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Luxury is a Soul Supplement

Part 1
Reaching international buyers is increasingly becoming a significantly component of your luxury real estate marketing practice.  For that reason it is important to understand what luxury means to those in foreign countries because it can vary dramatically.  But, what you will find is a common thread shared between luxury real estate buyers worldwide.  Thoroughly understanding this universal principle can help you accelerate the speed of trust with all new clients and also can give you a tremendous competitive edge. 

In our own strategic branding practice for luxury real estate agents and brokers worldwide we constantly look for new definitions of luxury.  We found this very profound definition in the primary title of a book written by Jean Philippe Warren, professor of sociology and anthropology at Concordia University in Canada:  Le Supplément d’ âme (“the supplement of the soul”).  We interpret this as “that which feeds or adds to the soul”. 

And, herein lies, the universal principle that can help you understand luxury buyers and better speak their language.  You need to determine, what feeds the soul of your client!  

In this article series we will provide you with the clues to watch for when you first meet your luxury buyer by phone, via email or in person. Identifying this vital value profile can propel you to make more sales and exponentially expand your referral base. Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series! 

Follow Us on Twitter: LuxuryMarketing

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: How to Create “Buzz” About You

Courtesy of The Shop
Do you want to stand out from your competition and become the breakaway luxury real estate marketing brand in your area? The most effective real estate personal and company branding involves identifying an uncontested or under served market niche that you can dominate.  But, to become the breakaway brand you must offer a remarkable value proposition that catches the attention of the media and sparks word-of-mouth advertising or “buzz” among your fans.  

With the Internet making real estate market information ubiquitous most luxury real estate marketing professionals find it very difficult to differentiate themselves from their competition.  They are usually hard-pressed if asked to articulate how they are different or better, how they stand out.   If you are having this challenge, you are not alone! 

Another word for market niche is market “category”.  Categories are easy to understand in the restaurant business: fast food, Mexican, Chinese, steak house, etc.  You can imagine how difficult it is to find an uncontested restaurant category if you just think about the usual suspects.  Most restaurant categories are usually over-crowded in larger towns.  But, here is a example of how a new restaurant in Santa Barbara, California has positioned itself to become the breakaway brand in an uncontested new category. 

Recently, a friend of ours told us about a fantastic new informal breakfast and lunch only restaurant in Santa Barbara called The Shop.  It looks like a fast food restaurant where you order from a posted menu and they bring your order to the table.  You can sit indoors or on a patio with picnic tables and umbrellas.  But, the quality of the fresh ingredients, and the caliber of the menu items, including home-baked breads, is what you would expect at a full service restaurant for double the price. 

The four owners of The Shop identified a much-under served market:  Foodies who want the quality of “slow food, fast”!  They really struck the right chord with us.  We needed a lunch place that had great food with an original, varied menu that was inexpensive enough to visit often.  They must have read our minds. We have become raving fans.  Evidently, we are not alone as the place is packed every day, so we learned it was best to get there before the crowds. 

Did you pick up on how The Shop is able to articulate, in just three words, their new brand category in Santa Barbara as well as their extraordinary promise of value: SLOW FOOD, FAST? They really thought this through and that makes it easy for fans to spread the word.  It facilitates word-of-mouth advertising, which is one of the most important reasons to get your personal or company branding spot on in your luxury real estate marketplace.

Follow Us on Twitter: LuxuryMarketing

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Be Ultra Thoughtful

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

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

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

Monday, February 11, 2013

Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Laugh Out Loud!

In personal and company branding for the luxury real estate industry, humor can be a great emotional branding tool.  But, it has to fit your brand like a glove. It must fully resonate with the personality of the luxury real estate marketing professional or company who uses it.

Southwest Airlines has done a remarkable job of incorporating humor into their brand.  On our last Southwest flight the flight attendant sang a obscure Christmas Carol to the passengers, off key mind you, and got a “seated ovation”'

You may have heard the expression, “Laughter is the best medicine”.  Benefit, the cosmetic company that took the market by storm and then was acquired by the luxury brand conglomerate, LVMH (Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennesey),has a different twist:  “Laughter is the best cosmetic!” 

Other brands have attempted to imitate the “retro-humor” of Benefit and have not succeeded.  This quirky brand position, when executed well, is truly inimitable.  Another airline would have a tough time imitating Southwest’s brand of fun. 

Many people associate laughter and fun with less formal brands and do not associate it with luxury.  We have always believed that a great belly laugh is one of the greatest luxuries in life and unabashedly incorporated LOL (a text messaging shortcut for “laugh out loud”) into our company’s sub-brand, The Language of Luxury.

If humor is an important part of who you are as a luxury real estate marketing professional or company, by all means, find a way to express that as part of your brand. You will be surprised at how many people will resonate with it!
Follow Us on Twitter: LuxuryMarketing

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Personal and Company Branding: A Brand is Not a Look

What is a Brand? Many refer to a brand as the logo (that includes the brand name), or the basic “look” of the collateral material or website.  Many think that luxury real estate brands should have script fonts, gold-metallic embossed lettering, on business cards or presentation folders for example, or use the colors black, gold, burgundy, or dark green.  While these elements may be used to help express the essence of a brand they are just superficial aspects of personal and company branding.  A brand is not a look!

A luxury real estate marketing brand is the inimitable “soul” of the professional or company expressed via their exceptional manner of interaction with their target market.  It is their distinctive way of doing business based on their priority values and their unique personality.  The logo, the name and the look must symbolize this entire package and communicate the essence of the brand. 

Nordstrom as a brand is known for wonderful customer service.  That is what their brand stands for. One of Nordstrom’s signature ways of interacting with a customer is for the salesperson to come out from behind the counter and hand the customer the bag.  It is a subtle way of saying, “I am accessible to you and I don’t hide behind the counter.” 

Recently, we tested the latest and greatest ski equipment at Jan’s Mountain Outfitters in Deer Valley, Utah, where we have shopped for skis since Deer Valley opened. While in the store a couple seated next to us was raving about how the boot fitter spent quite a bit of time, adjusting each part, and insuring that their boots fit perfectly. It was a pleasure to hear that Jan’s remarkable service has been consistent throughout the years.

The staff at Jan’s really takes the time to understand how you ski, where you ski, and your level of expertise.  They are experts. They are passionate about skiing and they are thrilled to have you experience the very best!  It is their way of doing business.  It is their brand. Their consistency in expressing the soul of their brand is part of the soul of their brand.
A look can be easily imitated. How many auto makers copy the styles of the world’s most expensive cars? What cannot be imitated is the soul of a brand. What are you doing to consistently express the soul of your brand?
Follow Us on Twitter: LuxuryMarketing

Monday, February 4, 2013

Personal and Company Branding: Emotional Super Bowl Ads Fail to Connect

In personal and company branding, emotional branding is marketing communications that connect your unique value proposition with the emotional needs and aspirations of your target market. Emotional communications without that connection may feel good, but they will not significantly increase your bottom line. 
The emotionally impactful commercials were some of the big winners in the Super Bowl advertising contests. The Jeep ad with Oprah’s voice-over took the top prize.  But, will it sell Jeeps? While Oprah’s message was heartfelt it said nothing about the Jeep’s specific value proposition (as distinct from its closest competition) and how it can satisfy the needs and aspirations of its customers. 
Budweiser has been using Clydesdale horses in 23 Super Bowl ads since 1986. In this year’s ad a horse was reunited with its trainer.  It packed a wallop of emotion, but how will that sell more of this brand of beer? What about newcomers to these ads, those with zero connection to the previous horse ads—will they get why they should drink Bud vs. Coors in 60 seconds? If you cannot view the video below click here.

“The Ram and the farmer” was another emotional branding winner.  It told a good story, but the story did tell not tell Ram’s target audience anything about what makes Ram different and better from a Ford. 
In our pre-game Super Bowl post on the 2014 Mercedes CLA commercial we highlighted how the ad brilliantly communicated how the car could satisfy the most pressing needs and aspirations of its target market.  In just a few seconds it established this MBZ model as a direct competitor of BMW and Audio who also target a younger demographic with certain models. It did so by revealing its affordable price tag. 
Personal and company branding is precision communication that compels your target market to do business with you vs. your competition. Evoking emotions through your marketing communications can accelerate and strengthen the connection between you and your ideal clients. But, that can only occur if you first communication your unique promise of value and how your brand can satisfy their priority needs and aspirations.