Thursday, October 31, 2013

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: What Marigolds Revealed about Cultures


As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it is important to understand the different cultures one deals with.  Knowing about different cultures around the world and in our country's evergrowing melting pot creates a bridge of understanding, when dealing with citizens of other countries.

As we passed by a flower stand, we noticed more long stemmed marigolds as well as potted ones.  There was a sign on the potted ones.  The sign read "POR DIA  DE MUERTOS!" This led us to investigate further.  Dia de Muertos is an official Mexican holiday.  The holiday is celebrated by getting together with family and friends and reminisce about those who have passed.  These celebrations are on October 31, November 1, and 2nd.
Mexicans build altars honoring the dearly departed. These altars are decorated with sugar skulls, favorite foods, and beverages  of the deceased and marigolds.  The symbol of the Day of the Dead is know as Catrina, pictured above.  This is a portrait done with seeds.

This holiday according to scholars can be traced back ot the Aztecs and was dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuaff, who was the queen of the underworld.  This celebration has spread throughout the world: Brazil has Dia de Finados, a public holiday, and Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches.  In Spain, there are festivals and parades remembering the dead.  Similar celebrations can be found in Europe, Asia and Africa.
Halloween is a contraction of All Hallows Eve.  It is part of the trio known as Hallomas (All Saints' Day and All Soul's Day the other two), which lasts from October 31 to November 2nd.  Hallowmas consists of all three celebrations is intended to remember the dead, including martyrs, saints and all departed Christians.  We have more in common than we think.

Happy Halloween, Cheers, Ron & Alexandra
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Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Brand Strategy: What You Can Learn from the World's Most Highly Valued Brands - Part 2

iWORKS   - Photo Courtesy of Apple
In Part 1 of this articles series we discussed the importance of thinking strategically and studying the brand strategies of the most valued brands in the world if you want to sustain your own market leadership as a luxury real estate professional.   Here we continue with Microsoft’s biggest brand strategy challenge. 

Microsoft, a late comer in the race to dominate the world of mobile devices, has a potentially strong competitive advantage over Apple in the tablet war:  A deep corporate client database of satisfied Windows customers who use Microsoft Office, their productivity suite of software (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc).  Enterprises and governments, who represent a huge untapped market for tablets, are increasingly finding new ways of using tablets for light computing, rather than using PCs, on the job. Of course, Samsung and other Android-based tablet manufacturers want in on this market segment, too. 

Along with Apple’s recent launch of new iPads came a bombshell that may become Microsoft’s worst nightmare. On all new iPads, Apple is giving away iWorks (Apple’s own productivity suite: Pages, Numbers and Keynote) for FREE! Plus, they have developed a version of iWorks that works in iCloud, which is accessible by Macs, all PCs, and ANY mobile devise with a browser, including all Android and Windows mobile devices.  And, that is FREE, TOO!  We highly recommend iWorks for luxury real estate marketing professionals.

Microsoft charges up to $15 per user per month for their cloud-based Office 365! But, iWorks is fully compatible with Word, Excel and PowerPoint. For example, you can import a Word document into Pages, collaborate on the document with colleagues from all over the world via iCloud.com, then download it in either Pages or Word or PDF format to any computer. 

The one-two punch of FREE (and stunningly simple to use) iWorks creates a buffer zone for would-be tablet competitors like Microsoft, Samsung and (Google’s) Motorola. It also provides a switching barrier for customers who have all of their documents, spreadsheets and presentations stored in Apple’s locker, i.e., in iCloud. 

If tablets are going to replace PCs as the primary computing device Apple has a clear shot at sustaining and expanding their dominance in the post PC era.
Amazon’s Kindle, which is primarily a consumer tablet, may still have its niche. But, it has no chance of catching the iPad. And, as we will cover in Part 3 of this article series, Android’s greatest weakness in tablets is Apple’s greatest strength. 

We will also discuss how you can apply the same strategic thinking of the world's most highly valued brands to your own luxury real estate marketing practice to gain or sustain market leadership.


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Monday, October 28, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Brand Strategy: What You Can Learn from the World's Most Highly Valued Brands

As a challenger, it takes a sharply focused strategy to secure top-of-mind status in your luxury real estate marketplace, and also to seize the lion’s share of business from the incumbent market leader. Complacent leaders can often be caught off-guard by a challenger with a fine-tuned brand strategy. If you want to sustain your own market leadership THINK STRATEGICALLY! Study the brand strategies of the most highly valued brands in the world.  And, that is what we begin to explore in this article series. 

Lately, doubts have been cast about the ability of Apple (#1 highest valued brand in the world) to fend off the fierce competition of Google (#2), Samsung (#30), Amazon (#14) and Microsoft (#7) in the realm of smart phones and tablet computers. Sustaining their market leadership will require Apple to create an impenetrable buffer zone to protect their overall lead in these combined categories, in terms of revenue, and create switching barriers, to hold on to existing customers. 

But, first let’s start with Google who wants to rule the world of online advertising. One of their key strategies is offering their Android operating system software for FREE.  Better yet, they entice device makers and app developers to use Android though profit sharing on the sale of apps in their app store. 

Some pundits believe that this "better than free" strategy along with Google’s Motorola acquisition will significantly drive down the prices of smart phones and tablet hardware, which could completely commissioned those devices.  The cost of offering cheap hardware, free software and cash incentives constitutes their buffer zone. And, it should be offset with Google’s increased ad revenue given their potential dominance over the highest volume of devices in the world, which are Android based.

This could potentially be a huge threat to Apple  But, Apple is definitely not complacent.  In Part 2 of this article series we will explore what Apple’s strategy appears to be for maintaining their leadership position as the world’s most valuable brand.   

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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Tip: Fake it till You Make it? Not in Real Estate!

Not long ago someone sent us a link to a video, where a well-known speaker (a real estate broker) emphatically stated that all real estate is alike.  As long as you know the basics, i.e., farming and writing an offer, you can be tops in any of the different categories of real estate. 

This individual went on to say that all you need to be known as a Luxury Real Estate agent or a Commercial Real Estate agent is to print a card with your name and contact information.  Just put Commercial or Luxury Real Estate Agent under your name, and get on the phone, because those agents who pretend to specialize in those arenas do not farm.

When we were managing a real estate office in Napa on behalf of a client, someone inquired about buying a vineyard.  One of the agents said, I drink wine: therefore, I can take that lead!  Really?  What do you know about vineyards?  Have you sold one?  What are the permits, city restrictions, water rights involved in creating a new vineyard?  How many plants can be in a row?  Is it better to start a new vineyard, or buy an existing vineyard because one can add value if the vineyard was planted in the 60’s.  Which area of Napa is better suited for Cabernet Sauvignon, or Chardonnay? 

Here is another example.  I work in a commercial building, and I can sell commercial real estate.  Really?  How do you compute an IRR (Internal Rate of Return)?  Do you know what an Estoppel Certificate is?  What is the Cap Rate of that building?  Is the building up to handicap/earthquake codes?

I eat at restaurants: therefore I can lease and sell restaurants.  Really?  What are the handicap rules for the turning radius for a wheelchair in the bar area?  What is the size of the gas line? What are the fire restrictions, and does it have the required parking ratio?  Can you get a liquor license?

I own a Louis Vuitton purse: therefore I can sell luxury homes.  Really?  Can you tell the difference between mahogany floors and dark walnut ones?  Have you ever seen Purple Heart wood?  Do you know where the umbrella can be found in a Rolls Royce? Do you know the value of seamless glass for sliding glass doors? Have you heard of a La Cornue stove or an Aga stove, pictured above?

Passing the real estate agent/broker exam is a baby step in becoming a real estate expert in any field of real estate.    In these areas of specialization, clients often know more than you do, and they will see right through your arrogance.  The French have two applicable sayings:  “You cannot jump higher than your derriere!”. The second one is:“There is nothing worse than the arrogance of ignorance!”

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Websites: What You Need to Know About Google’s New Algorithms - Part 2

PART 2:  Gourmet Food for Thought vs.. Junk Food for Robots
 In Part 1 of this article series we discussed that Google’s new algorithm, Hummingbird, will be a game changer for many luxury real estate marketing professionals who have been building their online reputation through blogging. Content is still king. But, it is not necessarily the often-searched keywords that Google is trying to match with your keyword-laden content to bring traffic to your website.  

The user’s intent is now what Google is trying to decipher, which may not be expressed explicitly in keywords when they type in their search queries. Thus, QUALITY CONTENT, what we call “gourmet food for thought”, that truly satisfies the user’s query will reign supreme and dethrone content that was merely “junk food for Goggle robots”.  

To give you an idea of the significance of this change, look at what happened to Demand Media’s eHow, with its “content farm” business model. At eHow.com you can type in a ‘how-to” question and find multiple articles on just about any topic. To build its content library eHow was hiring freelance authors to churn out as many as 200,000 articles per month in order to capitalize on Google’s previous keyword-dominant algorithm. Today, Demand Media, which was valued at over $2 billion when they went public in 2011, has a market capitalization of below $500 million as their stock dropped 79% from its early peak. 

For luxury real estate marketing professionals the take-away lesson from eHow’ dependency on Google is this:  Take the time to examine your content “recipes”.  

If you want to be a market leader you must become a gourmet when it comes to content. Creating satisfying, quality editorial content, (including excellent photos and videos that help tell your story), this is what it takes to be newsworthy, buzz-worthy and follow-worthy. Original, quality content will serve you far better than producing junk food for robots.  But, the key is to have a unique “P.O.V” (Point of View).

If you have ever watched The Next Food Star on HGTV, which is the contest to find talent for fresh new TV content, you have seen the mentors on the show insist that the contestants have a unique point of view, an angle, or a handle.  For example, Rachel Ray’s POV is “the girl next door”. The 2013 winner, Damaris, offers Southern Style cooking lessons for men so they can attract or impress the girl of their dreams. 

We understand that it can be challenging to figure out what your unique selling proposition is, or what your extraordinary promise of value is. We help each of our clients overcome this conundrum in our personal and company branding practice.  Sharply articulating your POV is exactly what is required if you are going to offer unique editorial content and stand out from the crowd. You need to become a gourmet if you want to be an online thought leader and a luxury real estate market leader in your area. 

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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Websites: What You Need to Know About Google’s New Algorithms

Google recently unveiled its new search algorithm, named “Hummingbird”. Once again they have changed their rules for search engine optimization and this can have a significant impact on your luxury real estate website ranking.  

Prior to Hummingbird, their algorithm was based primarily on search terms.  But, now people are more comfortable with Internet searches. They are typing in entire questions (vs.. just “topics” or keywords) hoping to find answers to their most pressing questions, needs, or to seek relief from whatever is concerning them. 

Hummingbird is not just an update to the previous version of their algorithm. It is a COMPLETE REPLACEMENT, which is based on semantic searches. That means Google is putting emphasis on the INTENT OF THE USER, i.e. they are asking the question, “What does this user MEAN, what do they actually want?” 

Here's an example from a recent Google TV commercial.  A teenagers types in the question, "How to I ask a girl out?".  Notice no keywords like dating advice. Hummingbird's ultimate goal would be to match the INTENT of the question with the most authoritative web pages out there. And, they are being very guarded about how they do it.

So, what does this mean to you as a luxury real estate marketing professional?  It means that achieving or sustaining high ranking on Google search pages just got much more difficult. At the very least, it is the end of quick SEO: Sprinkling keywords in the articles on your luxury web sites or blogs, just to get “Google Juice”, i.e., more traffic.  

What is the point of getting traffic through your organic Google ranking, if the users who arrive on your website are going to bounce right off of your pages because they are not getting satisfactory answers to their queries?
Think of Google as a matchmaker.  They are looking for fresh, engaging content by the authority on a given subject who can provide real, satisfactory answers to their users. Worthless content that contains keywords that happen to be contained in the users’ queries, most likely, will no longer constitute a match. 

Continued success in Internet marketing for luxury real estate, in light of Hummingbird, will require that you sharply define your unique selling proposition or your unique promise of value as an online authority in your field or your niche.  All this takes time, to build your reputation online. 

Lately, we have been asking the question, “Is it still worth it for luxury real estate marketing professionals to invest their time creating and publishing content just to establish their authority online in hopes of gaining or sustaining higher ranking?” We think it is time for anyone serious about achieving market leadership to revisit this question. 

Would the same investment of time spent on expanding your sphere of influence and broadening your local referral base, produce a better and faster ROI (return on investment)?  After all, not everyone is suited for this additional role that Google is now requiring of luxury real estate marketing professionals. And, hiring a ghost writer would mean you were an unauthentic authority.

Obviously, answers will vary from person to person, market to market. But, as we approach 2014, and you contemplate the allocation of your marketing resources, think about the value of your time. Perhaps, it may be advisable to get back to basics, and become less dependent on Google to generate new business for you.

In your opinion, if you had to choose, which would you prefer:  Top-of-mind status as the Google of your marketplace or top ranking on Google?

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Friday, October 18, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: What is Your Brand Worth?

 
BANKSY  IN  BRISTOL, UK     Photo Courtesy © Lucavanzolini
Top-of-mind status for your personal or company brand is the ultimate goal for achieving market leadership because it can translate directly to your bottom line. More often than not there is a direct correlation between your annual commission income (vs. your closest competitors’) and the agent or company’ brand name that comes to mind first within a specific luxury real estate marketing category or niche therein.  

This phenomenon is known as your brand value. Not only can the perceived added value be reflected in your revenue, it can also reflected in the value of your company itself, in the form of brand equity, should you decide to sell or do a joint venture with another firm. 

The value of a personal or company brand was made explicitly clear in a Forbes article, (sent to us by Fort Collins real estate broker, Dick Greenberg), on Banksy, a British street artist who specializes in stencil graffiti. Banksy, recently conducted an experiment in New York’s Central Park, where he set up a simple, temporary stall selling original, signed canvasses of his “Spray Art” for just $60 each. Keep in mind that Banksy has sold some of his art pieces for over $1 million to the likes of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.   
Photo Courtesy of Wikipedia
At the end of the day his total sales amounted to $420.  (Watch the Video). One article in the New York Times announcing this one-day event would have caused mayhem in Central Park and a complete sell-out of all canvasses to the first buyer in line. 

The agreed upon perceived value of a brand represents a mental shortcut when you think of a brand category or high trust factor when you need a recommendation for a product or service in that category.  If you trust a brand or the person who recommended it you may be more likely to choose it or pay a premium for it.

Here is a true story of how this plays out in the realm of luxury real estate.  An agent from a highly regarded major luxury brand brokerage firm was selected to list a multi-million dollar equestrian estate over an agent from another major company, but lesser known for selling expensive properties. 

The other agent was far more knowledgeable and more experienced in all things equestrian in this case, than the agent that was chosen because of the perceived added value of her company brand.
At the level of market leadership, when the lion’s share of business is at stake, getting your personal or company branding right is an imperative.  It is not essential if you are willing to settle for less.

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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Why Write Localism Posts

Luxury real estate marketing professionals should include as, part of their blog posts, a section covering local news.  This would include restaurants, seasonal events, and locals of note.  One of the comments, we recently received on one of our own posts in which we reviewed a local restaurant said,
One of my blog posts about a wonderful little restaurant in Camas, has over 50,500 views.” –Debb Janes, Realtor in Camas, WA
Whether or not your audience is currently living in the marketplace you are writing about, these posts bring to life your place of work.  They may even spark a desire to explore, even if it was not their original choice.  For the locals, it may be fun news. We are certain that, if we polled the locals around here in the Santa Barbara area, very few would know that Sue Grafton lives in Montecito. Ms. Grafton is author of the best-selling alphabet mysteries, which she started in 1982, with A is for Alibi.

The setting of her novels is a thinly veiled or “artfully arranged” Southern California town named Santa Teresa, is actually based on Santa Barbara. Montecito is “Montebello”.  Her latest novel, “W is for Wasted”, is set around the bird sanctuary (there is actually a bird preserve across from the beach) and near a Mexican cafĂ© that also exists near the preserve.

This novel is one of my favorites thus far, and I think that these statements summarize my feelings best:
“I’ve come to believe that Grafton is not only the most talented woman writing crime fiction today but also that, regardless of gender, her Millhone books are among the five or six best series any American has ever written.”—The Washington Post. 
“Millhone’s (the heroine of her novels) complexity is mirrored by the novels that document her cases: books that nestle comfortably within the mystery genre even as they push and prod its contours.”—The Wall Street Journal.
Ron and I had the pleasure of meeting Sue at the home of a mutual friend.  I asked her about the fate of Millhone.  She said that she had received many suggestions from fans but was not sure where it would all end up. However, she did know that the last of the alphabet series is going to be named “Z is for Zero”.

Locals of note make a perfect subject for interviews in your location-based posts.  As a luxury real estate marketing professional expand your horizons beyond just homes.  High net worth consumers fall in love with a location before any particular home in it.  Spark love affairs between your potential buyers and your local marketplace.


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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Brand Strategy: The 2013 Emerging Luxury Brand of the Year - Part 3


 
Tesla Model X
PART 3:  Innovative Design & Dazzling Presentation
To achieve market leadership fast, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, you must identify an uncontested or under served market niche that you can service better than anyone else in your marketplace, with passion.  But, the quality of communication of your extraordinary promise of value in your listing presentations must be concise and compelling in order to spark instant demand and trigger buzz. 

In our opinion, the unveiling of Tesla’s Model X was equally as exciting for the automotive industry as Steve Job’s introduction of the iPad was to the digital world. That presentation was what prompted us to name Tesla as the 2013 Emerging Luxury Brand of the Year. These polished, dazzling presentations can serve as models for your own listing presentations. 
Each company identified an under served market niche that they could dominate by offering an extraordinary value proposition. Both companies are extremely passionate about their mission; they THINK BIG (see Part 2) and are driven by the desire to innovate, i.e., to “change the game”. 
Tesla understood that to create a truly successful all-electric crossover urban vehicle (CUV) it would have to be far superior to SUVs and Mini vans at some key things.  For example, Tesla included the 17” digital display that was also a standard feature in their Model S (see Part 2). They tapped the Mac Book Pro supply chain and actually achieved higher contrast and a higher lumen level because they did not have the same design constraints that a laptop has. Tesla also understood that consumers want at least the same digital experience that they have with their other devices. 

Tesla reasoned, “Mini Vans have lots of room but not much style. SUVs are big on the outside but tend to be small on the inside. What if you could have a seven-passenger car that has more FUNCTIONALITY than a Mini Van and more STYLE than an SUV?”  One key answer was the creation the best car door in the world. Another answer was offering tons of storage, both in the back, behind the third row of seats, and under the hood where gasoline-engine cars have no storage room at all. 

The Falcon Door is not only a sensational design it also allows easy access to the second and third rows of seats. Adults can actually stand up under the raised door and place a child in a car seat without straining their backs or getting wet from rain.  WATCH THE VIDEO.

But, the primary missing element in Mini Vans and SUVs is PERFORMANCE.  The Model X is the size of an SUV, but it has a better turning radius. It has dual motor all-wheel drive and is actually faster than a Porsche 911. It accelerates from 0-60 mph in 4.4 seconds vs. 4.6 for the Porsche. 

In your luxury real estate listing presentations you must be able to precisely articulate your extraordinary promise of value with passion.  When you can state in just three words how you are better than your competition, like Tesla can do (Functionality, Style & Performance), and clearly demonstrate this with your distinct features and benefits, then you may become the emerging luxury brand of the year in your own marketplace, and get there fast! 

PART 1   l   PART 2   l   PART 3


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Friday, October 11, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Brand Strategy: The 2013 Emerging Luxury Brand of the Year


 
Tesla Model S
PART 2: Tesla’s Innovative, Visionary Brand Strategy: 

If you are thinking of creating a new luxury real estate brand for yourself or your company, or if you are thinking of re-branding keep this in mind if market leadership is your quest:  THINK BIG! That is exactly what the founders and top executives did when they imagined Tesla Motors into existence.  
Since his college days, Tesla’s Chairman, Elon Musk, had the dream to commercialize electric vehicles. But, according to Musk, his BIG goal is “to help expedite the move from a mine-and-burn hydrocarbon economy towards a solar electric economy, which I believe to be the primary, but not exclusive, sustainable solution.”  

His visionary leadership is evidenced in the Tesla brand strategy: Start with a premium sports car aimed at early adopters, those who could afford the premium due to higher initial production costs, and then move as fast as possible into more mainstream vehicles, including sedans and affordable compacts.  This strategy has worked in Silicon Valley, but has not been attempted in the automotive industry. 

Mission critical to executing this strategy was creating an exclusive luxury electric sports car, the Tesla Roadster (depicted in Part 1) that was “designed to beat a gasoline sports car like a Porsche or Ferrari in a head to head showdown… and have twice the energy efficiency as the Prius.  When someone buys the Tesla Roadster sports car, they are actually helping pay for development of the low cost family car”, said Musk. 
The next step was the creation of the fully electric Model S (see photo above), which won The Motor Trend Car of the Year award in 2013 and competes price-wise with similar gasoline luxury sedans such as Mercedes, BMW, Lexus and Audi.  To market this magnificent sedan Tesla hired former Apple and Gap Executive George Blankenship as Vice President of Design and Store Development to build Tesla's retail strategy and network of retail locations worldwide.  Show-rooms in Los Angeles are in upscale shopping centers, where you can find Apple stores.

Then, they launched a network of Tesla Charging Stations in highly trafficked corridors. It takes only 30 minutes to recharge the battery at these stations.  But, if you are in a hurry, you can swap the entire battery in less than 2 minutes.  They call it "'The Fastest Charging station on  the Planet". The cost of electricity is a fraction of gasoline. And, the range per full charge is over 200 miles.

Launching a new luxury brand with the aim to achieve market leadership requires visionary thinking and strategizing; it requires that you THINK BIG! How can you think big in your own community? 
In Part 3 of this article series we will cover the launch of Tesla’s Model X. For us, this was the most exciting consumer product launch since Steve Jobs unveiled the iPad. By studying Tesla’s presentation of the Model X you can learn extremely important lessons when it comes to your own luxury real estate listing presentations.  (All photos, courtesy of Tesla)


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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Brand Strategy: The 2013 Emerging Luxury Brand of the Year

              
PART 1
Many luxury real estate professionals set out to make a name for themselves or to establish a new independent firm and emerge as the standout luxury brand in their marketplace.  Few have the vision to start something truly unique with the idea of “making a dent in the universe” as Steve Jobs referred to his personal mission in life.  

For those of you, who are genuine visionary leaders, let the exciting brand story of Tesla Motors become a vital source of inspiration.  We believe that California based Tesla Motors is the 2013 Emerging Luxury Brand of the Year in America, perhaps in the world. 

Stay tuned to this article series as the Tesla Motors brand story unfolds.  We are about to demonstrate how the same principles that have made this breakaway brand so successful can apply to your own luxury real estate personal or company brand.  From the Tesla Roadster (pictured above), the first fully electric sports car, to their fully electric luxury sedan, the S Model, to their fully electric crossover utility vehicle (CUV), the Model X, you will see for yourself how visionary leadership is the secret ingredient in market-leading luxury brand strategy.


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Monday, October 7, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Benefit by Studying Up-and-Coming Luxury Brands

Luxury real estate personal and company branding is an art. But, it is also a science, as it requires a considerable amount of research and objective analysis to get it right.  What is at stake when you nail a luxury brand?  A healthy share, if not the lion’s share of the business as you achieve top-of-mind status in your marketplace or a niche therein. That is the benefit of studying up-and-coming luxury brands. 

On a recent trip to Rome, Italy we studied many of the Italian up-and-coming brands as well as some of the global brands that also have store fronts on the same famous shopping streets. Some of these brands are well known, but not as famous as the majors like Ferragamo, Gucci, Pucci and Valentino.  

So much creative energy goes into creating a great brand identity, the logo, the packaging and the store design, etc.  But, does that symbol summarize the essence of how the brand stands apart from its competition that is right next door?  Does it tell the entire brand story that engages you as a luxury consumer to want to “join” the brand and become its brand ambassador?  Does it tell you what the brand stands for so you can readily identify with it? Does it quickly communicate its brand values so you know if you are a match to them or not? 

These are some of the questions that you need to ask yourself about your own brand as a luxury real estate marketing professional or company.  That is, if you are truly interested in gaining or sustaining market leadership. 

Join us for a quick trip along two of Rome’s famous shopping streets, Via dei Condotti and Via del Babuino. See if you recognize some of the up-and-coming luxury brands.  [Click Here to Watch the Video If it Does Not Appear Below]


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Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Telling the Brand Story in Beverly Hills

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it is important to pay attention to details. Attention to details is what give an item or a marketing piece that luxurious feel... Whenever a store is remodeled in Beverly Hills, the business creates a beautiful structure to camouflage the construction.

The one we saw today pictured above on our monthly trip to Beverly Hills is of Nepresso coffee makers.  We thought that the little capsules that contain coffee (actual capsules sized for the barricade) for use in the Nepresso machine really told the brand story and emphasized the details beautifully.  What a way for this French brand to make an entrance on a street with several coffee places!

We are looking forward to the big reveal for this store on Beverly Drive.

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Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Balancing High Tech and High Touch


Luxury real estate marketing professionals are faced with the double-edged sword: the dilemma of finding the balance between high tech and high touch.  In the long run, it is high touch that will win out.  Here is how high tech is currently winning the luxury real estate game and what you can do about it.

Recently we have noticed when searching for a particular property by address, that companies such as Zillow and Trulia are outranking the agents who have the listing. 

We have also noticed right behind Zillow and Trulia are the company brands, then the agents who are promoted by Zillow and Trulia.  The probability is that the listing agent ranks # 4 or #5 in the natural search order.  When searching using keywords for an area, similar results are likely to be found.  Zillow, Trulia and the company brands have more pages indexed by Google than an individual agent or small firm could possibly accumulate. This accounts for their priority ranking.

How can a luxury real estate marketing professional compete in this high tech environment?  Shift your emphasis from high tech to high touch!

Have a great online presence. Make sure you web site is up to date and shows off your listings.  Write a blog with a follow worthy point of view.  Make it so interesting, that people want to subscribe to it, because they know you have the inside scoop, and shows off your expertise.  

Develop a high touch system.   This is something that high tech cannot do.  Although we are all digitally dazzled and connected, realize that the big fundamental secret of caring for your sellers/buyers cannot be transmitted digitally. 

One of our clients is a mortgage broker team.  They attribute their success as the #1 team in their marketplace to their high touches system.  Their referral numbers are through the roof. 

Maintain high visibility in your community.  Our clients have adopted the local elementary schools in honor of their wives who are teachers.  They are always willing to lend a hand by either funding a project or coaching the little league and soccer.  The possibilities for community involvement are endless.

In the bigger picture, high touch will always beat out high tech.  Apple is a high tech company who understood the importance of high touch by caring for their customers unlike any other tech company.  They have just displaced Coca Cola as the #1 highest valued brand in the world. 

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