Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Focus, And Say (Grilled) Cheese!

                 
Focusing on doing a few things really well is a surefire way to success.  This was Steve Job’s mantra at Apple.  Yet, specialization is, by far, one of the most challenging concepts for luxury real estate marketing professionals to embrace. They are afraid of losing out on other opportunities that comes their way.
Recently we had lunch at a restaurant in our neighboring town of Ventura that exemplified the power of focus.  805 Bar & Grilled Cheese specializes in grilled sandwiches that are simply out of this world. In fact, grilled sandwiches comprises their entire menu (with a choice of complimentary side orders) And, they have an excellent wine list. The restaurant is located right on the marina in Ventura Harbor where you can sit outside, see the boats and enjoy waterfront ambiance.
Growing up, one of our most comforting comfort food combinations was a grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. 805’s tomato bisque is best in class. It is rich and spicy with plenty of tomato chunks, the perfect compliment to the sandwich.

The name, 805 (our area code) Bar & Grilled Cheese tells you exactly what the brand category is, local comfort food, and also its niche within that category.  This not only makes it easy to remember, but also easy to spread the good word via word-of-mouth advertising. And, that is the power of focus and specialization!

 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. 
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Friday, December 19, 2014

A Branding Challenge: Don’t Sing Opera to a Rock & Roll Audience!


What works in  creating a brand in your real estate market place is  focusing on your audience.  Choosing colors follows the same logic.  So when you are thinking of branding yourself, think twice and don’t necessarily default to your tastes. Take a moment to analyze why you are creating your brand and the audience you are appealing to.  In other words don’t sing opera to a rock and roll audience!

Recently, when we working with a client in the wine country, we identified her color preferences, and it was clear that they would not necessarily be a fit for the marketplace.  So we started to walk around and focused on at the environment and the colors of nature that surrounded us. 

We noted the colors she loved in the environment that represented her  her market niche in the wine county.  We took our inspiration from the golden hills, the tawny color of the light, the dark green and brown of the oaks growing on them and the reddish umber colors of the soil.  These colors became part of the brand’s identity, as represented in the color swatch above. 

By using a mix of the colors of the environment for her brand identity, she is singing on key, the right song for her marketplace.  Her brand is her silent salesperson.  It tells her story: who she is, where she is, and makes it easy for her clients to refer her.   We will be sharing her brand identity and web site which is presently under construction.

Remember your marketplace is the economic driver! Don't default to your tastes or someone else's ideas.  It is more important to create a brand that will work rather than one you like.  Don’t sing opera to a rock and roll audience! And if you are an opera singer, find your marketplace, and your audience!

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.
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Monday, December 15, 2014

Do You Have A Remarkable Slogan? Part 2

A great slogan artfully articulates your extraordinary promise of value with brevity of communication. The trick is to create a clever slogan that instantly sticks in the mind of your target market and triggers word-of-mouth advertising.  

In Part 1 of this article series we challenged you to identify the business category of this 3-word slogan:
FINDER OF KEEPERS

This is one of the advertising slogans for the market-leading matchmaking firm in North America, Selective Search. Their tag line, which consistently accompanies their logo, is, “Executive Search Meets Personal Matchmaking”. In just 5 words they communicate their unique value proposition here as well. 

“Meet Your Future” (just 3 words) is the name of their proprietary process for helping their clients find true love. Selective Search claims to have the highest success rate in the matchmaking industry. 

Most real estate professionals do not realize that it is not just your immediate sphere of influence that encompasses your referral base. ANYONE in your marketplace who may know a buyer or seller currently in the market can become a referral source!  Here we are, a happily married husband and wife business team, spreading the word about a matchmaking service just because their slogan is remarkable.


Can you see how empowering all of your potential referral sources with a remarkable slogan that communicates your extraordinary promise of value can help you or your company gain or sustain market leadership?  We hope we made our point in fewer than 250 words.

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. 
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Friday, December 12, 2014

Do You Have A Remarkable Slogan? Part 1

One of our biggest challenges as brand strategists is to refine, condense and distill our clients’ extraordinary promise of value into a remarkable slogan in just a few words. After brainstorming with our clients and gathering a tremendous amount of information about them and their marketplace, it usually comes to us in a flash! We know we have nailed it when the slogan sticks in the minds of their target market, including any potential referral source, and sparks word-of-mouth advertising.

You may have heard the expression, “Finders keepers, losers weepers”. Recently, we came across an ad for a service that conveys their extraordinary promise of value in just three words. It is a play on this expression.

FINDERS OF KEEPERS

For fun, we will not tell you the category of business this is. In part two of this article series we will reveal the answer and also analyze this brand’s other tag line that further defines its value proposition in 5 words. 

Do you have a remarkable slogan? Can you guess the category of business “Finders of Keepers” belongs to?

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.
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Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Planning For 2015: Dream Big Or Go Home!

The Garden of Dreams in Katmandu, Nepal, Photo by Jerry Way

Dream Big or Go Home is the saying our French partner’s father told her time after time.  If you are going to dream, why not dream big!  My father (A) had a similar mindset.  As a child when I admired a Rolls Royce, and indicated that I wanted one; his response was “Why just one, why not one for each day of the week?”

As many of you are planning for 2015, take a moment to dream big without limiting your thinking.  Shut down all negative thoughts and considerations, and take a flight into the realm of “everything is possible”. This is the wonderful world of creators and innovators.  Don’t focus on details and the how to.  Work on creating images and experience what it would feel like to be in the dream and realize all you want to achieve.

This past week in Florida, Ron and I walked into a dream, the inaugural event that launched a new venture that we have been creating with our ideal partners for over a year and a half. It was heady and exceeded our expectations.


Using your imagination without self-imposed limitations is what it takes to dream big.  Dream Big or Go Home!

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.
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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Luxury Real Estate Kismet Marketing: Are You Aligned With The Stars?

You may have heard of the “star-crossed” lovers, Romeo and Juliet. You may have experience times when everything seemed to go your way, times when the “stars aligned”.  Some call it kismet; others call it luck or joss. But, in our opinion the stars cross and align ALL the time. The big question to ask yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional is this: “Are YOU aligned with the stars?”

Evidence of alignment or misalignment “out-there” is merely a reflection of alignment or discord within caused by self-doubts.  A perfect example of alignment within is when you are doing what you love in your career. That is when the frequency of external alignment accelerates, when positive coincidences become commonplace. Real Estate transactions fall into place more easily. People refer business to you “out of the blue”. Agents decide to jump ship and join your company without having to recruit them. 

We are constantly on the lookout for evidence out there of personal alignment within.  Recently, we brought a new kitten into our family. We named him Quincy and nicknamed him, “The Mighty Quinn” after the song that Bob Dylan wrote. On a trip to Los Angeles from Santa Barbara on Highway 101, we happened to glance at a truck that pulled up along side of us.  The logo on the truck was for an equipment company called, Quinn Cat. 

It is always astounding when evidence of internal alignment appears with this level of specificity. At those moments it becomes undeniable that there is a reciprocal relationship between your state of mind and the circumstances and events you experience.

Your success in your luxury real estate marketing practice is proportionate to the degree of alignment or misalignment within you.  That is why it is imperative, for those of you who seek to gain or sustain market leadership, to consistently put aside self-doubts and keep reaching for the stars!
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Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip for 2015: Get Hyper Personal!

Hyper-Personalization is emerging as an important marketing trend in 2015.  It may seem obvious but the level of personalization has eroded with the advent of the Internet.  Most companies have become reliant on automatic personalization, rather than the genuine article. We touched upon this trend in a previous post stating that in marketing real estate, no one size fits all

Studies done by the Aberdeen group; which surveys individuals and groups as to their decisions and experiences have shown that 75% of customers prefer when the message is personalized. 
People will more likely open an email or letter if it is personally addressed, rather than a salutation that reads “dear friend, or dear property owner”.  They are more likely to pay attention and to engage with you, if they feel that personal touch.  It can increase traffic, and conversion from lead to sale on your website.

The first software we bought for our commercial real estate company was for customer relationship management.  We kept detailed profiles of our clients and sphere of influence.  We knew their children and pets’ names, their birthdays, their anniversaries, their hobbies, and their likes and dislikes.  

Our assistant knew when to send birthday cards, anniversary cards, etc.  When the holidays would roll around, we would create a list of individualized gifts for each one of our clients and sphere, which were budget friendly. 

For instance, golfers would get a subscription to a golf magazine.  We like subscriptions, because for 12 months they remember you, and you are top of mind.  One of our friends collects Christmas ornaments and is a foodie.  Last year we found a copper sieve ornament at Williams Sonoma, which pleased him to no end. Rose gardeners would receive the newest bare root rose.   It was always a pleasure to hear how much they loved the new rose, year after year. Our coffee experts were sent an annual subscription to some of the world’s rare coffees, and the same for our tea drinkers.

Our strategy is giving gifts to delight the receiver.   It took more time on our part to find the perfect gift, for each person.  It was time well spent.   We created relationships through personalization that still exist long after we moved.  No one gifts fits all!
 
How can your hyper-personalize your marketing in 2015?
 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.
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Friday, November 14, 2014

Luxury Real Estate Branding: Branding Starts With the Right Name!

What is in a name?  It should be everything!  When you select a name for your personal or company brand (apart from your own name) it should be the summation of your brand values, what you stand for and also your brand personality. Your logo, which contains your brand name, is a symbol that should be the distillation your entire brand story. It is the starting point of telling your brand story.  Therefore, branding is really the art of storytelling.

As brand strategists for the luxury real estate industry naming a company is one of the most exciting parts of our job.  The art of naming a brand involves part logic and part intuition. First we conduct a strategic brand analysis in which we assess our clients, their marketplace and their ideal target clients.  After this extensive “discovery process”, which is very analytical in nature, we switch to our left-brain, engage our creativity and open ourselves to be inspired.

It is truly a magical experience when we develop a brand name that fully tells the brand’s story in a Nano-second. If it is spot-on it not only resonates with the individual or company we are branding, but becomes indelible in the minds of their target market.

In a previous post we announced the launching of Cornerstone Coastal Properties, our Fort Meyers, Florida client who decided to go independent rather than renew their franchise agreement. After completely rebranding the company that is comprised of 50 agents, something amazing occurred.
Many people who did even take notice of their previous brand have said, “We see your signs everywhere”.  Two homeowners approached them to list their multi-million dollar estates that would not have considered hiring them before, just based on a new perception of the brand and the new brand story.

Branding is storytelling.  And, it all starts with the right name!

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.
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Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Symbolism and Nuances of the Color Orange in Branding

Orange is a hot color.  It has many attributes such as; extroverted, energizing, thrilling, fun, awe inspiring and playful.  Orange is dramatic and friendly at the same time thanks to its ancestry of red (drama) and yellow (cheerful and good natured).  It is one of the dominant colors of autumn and sunsets.

Orange captures attention.  It entices people to buy.  Like red and yellow, it has an effect on the part of our nervous system that stimulates the appetite. Restaurant often use orange or lighter shades as part of their d├ęcor, and their brand identity.   One of the most iconic French brands, Hermes, has orange as part of its packaging and brand identity.  Like Tiffany’s blue box, the orange Hermes box promises a wonderful gift within it.

The lighter shades of orange also attract the affluent and the sophisticated.  Peach, apricot, coral and melon evoke pleasant feelings of warmth and comfort.   These colors are great for the beauty industry also.  Peach and coral walls evoke serenity and wellbeing. 

Is orange one of your colors?

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.
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Friday, November 7, 2014

The Symbolism and Nuances of the Color Blue in Branding


The color blue evokes consistency in our lives.  The sky is blue, the ocean is blue and they are still here.  It also is associated with reliability, trust, and dependability. We refer to loyal friends as true blue.  IBM is known as "big blue," even though its logo has transitioned to black and white!
The other attribute of blue is that it is restful, which explains why we feel at peace, staring at a body of water or at the sky.  This also explains why hospitals use blue gowns for their surgical staff.
Not all blues are restful; turquoise, electric blue, royal blue engage as well as evoke exhilaration, vibrancy, and drama. Think of the many blue hues in the plumage of a peacock.  Royal Blue, navy blue and teal blue are associated with luxury and are considered rich and upscale.  Navy blue is also associated with authority and power and is seen in uniforms (naval, police, and pilots.)
  In selecting your brand colors is blue true for you?

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.
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Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Symbolism and Nuances of The Color White In Branding


Recently we noticed two examples of extra virgin olive oil brands that are packaged in opaque white instead of the usual clear tinted bottles.  Although they stood out, the only connection we could make for the use of the color white is its association with the word, virgin, or the symbolism of a white wedding dress. Oddly, we were not inclined to buy either brand, because we are conditioned to purchase olive oil in see-through bottles.
Could this be a new trend?  Many national and international brands are re-packaging their websites and products using white as their dominant brand color.  Here are the reasons people are attracted to the color white.

The human eye interprets white as a bright color, which is why white is a good contrast color, and not a neutral.  Symbolically it expresses purity, simplicity, lightness, delicacy, minimalism, and sophistication.

In the case of olive oil brand packaging, do you think this is taking this trend too far? Or, would you be tempted to try either of these brands because of the unique packaging?

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.
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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Focused Content Marketing !

A recent report by the Content Marketing Institute stated that those who are marketing without focus, by publishing general content on a daily basis are creating “content shock” for the consumer.  The consumer is overwhelmed by the amount of information, and cannot keep us with it.

Put yourself in the shoes and the mindset of your target market.  Assess their most pressing needs.  A buyer ready to buy now has numerous questions and very specific requirements.  For example, if the buyer is looking for a home with a pool or even more specifically an infinity pool, you might want to write an article / blog post about infinity pools, and link to specific MLS listings on your website.

Focused content leads to interest, which may lead to a sale for you.  When you are discussing a featured listing, be sure to write about the specific features of that listing.  Be focused, and then stay focused!

 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.
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Friday, October 24, 2014

Are Sneezers Spreading Your Remark-ability?

We all know that word-of-mouth is the best form of advertising. So, why do some luxury real estate marketing professionals get more than others?  The answer boils down to one word. Those that spark buzz have ‘REMARK-ABILITY”!  

While it has been proven time and again that many more negative remarks are made than positive remarks, it is imperative to understand what triggers people to spread the good word about YOU.  Some people are natural born “sneezers”.  They love to pass along good news or rave reviews about products or services that are remarkable.   Those that broadcast these good vibrations usually reach many people, even their entire sphere of influence, at times.

Remarkable service sparks buzz.  But, that is only the beginning.  Regularly staying in touch with your prospects and your sphere with information that is valuable and truly buzz-worthy also is fodder for sneezers. 

Keep this in mind: It feels good to spread the word about products and services that you value.  Likeminded people usually hang out together.  So, when one sneezer spreads the word to his or her fellow sneezers a chain reaction is ignited. We call this the chain of gain.

Men hate to shave. Women are not crazy about either. When a breakaway technology comes along that can produce a superior, smoother, closer, effortless shave that is fabulous news. Gillette came out with a truly remarkable razor system called, FUSION® PROGLIDE® MANUAL RAZOR WITH FLEXBALLTECHNOLOGY.  The cartridge has 5 blades stacked closely together and the mechanics of the razor itself flexes to the contours of your face.  It actually glides. That is remarkable!

And, that is sneezing.  We are delighted to spread the word about remarkable products and services. Sneezers do not need to be bribed or otherwise induced to do this. It is part of being in on the fun as early adopters of new technologies and also discovering great talent or services. 

Deliver remarkable service.  Pass along remarkable information. And, you will gain remark-ability!
 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.
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Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Peripheral Chocolate Marketing!

Consistently staying in touch with your sphere of influence through a blog and/or a newsletter can reap a steady flow of referrals from those who already know you and also engage your prospects.   But, what is the secret that the most successful luxury real estate marketing professionals know about this important practice, that you may be missing?  The answer is Peripheral Marketing!  That is, sharing information that is fascinating and not just related to real estate.

Some of these people will occasionally be interested in market trends or what the home sold for on their street. However, if you constantly bombard them with real estate related information they will simply tune you out. They may eventually unsubscribe from your blog or newsletters.  Sustaining their interest in your regular communications is what peripheral marketing is all about.

An agent on the East Coast turned her passion for chocolate into a goldmine of referrals by blogging about a topic that is near and dear to the hearts and stomachs of so many of us. She reports on every type of chocolate and explains the evolution from beans to chocolate bars or truffles. Her sphere looks forward to her newsletters with great anticipation because they are more interested in their lifestyle than real estate facts.

Prospects may have a keener interest in real estate matters. But, if you want them to choose you, over your competition, as their agent you better let them know that you have more than one dimension and also a unique point of view.  That is the secret of highly successful luxury real estate marketing professionals.

 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.

Monday, October 20, 2014

What’s The Use of Social Media Without Pictures or Conversation?


 
Looking back to the inception of social media, we pause to evaluate its meaning today.  In our title, we paraphrased the quote from Alice in Wonderland, “What is the use of a book, without pictures or conversation? ” We substituted social media for the book, to illustrate that some of social media is often without pictures or conversations.

As early adopters, we were impressed by the conversations and the genuine exchange of pictures and information.  We loved the eagerness of people reaching out to connect.   It was fun to converse with someone in Australia, Malta, Spain, and Tasmania via the Internet.  This was a form of having pen pals across the world without waiting for response through the mail.

Internet users were told by the social media pundits to turn new friendships into dollars. They said, “all one has to do to tap into the Internet’s “river of gold” by encumbering the message with key words, and say nearly nothing, except,  “Give me your business, I am connected to you!” Then, as Google continued to change its algorithms, users were told to follow the new rules in order to appease the Google gods.

People forgot that social means talking to each other, and enjoying the conversation. They lost track of the fact that the media is simply a platform of communication.

We have always maintained that genuine conversation and connecting in a meaningful way brings business in.  It is good to be found on Google; there is no doubt about that.  However, will a Google search find the genuine article?  Or, will the result find someone who knows how to twist themself and their words to achieve the top positioning, but knows little else.

We still chuckle at the story of someone who hired the “expert” to speak about social media because he ranked #1.  It turned out that he knew less than the individual who hired him. His cheeky response was, “I know how to be #1!”

What is the use of social media without pictures or conversations?  For us, it has no life, no meaning and no reason for its existence.  With pictures and conversations it is a form of sharing, exchanging, connecting, learning and enjoying other’s perspectives.  Genuine sharing can lead to business. 

What do You think?

 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.
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Friday, October 17, 2014

Marketing Real Estate: Local Expertise Makes A World of Difference

Photo by Jorisvo
In marketing luxury real estate, there is no substitute for local knowledge.  Some real estate portals have been collecting local insights from agents by offering them the carrot of a miniscule chance of winning a contest.  This information cannot replace personal contact with trusted content. 

Recently one of the chefs in town mentioned he was going to Paris for a week.  He asked us if we could recommend restaurants that we had recently eaten at.   He wanted to experience bistros, and wine bars where the Parisians ate.  So, we contacted our friend and partner in Paris with that criteria, and she sent back several of her favorites, along with a local’s perspective and descriptions.

When I searched Paris restaurant guidebooks, Google gave me 847,000 results.  This chef has even better resources than Google such as other chefs and customers who constantly travel.  What he was looking for was eating at places where the locals eat.  He wanted to be where the Parisians are, i.e., the local current experience.

Guidebooks and the Internet are great sources of local information, but is it really the genuine article, and can the reviews be really trusted to match our own standards and preferences?
When we travel to a client’s destination, we always ask for their recommendations of places to stay and at which to dine.  We are always looking for the local experience, and not the tourist’s experience.   The same is true for us regardless where we find ourselves in the world.  Local expertise makes a world of difference.

 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.
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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Brand Loyalty: Jaw-Dropping Service Makes The Difference!

As an independent luxury real estate marketing firm, who wants to compete against the big brand real estate franchises, you can have a distinct advantage by providing   “jaw-dropping service. It may cause potential clients to switch brand loyalty in your favor.

Recently, we visited our local independent pet store, instead of heading out to the national chain store in downtown Santa Barbara. They have only three locations in our area.

A young man cheerfully greeted us and was genuinely eager to find out how he could help us.  When we told him that cat food was our query he walked us over to that department and proceeded to go through every dry and wet food brand that they carry, explaining the pros and cons of each for our particular needs.  He knew the content of every product by heart, which thoroughly impressed us. 
Their cat food brands are not available at the national chain store or at supermarkets. We purchased two of each flavor of one brand for our two cats. The prices were the same as our typical choices at the national chain store.

After this gentleman explained the difference in each of their cat litter offerings, we decided to purchase a very large and heavy bag that he offered to carry to our car. He told us that this was what they do at their store unless we wanted him to divide it into smaller bags as a courtesy. Our jaws dropped!

What a difference in service between the local independent and the national chain store with 1000 locations!  Our cats love every one of the food items we purchased.  This actually represents a savings because it was always hit and miss with our finicky cats, which meant quite a bit of waste.
We started to contemplate defecting to the local independent store even thought we liked the convenient location of the chain store (next door to our most frequented market).  Then, came the clincher that overcame our switching barrier.

Ron wanted to return a defective cat toy purchased from the chain store. The checkout clerk, who knows us very well, refused to give him a full value credit ($3.99) because he did not have a receipt. He was offered a gift card for 70 cents, which is the current sales price of similar (defective) items.
An appeal to the store manager, who also knows us very well as frequent customers, was also fruitless.  He felt like he was talking with robots who were not allowed to override a policy to make important entrepreneurial customer retention decisions.

End of brand loyalty!  For about 3 dollars, they lost hundreds of dollars of business per year from us. Jaw-dropping service caused us to jump ship! 
How can you incorporate jaw-dropping service in your luxury real estate practice?

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.
 
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Monday, October 13, 2014

The Challenge of Marketing Your Brand Online: Is There A Formula For Viral Marketing?


Given that we are bombarded on a daily basis with thousands of communications from various brands it is important to meet the following criteria if you intend to have your   online content go viral.  When you have these components in your online marketing strategy your chances increase exponentially for your target market to spread the word about you. 


Analyze your online content by asking yourself: 



YOUR MESSAGE


Do I have a strategy to encourage my target market to opt in to my content?  Is my content compelling enough to encourage or inspire my target market to return to my site, without drip campaigns or other incentives?  


Ambush marketing is no longer the answer. Remember that your market can click or swipe away in a Nano-second.



YOUR VALUE

Is there value in my message, i.e. is it useful, or educational?  Am I meeting my target market’s expectations, or am I repeating the same old stuff day in and day out? If the message is the same on a daily basis, you will become irrelevant!

In the beauty products world, Clinique invited beauty bloggers to participate in a live, online video chat with Julia Cox, their beauty expert.  They were able to ask questions, so they were better able to spread the word about Clinique.


YOUR ENTERTAINMENT FACTOR

Is my content entertaining?  With the advent of YouTube, attention is often gained through video entertainment.  Volvo’s Epic Split commercial, showing Jean-Paul Van Damme doing the splits between two Volvo trucks, was cited by Volvo as being one of the reasons that their sales increasing by 31%.  Over 10 million people have watched Virgin Airline’s funny safety in-flight announcement on YouTube. This announcement has created a buzz, a fond perception of Virgin and resulted in more occupied seats on their flights.  That’s Viral Marketing!



Does your content have the potential to go viral?
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. 
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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Appreciating Life's Luxuries: Focusing On The Kindness of Strangers


 
You know you have begun to gain the trust of new clients when they feel hopeful that you can satisfy their most pressing needs and they can count not only on your skill set but also on your kindness to do so.  In marketing luxury real estate, the more high trust relationships you can develop the more successful you will be. If market leadership is your quest it is essential that you cultivate within your self a general sense of hopefulness and faith in the core kindness of mankind.

Evidence of kindness and also cruelty to mankind abounds. Both realities exist. The choice you have is this: which reality are you going to focus upon? Cultivating a sense of hopefulness and kindness requires that you defuse your fixation on cruelty and look for more evidence of kindness.

Have you noticed the extent to which the news and also entertainment has you believing that cruelty is far more predominant than kindness?  Evidently, cruelty sells ads!

This morning, in the parking lot of our grocery store, we saw a Chihuahua running loose seemingly lost and frantically looking for its owner.  Suddenly, we noticed that three other customers joined us trying to coral the dog.  Another wanted to wait until the dog was safely out of the way before getting in her car and leaving her parking space.

Then we heard a whistle and we looked up.  Two men were working on the roof of the grocery store. They could see the dog from their vantage point and were trying to let the customers know where it was.  Finally, they saw the owner and were able to point the owner in the right direction to find her Chihuahua. 

At that point our help was no longer needed.  But, we marveled at the spontaneous outbreak of kindness of eight total strangers who, for a moment in time, became united to help reunite a pet and its owner.  It was uplifting for all of us. There was no expectation or need for gratitude from the pet owner. It just felt great to take a moment out of our day for someone else; that is all!


Evidence of kindness and cruelty abound.  What are you going to focus upon?

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. 
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

If You Get The Itch to Ditch Your Niche, Think Again!



Niche players will always have an advantage over generalists, in luxury real estate marketing, because they are focused on taking care of the specific needs of clients that were not being met by the generalists.  If you are a generalist, you cannot serve everyone, and expect to have client satisfaction across the board. You are vulnerable to niche players who can seize your market share. 

Here is an example in the entertainment industry.  The three major television networks, ABC, CBS, & NBC used to dominate TV programming.  HBO, Netflix, and others identified a gap in that entertainment.  As niche players, they were able to supply a different style of entertainment that was geared to a demographic that the big three networks ignored.  These companies carved out a niche by producing intelligent content that is well crafted with good acting, good stories and no commercial interruptions.

Here is a Real Estate Example. One of our clients carved out a niche years ago by specializing in the newer communities in a particular price range.  She concentrated all her marketing efforts on those communities.  Part of her strategy was to meet and make friends with the HOA boards. She spoke at their meetings on a variety of real estate subjects such as staging a home to sell, curb appeal, and more.

Our client is still the undisputed expert in these communities, based on her knowledge and consistent execution of her marketing plan.  Generalists have tried to dethrone her and have not succeeded. 
So next time you get the itch to move in the direction of expanding before mastering your niche, think again!  Do yourself a favor and buy some Calamine lotion.  

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.
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Monday, September 22, 2014

Luxury Real Estate Brand Colors: Part 1 - Some Like it Hot!

                      

Using color effectively in luxury real estate branding can help to make you stand out from the crowd.  Your brand colors can speak volumes about who you are and how you are distinct from your competition.  In this article series we delve into some of the nuances of brand colors and how to integrate them into your brand story. 


Some people love the hot or warm colors: red, orange, yellow, magenta and gold.  Others prefer cold or cool colors: blues, greens, white, grays silver.  

This image of sweet peppers, taken at the Santa Barbara Farmer’s Market, focuses upon hot colors.  But, notice that there are several cool colors that offset the hot colors.  This contrast makes it easier on the eyes to view an image for a longer period of time.  


If your luxury real estate brand colors are going to include both hot and cold colors, one of the important principals to keep in mind is using the right proportions of hot and cold colors. 


The color swatches below are actually samples of hot and cold colors taken from the same image of the peppers.  Can you see how important proportion of hot and cold colors are to a composition?
 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.
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Thursday, September 18, 2014

How to Find the Under Served Market Niche: The Paradigm Shift, Clue #3

 
One of the most important aspects in luxury real estate marketing is to be able to shift paradigms. The dictionary defines it: “as making a fundamental change in an individual’s or a society view of how things work in the world.”  It is seeing life from a new perspective and aligning to it.

When you are looking for a niche, you may need to change your frame of mind on how you view your marketplace.  If only for a moment, let go of your assumptions that tell you that there is nothing new to specialize, and you have the facts to prove it.

In the crowded wine industry, Yellow Tail wines is a perfect example of a company that found an under served market niche.  Yellow Tail noticed that young adults wanted to drink wine, without having to be experts in grape varietals or vintages. CEO, John Cansella, expressed it this way: "People can’t be bothered by all the hype and nonsense of wine. They just want to drink it."    Yellow Tail provided their target market with an easy way to select the right wine for the occasion.

This Australian company has become the number one imported wine to Britain in 2000 surpassing their usual import of French wine.  In the USA they held that distinction in 2003.  Yellow Tail established a new category, a niche for those who want to drink wine without confusion and intimidation.  They have recently come out with bubbly versions and sangria.

Clue # 3 Practice looking at situations from new perspectives, and shift your paradigm. Focus on the picture above, you can see the different perspectives!
 
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.
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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

How to Find Your Market Niche: Focus Your Internet Energy,Clue #2

Last week, we wanted to purchase another Meyer lemon tree  (thin fragrant skinned lemons that are less acidic) for our deck.  We looked on line hoping to find a nursery in Santa Barbara. We were utterly surprised that not a single grower or nursery in Santa Barbara came up for a Meyer lemon tree. We made an assumption based on the fact that since California is the second biggest citrus producer after Florida, we would find a Meyer lemon tree on line from California.


Our search revealed two growers, one based in South Carolina, and the other in Georgia.  The search did not even show nurseries in Santa Barbara carrying Meyer Lemon trees.  For all practical purposes, one could conclude that Santa Barbara does not stock Meyer lemon trees, which is not true.  The only reason we looked on line is because two of the local nurseries had  sub par Meyer trees , and like everyone else we were hoping to save ourselves time on line.


The Eastern based nurseries identified an under served market niche in Southern California.   We were stunned. If someone is pressed for time and does not want to wander through nurseries, they can easily order a tree on line and have it arrive at their home with free shipping.  It fulfills an important need of saving time, and both of these companies who are located back East are benefiting from this uncontested market niche.


Clue #2. Realize that searches are specific, so question your assumptions.  Check on line how homes are advertised in your marketplace.  What characteristics of homes are missing that a buyer would be looking for, that is so obvious no one had mentioned it?

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.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

Luxury Real Estate Branding: Provenance As A Brand Characteristic


The art of branding has many characteristics.  One of these is Provenance (the origin or source of something).  Kanaloa, our fish store has added something new to its fresh fish board.  As the picture above illustrates you can see that the black cod was caught on the Casanova Anne vessel, and the Bling Cod was caught on the Caledonian.  

When we inquired why they are doing that, our friend Nate, mentioned that every fish they sell has a direct provenance.  At any time they can tell you exactly when that fish was caught and where it came from. They can also tell you what is coming in that has been purchased.

In the wee hours of the morning Kanaloa trucks are at LAX, picking up fish shipped by each vessel.  Unlike other fish purveyors who deal with a broker, they have direct access to the freshest fish, which is why we shop there.

As a luxury real estate agent, you can claim provenance if you are born and bred in your marketplace.  It can distinguish you from the others, in that because of your birthright you may have more knowledge than any other agent in the marketplace.  

This may or may not be a good way to differentiate yourself, it all depends on the marketplace.  This also applies to real estate in general.

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. 
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