Making the Non-obvious, Obvious: The Role of a Brand Strategist

A brand is the highly focused, abbreviated communication that conveys the essence of what makes you or your company different from and better than your closest competition.  It is the distillation of your extraordinary promise of value expressed graphically and in the fewest words possible so that your target market can quickly grasp that you are a match for them.  People like to do business with people like themselves, people they feel they can trust. Therefore, a successful brand accelerates the speed of trust and empowers potential referral sources to easily spread the word about YOU.

In our Language of Luxury blog we often offer examples of non-real estate related products and services that clearly illustrate these branding principles.  And, we often are asked how this applies to luxury real estate personal and company branding.  The fact that this is not obvious is what prompted this post.  The principles of excellent branding and brand strategy are the same for all products and services. And, the role of the brand strategist is to make the non-obvious, obvious.

A strong brand makes what is implicit about you or your company, explicit, and does so with an economy of imagery and words.   A great brand is like a flawlessly cut diamond that allows the maximum refraction of light. All of the individual facets of a great brand work together to communicate a singular message that creates demand and compels action to buy products or engage service professionals. 

The role of a brand strategist is similar to a diamond cutter who knows exactly how to take a diamond in the rough and bring out its utmost brilliance, which is not obvious to the untrained eye.  What is truly unique and valuable about you or your company may not even be obvious to YOU.  It is often the case that your ideal client is not obvious as well.  These factors must be discovered and articulated first.  Only then can you develop a brand strategy.

Our case study of Cuties, a brand of California Clementine oranges, illustrates what can happen, from a strategic standpoint, once you fully articulate your unique promise of value. They were able to exponentially expand their target market by accentuating and amplifying their distinguishing value proposition.  They now target BOTH parents and kids as their ideal customer because their fruit is not just sweet and seedless like other oranges can be. Because, Cuties are small they are easier to handle and easier to peel (for small children and seniors) than other oranges.

There is a tremendous amount of focus that goes into crafting a strong brand and also into developing a powerful brand strategy.  But, it is an exercise in futility if the aim of branding is not fully understood.  The purpose of brand strategy is to achieve top-of-mind status and secure the lion’s share of the business.  Brand strategy ONLY applies to what we call the “unabashed pursuit of market leadership”.  If you are not interested in being #1 or #2 in your marketplace or a niche therein the purpose of brand strategy simply will not be obvious to you.   

Please understand this:  Making a good living in marketing luxury real estate does not require being a market leader.  But, gaining or sustaining market leadership, if that is your choice, requires expert brand strategy. 

As brand strategists, we only work with luxury real estate marketing professionals who are either the incumbent market leader or the challenger in their marketplace (or niche therein).  We seek a 360 degree perspective in the “discovery process” through which we ask dozens of questions to identify what is unique about our client.

One of the first things we do is meet our clients, in person, in their marketplace.  We ask them to take us on a tour of their world.  We want to see the homes they represent, the homes they have sold, and the homes they are targeting to list.  We want to understand their neighborhoods, the lifestyle, and meet people that live there.  We ask them to treat us like someone who has come to buy real estate in their town. 

We immerse ourselves in the marketplace, in the buyer’s/seller's point of view and also in the point of view of our client.  Then, together, we analyze the competition, which often reveals what we call “an underserved or uncontested market niche”.  We look for the vulnerabilities of the competition and determine how best to position our client as distinct.  Finally, we develop a brand strategy that can either secure our client’s top-of-mind status, if they are the incumbent, or displace the current market leader, if they are the challenger. 

Only when all of this is accomplished is the new brand identity crafted through graphic design and website design. Their brand strategy usually requires an expertly built and optimized website to execute their strategy which we also create for them.

Making the non-obvious, obvious to a clearly defined target market is our role as brand strategists in luxury real estate marketing and also the marketing of other products and services.  It takes precision to craft a strong personal or company brand.  And, it takes an energetic entrepreneurial spirit to embark on the unabashed pursuit of market leadership.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 12/22/2011 at 8:23 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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Personal & Company Branding: Clearly Expressing Your Brand Personality

Brand personality is a concept that you need to pay close attention to as a luxury real estate marketing professional, especially if you want to stand out from your completion in an instant. You only have a nano-second to make an indelible first impression on your target market. Before, you can present your extraordinary promise of value in words you must first capture their attention, visually.  Clearly expressing your authentic brand personality graphically (as a brand identity) can do just that. Here is a flawless brand case study that demonstrates the power of a clearly articulating your brand personality.

Certainly, you have heard the expression that you cannot compare apples with oranges. But, when you are comparing oranges with oranges how can you make your oranges stand out from all others and become the preferred brand?  This is the same question that you need to ask yourself about your own luxury real estate marketing brand or your company’s brand.

The Competition:

Standing out is exactly what California Cuties have done.  Cuties are actually two varieties of mandarins: Clementine Mandarins and Murcott Mandarins. They are not “little oranges.”  They are in a class unto themselves.  

However, Cuties has positioned their fruit as small oranges that can be handled equally well by small kids and adults, even though they make it clear right in the logo that they are California Clementines.  What is Cuties primary competition?  The answer is the large orange that adults have to peel for small children.

Brand Personality

Oranges do not have an intrinsic personality.  But, small oranges that are sweet can be “cute”. Other Mandarins have seeds. But,  Cuties are seedless, making them even more attractive than other Mandarins.

The Logo & Tag Line (Brand Identity): 

L’il Zipper is depicted as an adorable orange that can quickly be peeled or “unzipped”.  With vivid colors, it provides an immediate emotional response while conveying its extraordinary promise of value (as distinct from the larger orange) in an instant:  sweet, easy to handle, easy to peel.

The tagline further conveys the unique selling proposition:  E-Z Peel & Seedless.  They know they have successfully branded their product when consumers ask for Cuties vs. oranges or Mandarins.  Cuties means small, sweet, seedless organges that are easy to peel. When Cuties are requested instead of the fruit category (seedless Mandarins) the branding process is complete in the same way people ask for a Kleenex instead of a facial tissue.

The Unique Selling Proposition

If you check out their expanded written message you can see that the logo summarizes the essence of the unique selling proposition in a glance:

Cuties have several distinct characteristics that make them the perfect anytime, anywhere snack. Unlike other Mandarins or oranges, they are:

  • Super Sweet Always 100% natural.
  • E-Z Peel Kids can do it all by themselves!
  • Seedless Nothing to spit out or clean up!
  • Kid-Sized Perfect for little hands.

Can you articulate your unique selling proposition, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, in just a few words, like this?  Does your brand identity communicate the essence of your unique selling proposition?  Does your brand personality capture the attention of your target market in a nano-second so they will take more time to learn more about your unique selling proposition?

You do not need to be cute to capture attention. But, your own, authentic personality must shine through your brand identity when it is expressed graphically. It must tell the essence of the story about YOU and how you are different from your closest competitors.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 12/20/2011 at 12:53 PM
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duPont REGISTRY Helps Sell Again!

A property offered by Julie Jones of Premier Estate Properties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida that was featured on the front cover of the duPont REGISTRY A Buyers Gallery of Fine Homes in May 2011.

Congratulations to Julie Jones of Premier Estate Properties in Fort Lauderdale, Florida! She recently sold one of her properties as a direct result of her advertising in the duPont REGISTRY A Buyers Gallery of Fine Homes®. We interview her to see what she's doing to advertise her listings to stay ahead of her competitors in this tough market.

duPont REGISTRY™: How long have you been advertising with the duPont REGISTRY™?

Julie Jones: I have been an advertiser for seven years. My business has grown quite steadily during that time. I am ranked as one the top 100 agents in the United States, and that does not happen without extensive marketing.

The duPont REGISTRY™ has always been so supportive.  I have advertised elsewhere—in a number of publications in the United States and Europe—but yours is the only publication where buyers come to me, magazine in hand. Not long ago a delightful couple from Texas called me after seeing my ad in the duPont REGISTRY™. They wanted someone who really knew the area, and felt confident in calling me about finding a perfect South Florida retreat. After flying here and looking at several homes, they selected a beautiful waterfront property in Harbor Beach. We closed just last week. The duPont REGISTRY™ gets results—it is that simple.

dR: How do you develop and track your marketing programs?

JJ: These days, any marketing plan needs a print element, an internet element and direct mail. I use duPont’s full program to reach potential buyers in the United States and internationally.  A recent analysis of the past three months showed that nearly 30 percent of my inquiries overall came from the duPont REGISTRY™, with buyers from the United States, Dubai and Europe.

I always try to track where people hear about me.  Some just say, ‘I saw you on the web.’  It depends. The younger buyers often remember. Demographics are showing that magazines are attracting a younger readership. That is good news for print. 

dR: How is the web changing your role as a market expert?

JJ: The web has changed how people look for properties.  Buyers generally know what to expect from a luxury home purchase. They are aware of the amenities, the finishes, the appliances.  Their research affects how you present yourself as a market expert. I aim to give them what they cannot easily find on the internet—local market information, listings not publically on the market, community information, market values, and so on. I also use the duPont REGISTRY™ to track what other luxury brokers are doing and the pricing in their luxury markets. The magazine is a wonderful market reference.

Sometimes the web can be confusing to potential buyers.  Zillow, for example, is not always up to date or accurate. I spend a lot of time re-educating people on the market.  I also give them a sense of Ft. Lauderdale—what the area offers, especially for buyers looking for a second or third home.  About 25 percent of foreign investors are buying here. We see a lot of interest from Russia, Canada and, more recently, China.

The stunning contemporary residence that was featured on the front of the summer waterfront issue is still getting inquiries, especially from Europe and California, after all these months. That speaks to the shelf life, the longevity, of the magazine.

dR: As a long-time advertiser, what else keeps you coming back?

JJ: Your front covers are totally dynamic! It is not unusual to see the magazine on a coffee table, like art. The covers, the photos… they are so beautiful. And they are a great endorsement for the person advertising. The quality of the editorial has been wonderful as well. Editorials support my brand and give potential buyers information they cannot readily find elsewhere. High-end buyers need to feel confident that a particular property, in a particular location, is a good investment.

dR: What is ahead for your market?

JJ: Last week I spoke with a luxury-home appraiser.  He reported that the appraised values of waterfront properties in the Fort Lauderdale area have stabilized, with only a slight decrease.   In this area, foreclosures are in the single digits. Inventory levels are dropping—all very positive signals.  

Next year has the potential to be a very strong one because a lot of people are moving forward with their purchases. They are getting off the fence. Prime properties are receiving offers. An associate in Naples is seeing the same pattern.

dR: Is there anything else you would like to say?

JJ: I am sitting in my office now, looking up at the big display boards that you send whenever we do a cover. I have three of the boards hanging on the wall right now. They are so beautiful. When people come to visit, they are stunned by the design and quality of the cover design. It stops them, always in the best way.

For more information on cover opportunities and advertising, click to here.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 12/20/2011 at 11:35 AM
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Categories: Featured Realtors
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Are You Being Served?

Exemplary client service is imperative when marketing luxury real estate if you are intent on gaining or sustaining market leadership.  If you are interested in challenging the incumbent market leader you might want to ask some of their clients this question: Are You Being Served?

There are all levels of client service. Great service often begins right on your website where you have the opportunity to make “self-service” an enriching experience for potential clients before they are actually ready to make their first live contact with you. But, the minute a prospect calls you or walks in the door of your office you had better live up to the standard you have established on the web and exceed their expectations.  Congruency and consistency is the key. Many current market leaders lack this.

Recently, Alexandra and I (Ron here) needed to open an investment brokerage account at one the major national brokerage houses to facilitate the transfer of funds.  Since there was a local office close by we decided to go into the office instead of calling or setting up the account online.  Whenever possible we prefer to establish new relationships in person and support our local businesses.   Our experience was a disaster in client service.

Instead of being introduced to an account representative who could assist us in opening the account (and with whom we could potentially establish a long term relationship), we were guided by the junior in charge to a computer kiosk to open the account online in “self-service” mode.   Shocked, that we were being introduced to a machine vs. a human being, we approached the kiosk where it was necessary to stand up while filling out the online form to open the account.  In an instant they lost us as a customer.  I immediately decided that the minute my funds were transferred to this brokerage firm I would transfer them elsewhere and close the account.

On the initial screen were there were a number of account types and we needed advice as to which type was appropriate for our transaction.  The receptionist called an account representative over to assist us.  Thinking that perhaps, we had encountered an inexperienced receptionist, we expected that the account rep would invite us into his office and fill out the form for us as he asked appropriate questions.  Instead, he told us the type of account we needed and guided us back to the kiosk to make the selection on the screen.

To get the idea of how physically awkward this was, try typing while standing up directly over your desktop or laptop computer that is lying flat on your desk. There is an ergonomic reason that there is a place to rest your palms while typing.  After typing in our name and email address with great difficulty, the shock lifted, and outrage ensued. But, I decided to stay positive and give them the benefit of the doubt.

In an attempt to give constructive feedback, I told the account rep that had I not needed to open this particular account, I would have left on the spot, the moment the kiosk was suggested in lieu of human service.  The account rep did not even acknowledge my feedback. Nor, did he apologize.  Instead, he just cheerfully said “if it would be easier, you could open this account online at home”.   Then, he gave me a card with the telephone number of customer service as we walked out the door. 

The only consolation prize from this experience was the knowledge that this blog post that you are now reading would be written.  When I got home and called customer service, I vented about my experience adding  a bit of humor, knowing  that the call would be “monitored or recorded”.  The phone rep was dumbfounded.   Getting back to the matter at hand, she graciously helped me through the form, which I could not have completed without her kind assistance.  In contrast, this rep lived up to the standard of exemplary client service which highlights the imperative of congruency and consistency.

Every major investment brokerage firm has an office in our town, given the demographics here. Choices are abundant when it comes to selecting a particular firm and account representative. We hope that you get the parallel here to luxury real estate brokerage firms and agents.  You would think that exemplary client service is a given, merely the price of admission into the field.  But, for those of you who are intent on challenging the incumbent market leader in your area this extremely important factor of consistently outstanding client service may be the very chink in the armor of your competitor that can give you the edge. 

You might assume that your competitor’s clients are being served.  But, you may want to investigate this further.

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 12/19/2011 at 9:07 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: A Tale of Two Brand Personalities

In great branding, the expression of the professional’s personality or the company’s personality shines through the brand identity in everything from the logo and slogan, to the website and the design of a store and the packaging, if it is a retail business.  Clearly representing your personality in your own brand, as a luxury real marketing professional is important.  You want your target market to grasp the essence of who you are immediately.  You also want your potential clients to quickly see how you are distinct from your closest competitors.

In the world of cookware there are two stores that come to mind most readily—Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table.  Each has a distinct brand personality.  Here is an analysis of the two personalities:

What makes them the same?

1.  They both sell cookware and other items relating to dining. Many well known brand items are sold in both stores.

2.  They both have stores located in shopping malls or highly trafficked streets

In Santa Barbara, both stores are thriving.  Sur La Table is located in our Downtown area, an area frequented by locals and tourists. Williams Sonoma is located in the La Cumbre  Shopping  Center, known to locals and less to tourists.

What makes them different?

Slogans:

“Serving Serious Cooks since 1959” (Williams-Sonoma)

“The Art & Soul of Cooking” (Sur La Table)

Store Décor and Cookware Display

Williams-Sonoma has wide aisles with wood cabinets and wood floors. In many of their stores they have an open kitchen where they are continuously demonstrating cooking techniques and offer food samples to customers.  The merchandise is artfully placed in sections, and those sections are clearly marked.  The look here is traditional and elegant; the energy is calm and relaxed.

Sur La Table has a contemporary industrial look with lots of merchandise arranged on “high-tech” tables.  They demonstrate some products such as coffee machines.  Everywhere you look there are aisles filled from top to bottom with interesting kitchen gadgets and cookware. The energy is fast paced and fun. 

Logos

Williams-Sonoma:  traditional and welcoming.

Sur La Table: casual, fun, relaxed

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, does your brand identity clearly express your personality or the personality of your company?  Does it help to sharply differentiate you from your competition?

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 12/16/2011 at 4:37 PM
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Personal & Company Branding: Commanding the Lion's Share

 

Brand strategy is a concept that is often misunderstood in the realm of marketing luxury real estate.  The reason it is not crystal clear to many agents and brokers is because it only applies to the subject of gaining or sustaining market leadership. The purpose of strategic branding is to achieve “top-of-mind status” which enables you to command the lion’s share of your market. It takes a certain entrepreneurial “gene” to embark on what we call “the unabashed pursuit of market leadership”.  And, it takes strategic thinking to achieve the #1 or the #2 position in the minds of your target market.    

Perhaps the company that is most unabashed about its pursuit of market leadership is Google. With a 63% market share of all searches performed on the internet and a 53% penetration in the smart phone market for its Android operating system, the pursuit of market leadership is something that Google takes very seriously.  

Recently, Google’s Chrome surpassed Firefox as the #2 most widely used browser behind Microsoft’s Internet Explorer (IE).  According to the Wall Street Journal IE's market share is down from 56% to 40%.  Chrome has 25.7% and Firefox has 25.2%. Can you see that brand strategy is irrelevant to Opera, another browser, unless they want to challenge the incumbent market leader or overtake Chrome and Firefox as #2?  

For most consumers, the differences between browsers are negligible. How many consumers could actually tell you the difference between the top three? Yet, one enjoys top-of-mind status over all the rest. It takes a very fine-tuned strategy to win the lion’s share of mind share and thus, market share.

Browsers can be downloaded for free. So what is at stake to be #1? The browser can dictate which search engine the consumer will use and that is where the advertising dollars are made.  Google was a major investor in Firefox and Firefox features Google’s search engine.  They split the revenue generated by pay-per-click advertising.  Google is also the search engine for Apple’s Safari browser, which is why Google is truly the king of the search jungle.

That Firefox investment was an excellent strategy on Google’s part.  By dominating search on Firefox in addition to Chrome, Google most likely has eclipsed the revenue generated by Microsoft’s Bing search engine featured on Internet Explorer.

What is at stake for you, as a luxury real estate marketing professional if you were to embark on the unabashed pursuit of market leadership?

 

 This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra. 

 

 


Can I have this Kitchen Range for Christmas ...Pretty Please?!

 

Dear Santa,

 

I want to bake the best cookies for you...and my family, so...

Please send me my dream Kitchen!

I'll make it easy for you, it looks just like this:

 

 

 

DACOR’s Epicure Dual-Fuel Range has a control panel that looks like a keyboard and tilts so it’s easier to use the digital touch pad to set the time and temperature.   It also has one of the fastest pre-heat times in the industry, according to Julian Exclusa of Florida Builder Appliances.  “How many times have you complained about how long it takes to pre-heat a stove?,” says Exclusa.  “This oven pre-heats in nine minutes.”  Why so fast? Most ovens put the heating element on the bottom under metal or porcelain.  The DACOR uses glass.

 

An excerpt from "Dear Santa: Please Make it A High-Tech Christmas." by Janan Talafer was used for today's blog,

To read the rest of this article please visit: http://www.dupontregistry.com/TampaBay/VMRegistration.aspx and turn to page 48, enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 12/12/2011 at 4:46 PM
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Categories: Things We Love
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America's Wealthiest Zip Codes

Below is a list compiled of our country's richest towns, take a look... Palm Beach, Florida took the trophy home, but California made its presence known by grabbing half of the top ten honors!

No. 1 Richest Zip Code: 33480
Location: Palm Beach, Florida 

Number of households: 5,505*
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 13.76*
Average household income: $370,136
Average household net worth: $1,486,123

 

No. 2 Richest Zip Code: 11568
Location: Old Westbury, New York  

Number of households: 1,047
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 8.61
Average household income: $282,981
Average household net worth: $1,547,866

 

No. 3 Richest Zip Code: 60043
Location: Kenilworth, Illinois 

Number of households: 810
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 1.00
Average household income: $323,588
Average household net worth: $1,558,833

 

No. 4 Richest Zip Code: 90210
Location: Beverly Hills, California 

No. households: 9,245
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 3.71
Average household income: $278,757
Average household net worth: $1,504,166

 

No. 5 Richest Zip Code: 94028
Location: Portola Valley, California 

Number of households: 2,579
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 3.28
Average household income: $270,922
Average household net worth: $1,531,291

 

No. 6 Richest Zip Code: 90077
Location: Los Angeles, California  

Number of households: 3,553
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 0.11
Average household income: $290,802
Average household net worth: $1,531,147

 

No. 7 Richest Zip Code: 19035
Location: Gladwyne, Pennsylvania 

Number of households: 1,495
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 2.47
Average household income: $331,840
Average household net worth: $1,483,586


No. 8 Richest Zip Code: 10577
Location: Purchase, New York 

Number of households: 834
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 14.09
Average household income: $268,696
Average household net worth: $1,503,911

 

No. 9 Richest Zip Code: 94022
Location: Los Altos, California  

Number of households: 7,103
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 3.23
Average household income: $256,476
Average household net worth: $1,563,480

 

No. 10 Richest Zip Code: 90402
Location: Santa Monica, California 

Number of households: 5,452
Percent change in number of households since 2000: 3.16
Average household income: $266,243
Average household net worth: $1,494,010

 Are there cities missing that you thought were a shoe-in? Which of these zip codes for those with deep pockets would you prefer to live in?

Data courtesy of Yahoo! Real Estate.


Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Truth is in the Details

 

In luxury real estate marketing, the first impression of your collateral materials, your web site and your messaging should exude luxury.  However, it is the attention to details that solidify the impression and make it eminently clear that you speak the language of luxury fluently.

Truth is in the details.    A diamond in the rough definitely has hints of brilliance.  When it is cut, faceted, and polished that evidence becomes indisputable as the light will shine through it and attest to its beauty.  Each facet is a detail precisely cut to reflect the beauty of the stone.

Details either affirm the luxury or point out that it is an imitation.  Art appraisers look for details to authenticate or dismiss a work of art.  Luxury is attention to details, it is craftsmanship. This is what makes a luxury item valuable.

Alexandra’s maternal grandmother was the head finish seamstress for Coco Chanel.  She was in charge of embroidery, hand stitching button holes, and hems.  Hems had to be invisible to look right. This took time and skill and gave the clothing item one of the details of luxury.    

When dealing with a luxury clientele you need to be well versed in the details of luxury.   Educating yourself on every aspect of what makes a luxury home is key to your success.  It is the very thing that will inspire confidence in your clients and will assure them that they have made the right choice.

 

 This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 12/7/2011 at 12:09 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Brand Strategy: The Unabashed Pursuit of Market Leadership

 

If you have that entrepreneurial “gene” that compels you to be the best in class as a luxury real estate marketing professional then you can understand our slogan, “the unabashed pursuit of market leadership”. For, it is only within the context of market leadership that brand strategy has any meaning.

Brand strategy is the route to “top-of-mind status” in any category of business whether it is a product or service.  What most luxury real estate marketing professionals do realize (because it may not be obvious) is just how much is at stake when your name or your company name vs. your competitor’s name comes to mind first to the majority of people in your marketplace or niche therein.   What is at stake is the lion’s share of business. It is known as “mind share”. And, mind share converts to market share over time. Whoever has the most mind share wins, big time!

When you are ready to approach your luxury real estate marketing practice as an exercise in achieving top- of- mind status the entire “game board” or competitive field takes on an entirely new perspective. The very set of questions that you need to ask yourself is completely different than the questions that the majority of agents or brokers in your marketplace ask themselves. In fact, the questions required to achieve this status most likely do not even enter their minds. 

The most important question to ask yourself if you decide to embark on the unabashed pursuit of market leadership is this:  What can I (or we, as a team or company) do better than anyone else in the world (or in my marketplace)?  To illustrate the importance of this question see how it played out when an entire country asked this question of itself and implement the answer.

Singapore’s Changi airport has been recognized as the best airport in the world winning over 370 ‘best’ awards worldwide.  Their airport offers countless amenities to travelers who have deliberately chosen it as their connection hub to other parts of the planet.  At Changi airport you can take a shower for $6.  You can go swimming in the airport pool for $11.  There are touch screens next to the sinks in the restrooms where you can rate your experience or get an immediate response if there is an issue.

Soothing music is piped in to reduce stress throughout the airport. There is over 750,000 square feet of shopping, concessions and entertainment facilities. 50% of revenues pays for amenities and also keeps costs down for the airlines.  There are activities galore for travelers with time on their hands including movies and bus tours of the city if you have 5 hours in between flights. 

Some travelers appreciate the quick baggage handling. Others find terrific entertainment for their kids who can be challenging to deal with on long flights plus stopovers. And, there are people who choose Singapore just because they can swim in between flights!

Ultimately, Singapore has created an international buzz-worthy news story by identifying what the country can do better than anyone else in the world and delivering on that claim. In the unabashed pursuit of market leadership Singapore not only generates over $1 billion dollars in annual revenue from its airport, it has proven that the economic development  of an entire country can benefit by becoming known as the best in class in a specific market niche.

Oddly, the cost of adding most of these amenities is relatively low.  Other airports could easily imitate this strategy. However, just like with the tablet computer, first to market earns instant top-of-mind status in an underserved or uncontested market niche rendering others simply as “me too” copycats. This is the power of great brand strategy!

What can you do better than anyone else in your luxury real estate marketplace?  Is it time you became known for doing that and triggering positive buzz about you or company?

 

 

 This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 12/6/2011 at 3:50 PM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: You Can Have Your Cake and Eat it Too!

Outstanding packaging is an important way to express your superior level of attention to detail. For many high net worth individuals this is an indication of the level of quality service they can expect when they do business with you as a luxury real estate marketing professional.

In the arena of competition for market leadership the differences between the #1 and #2 competitor is sometimes marginal in terms of volume of business.  Each one claims they have the most in-depth market knowledge, that they have integrity, the best negotiation skills and that they offer excellent service.  If they both essentially have the same set of benefits, including their companies’ benefits, on what basis does the consumer make his or her choice to begin a new business relationship given that  a referral was not the basis of the introduction?

You have heard the expression, “you cannot judge a book by its cover”. But, more often than you realize packaging is the basis of choice for consumers who are not introduced to a product or service by a trusted recommendation. Many consumers select their wines based solely on the aesthetics of the label and the cleverness of the name, i.e., the packaging.

That is why some wineries pay as much as $80,000 just for a label design.  In Napa Valley, there are many fine wines of the same varietal priced similarly. In fact, in a blind taste test,  they are difficult to tell apart except for those who have the most educated palates.  Which one should the uninformed consumer buy?

Aesthetics play a very big role in romancing consumers to purchase a product or to do business with a service professional.  Here is an example of how this plays out.

Most of us love chocolate cake.  Get the idea that two bakers use the finest fresh organic ingredients to create a great chocolate cake batter.  They use the exact same recipe and the same oven, at the same time to bake their cakes. In a blind taste test, consumers cannot tell the difference between the two. 

But, following this example, one baker used an inexpensive Bundt pan and the other used a top-of-the-line pinwheel designed pan that clearly made her cake stand out visually from the ordinary shaped caked.  This detail that only cost 1/3 more created a superior presentation that also sparked word-of-mouth advertising because it literally was “remarkable”.

In marketing luxury real estate pay attention to the details in your presentation of your personal brand and also in the properties you represent. That alone can tip the scales in your favor to win more clients and out-perform your closest competitor.  This goes to show that you have have your cake and eat it too!


 This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.


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Posted by: Camille Rabbat
Posted on: 12/5/2011 at 11:35 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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Personal & Company Branding: Co-Branding, Italian Style with Sparkle

Co-branding is a marketing arrangement between one or more brands. The idea is to act in cooperation in a way that combines the strength of the brands. It is also a way to differentiate products and services in a highly competitive marketplace.  It is an excellent strategy that is underutilized by luxury real estate marketing professionals.

At lunch we ordered one of our favorite sparkling waters, San Pellegrino from Italy.  As we were waiting for our order, we noticed that the bottle had a new label and featured Bulgari one of Italy’s premier jewelers.  The label as seen above has a photo of a beautiful Bulgari necklace and the caption reads “Pellegrino Sparkles with Bulgari.”

This special edition bottle was conceived by both companies to promote the Italian style internationally, and according to Stefano Agostini, the CEO of San Pellegrino, “Our brand is an international symbol of the Italian art of living and partnering with Bulgari adds power to our efforts to export the finest side of Italy.”

This is the second limited edition series that S.Pellegrino has launched to celebrate Italian Style.  The first was with famous Italian clothing designer Missoni, who created four different versions of their signature patchwork chevron design combined with the San Pellegrino brand.

For both firms this is a win-win situation.  They came together to promote the Italian lifestyle, and their great luxury brands that have become international Italian icons. This co-branding endeavor promotes their commitment to their country, and also leverages their marketing dollars, which can potentially increase their overall market share.

How can you co brand with luxury services and products and do the same for your luxury marketplace?

This blog posting has been provided by Ron and Alexandra Seigel, the Language of Luxury Community Founders and managing partners of Napa Consultants, International, the leading luxury real estate strategic marketing firm. They specialize in personal and company branding, luxury real estate website design and social media marketing. Photos courtesy of Ron and Alexandra.

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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 12/1/2011 at 9:00 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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