Luxury Real Estate Website Design: Nature Can Inspire Extraordinary Design -Part 4

This article series on Luxury Real Estate Website Design was inspired by a special behind-the-scene tour of the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum and a private viewing of their sample collection of sea shells and other mollusks.  In Part 3 we showed an example of creating a Wine Country personal brand identity based on the colors of red and white wine: burgundy and gold. Here, in Part 4, we circle back to our samples of shells and focus on the texture of the sea scallops that are also variations of burgundy and gold colors. 

In the same way a change in one minor component of DNA creates an entirely different species, so it is true that slightly different combination or variation of colors and textures can create an entirely different brand.  Certainly, there are a number of luxury real estate marketing professionals in the Wine Country.  But, expressing one agent’s personal brand by factoring in unique gradations of colors and textures that reflect personal values and personality traits, results in a brand identity that stands out from all rest. 

Texture is created graphically through light and shadow of colors and also the repetition of patterns.  Notice how the proportions of burgundy and gold seen in the stripes and the spaces between stripes of these two scallops depicted above create two distinct designs and identities.  The difference in DNA between the two is minor yet the outward appearance is quite dissimilar.

Scallop on Left

Wine Country Burgundy (from Part 3)

Scallop on Right


One of the greatest challenges of luxury real estate marketing professionals is expressing their unique promise of value. In our luxury real estate strategic branding and website design practice that is exactly what we help them to do. In Part 5 we will show how an oyster, from the Chesapeake Bay, inspired the team brand identity of the luxury real estate market leaders in Virginia waterfront homes.

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: 4/15/2013 at 8:08 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Website Design: Nature Can Inspire Extraordinary Design -Part 3

In luxury real estate website design and personal branding, we “dial-in” to our client’s DNA, their unique brand identity as expressed through their favorite colors, their personality, their values and other dimensions of their personal brand that make them stand out from the competition.  In selecting brand colors it is important to also dial-in to the environment of the marketplace, which is what we covered in Part 2. Tempering one’s personal color favorites with the influence of one’s natural surrounding can create the perfect harmony of colors. 

Here, in Part 3, we discuss the opposite approach in color selection:  Taking color cues from the environment and amplifying the theme to express the DNA of the personal or company brand. 

The use of texture combined with color can change the entire mood of the brand identity  and reflect what is unique about the brand.  For example, it can express a full range of nuances in the spectrum between an informal brand and formal brand, between a contemporary brand and more traditional brand.

Our client, Maurice Tegelaar, is a leading Wine Country expert in Sonoma Valley and Napa Valley. Inspired by just the colors of red and white wine, together we chose a burgundy and gold theme for his personal brand. However, if you look closely you will notice that there are many subtle shades and hues of red and gold in his brand identity.

Together, these colors create a more formal mood, a level of sophistication that contrasts with the rather casual and informal environment of the Wine Country. Yet, the contemporary font provides an edgy detail.

Prior to becoming a top luxury real estate marketing professional, Maurice was a CPA involved in financial management operating out of San Francisco. He also has extensive experience in interior design and a keen appreciation for architectural details. Maurice’s brand style is understated, unconventional, contemporary sophistication—timeless and elegant, yet with a charming wit. 

To express Maurice’s brand we used gradations of color to create a clean, smooth texture.  If you look closely you will see many nuances of burgundy and gold colors, although at a glance it looks like just two colors.

In Part 4, we will circle back to the environment as the dominant influence of color selection.  We will show how an expanded palette of burgundy and gold tones express themselves in sea scallops and also how an oyster, from the Chesapeake Bay, inspired the team brand identity of the luxury real estate market leaders in Virginia waterfront homes.

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: 4/10/2013 at 8:02 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Website Design: Nature Can Inspire Extraordinary Design -Part 2

Many luxury home markets are in vacation destinations, which means buyers are seeking a relief from the stress of their current environment when they purchase a vacation home. Therefore, using intense colors in your personal and company branding may be jarring to your target market.  In our fast-paced world of luxury real estate marketing it is a good idea to slow down to a snail’s pace every so often to appreciate the exquisite subtlety of colors in nature that can be more soothing to the eye. 

It is important to select colors for your brand identity and website design that are your personal favorites.  However, tempering the shades and hues of your favorite colors to harmonize with local colors is often advisable. Conversely, if your personal favorites are subdued and your marketplace is more lifely you may consider amping up your color scheme.

Some of the obvious colors that are associated with luxury goods are burgundy, forest green, gold and black. Although, the simple use of two or three colors is often effective, an expanded color palate can add a rich diversity to the visual experience.

Green shells (left)

Snail shells (right)

In our luxury real estate strategic branding and website design practice, we often look to nature for inspiration when selecting a color palette for our clients based on their basic preferences. These snail shells provide some examples of non-obvious color schemes that depart from burgundy, forest green and gold.  

Always keep in mind that everyone has personal color preferences.  These colors may not resonate with you. There is an entire psychology of colors that we will delve into in future articles. Stay tuned for Part 3 where we take our color palette inspiration from sea scallops.

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: 4/9/2013 at 7:56 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Website Design: Nature Can Inspire Extraordinary Design - Part 1

In a recent article series, A Whale of a Good Time, we talked about the importance of setting aside time to get out, meet new people and pursue new interests that can broaden your knowledge base just for the joy of learning.  On our behind-the-scenes tour of Santa Barbara’s Natural History Museum one of the curators showed us samples of the millions of sea-shells and mollusks that they keep for research purposes.

We had a wonderful time on this outing, and we were also thoroughly inspired by this particular exquisite collection.  In the following articles in this series, we will demonstrate how Nature can be a fabulous source of inspiration for luxury real estate website design and branding.

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: 4/8/2013 at 10:48 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Have a Whale of a Good Time!

One of the keys to being successful as a luxury real estate marketing professional is having a wide range of interests, which enables you to connect on many levels with your clients and referrals sources.  Being more interested than interesting will serve you well in your career.  Setting aside time in your busy schedule to develop new interests, and meet new people, is just as important to own health and well being as it is to your career.  And, you will have a whale of a good time in life if you do!

Recently, we were invited to join a select group of people for a private, behind the scenes tour of the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History.  The absolutely fascinating tour was conducted by two of the curators of the museum, both of whom are biologists.  Dr. Krista Fahy is in charge of vertebrates and Patricia Sadeghian specializes in invertebrates, particularly crustaceans. 

What made this an extraordinary experience was the level of passion that these professionals feel for their work and their commitment to excellence. We had no idea of the extent of research in which the museum is involved. Nor, did we realize the level of cooperation within the international community of Natural History Museums and universities throughout the world.

The skeleton of the 76-foot long, 10-12 year old blue whale (depicted here) weighs about 7000 pounds.  Live, this whale weighed 140,000 pounds. Adults can live into their nineties and grow to 96 feet.  Their calves consume 110 gallons of milk every day, and gain 200 lbs a day.

Blue whales, the largest known mammals, are found right off of our Santa Barbara coastline during their migration. At that time,(July-October) you can participate in a whale watching expedition by boat.

Get interested! Take the time to explore some of the wonders that are accessible in your own community. And, have a whale of a good time!

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: 4/5/2013 at 12:10 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Great Marketing is Matchmaking - Part 2

In Part 1 of this article series we indicated that, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, a marketing mindset is an abundance-based mindset. A selling mindset is a scarcity-based mindset.  A shift to a marketing mindset can make all the difference in the world to your bottom line.  But, where do you begin?  

1. Shift Your Focus and Your Attitude 

First, you must shift your focus to a marketing mindset where you are OPEN to perceiving an abundance of potential new clients in your marketplace. Here is the catch, however:  If you do not also shift your general attitude, that is, your mental mindset from scarcity-based to abundance-based, then you simply will not perceive the new opportunities! 

2.  Narrow Your Focus.  Identify an Uncontested or Under served Market Niche That You Can Dominate 

You must identify a lucrative uncontested or under served market niche that you can dominate and also be passionate about serving better than anyone else.  By shifting your mindset from selling to marketing, you will discover that this niche has an abundance of potential client matches for you, a demand, in fact, for someone just like you. Here is how this principle played out in the field of online relationship matchmaking. 

Match.com and eHarmony.com are two of the biggest online relationship matchmaking services.  The competition is fierce at the top for customers in this field.  Does it make any sense to start another matchmaking service? Why fight over crumbs that the market leaders leave behind?  That would involve a scarcity-based mindset. 

Three companies answered this question by identifying an under served segment of the overall market and set out to serve their niche far better than the big brands.  OurTime.com specializes in the 50+year olds seeking a mate.  BlackPeopleMeet.com serves African American singles. And, ChristianMingle.com is the online community created specifically for Christian singles looking to find friends, romance or marriage. 

The customers of these online matchmaking services are more likely to find the right matches because the focus of the service is more aligned with their particular needs and values. It is highly unlikely that the big brands can serve these customers as well as those who specialize in their niches. 

By offering a superior value proposition to customers in these segments, the new companies are watching an abundance of “fish” jump into their boats rather than going fishing for prospects with a scarcity-based mindset.  Customers believe that the likelihood of finding like-minded matches is greater within a more focused niche. Therefore, the trust factor starts out high and trust accelerates sales. 

Can you see why you would not have to sell a 50-plus -year-old single on the value of using OurTime.com vs. Match.com?  That is the difference between a marketing mindset and a selling mindset, between an abundance-based mindset and a scarcity-based mindset.  It all begins with a shift in focus, a shift in attitude and a shift in mindset!

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: 4/2/2013 at 12:18 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Great Marketing is Matchmaking

In marketing luxury real estate ideal transactions are those where buyers feels that they have found a home that is a perfect fit for their needs and wants at a price that is mutually acceptable to the seller.  The same principle applies to marketing you; that is, finding clients who are an ideal match to your core values and your personality. When like-minded people who share similar values and compatible personalities do business together business relationships and transactions just flow more smoothly.  

People like to do business with people they trust, those who share their values. People trust people like themselves. Trust accelerates sales. Mistrust introduces resistance and slows things down.  

Great luxury real estate marketing is actually great matchmaking because, when you find clients who are the right matches, selling becomes irrelevant.  If you find yourself selling, you are trying too hard to convince someone with dissimilar values that they should forego their own values (or buy something they actually do not need or want). It is like trying to pound a round peg in a square hole.  It is stressful to you and the client.

Essentially, if you feel you have to resort to selling, you need to step back, shift your mindset and re-examine your marketing. At some point you have convinced yourself that there is a scarcity of clients who are a match to your values and personality. That is ALWAYS an erroneous assumption, even though it appears to be the case from a scarcity-based mindset.  Shifting to an abundance-based mindset, you suddenly discover an abundance of clients who are looking for you as ardently as you are looking for them because you have the potential to be a perfect fit.

A marketing mindset is an abundance-based mindset. A selling mindset is your clue that you have slipped into a scarcity-based mindset. Stay tuned for part two of this article series to discover how shifting your focus from a selling mindset to a marketing mindset can make all the difference in the world to the bottom line of your luxury real estate marketing practice.

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: 4/1/2013 at 8:22 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Celebrate the Luxury of Diversity

America is known at the melting pot where different cultures live and work together. As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is paramount that you understand and appreciate the nature of your clients’ backgrounds, including their countries of origins, their cultures and the holidays they celebrate.  This is a great time of the year to celebrate the luxury of diversity!

Springtime is a time for holiday and religious observations. Here are some of the holidays to be aware of this time of the year:

The month of March ends with the observance of the Christian celebration of Easter.  In some countries (Central, and South American} the whole week prior to Easter Sunday is known as Santa Semana (the holy week). Many observe the holiday during the entire week by not working and going to church. 

Nowruz, the Persian New Year begins on March 31st.  Nowruz is celebrated by the people of Iran, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Kashmir, Azerbaijan, the Kurdistan regions of Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Armenia, Syria and Georgia.

The  Jewish Passover began on the 26th and will be observed through April 2nd.  The Bahá'í Faith celebrates Ridvan (a twelve day period from April 21-May 2), signifying when Bahá'u'lláh proclaimed His Mission as God's Messenger for this age at a garden in Baghdad, which became known as the Garden of Ridván (Paradise).

This year, the Christian Orthodox faith celebrates its Easter on May 5th, as they follow the Julian calendar, instead of the universal Gregorian calendar.  One of the reasons the Christian Orthodox celebrate Easter according to the Julian calendar is that Christ died after celebrating Passover, so it makes sense that their Easter would follow after that.

In our commercial real estate practice, we had clients of all faiths and cultures.  They were always delighted that we knew their holidays.  We were often invited to celebrate with them, learn their beliefs and taste their celebratory foods.  Personally, (Alexandra here), I had the luxury of celebrating 2 Easters as my mother was Roman Catholic and my father was Greek Orthodox, and the same was true of Christmas.  Ron and I also celebrated Passover with Jewish friends, and Nowruz with Iranian clients.

We wish everyone of every faith and culture a very happy celebration during this wonderful time of year.  Celebrate the luxury of diversity!

* The illustration above is known at the diversity tree of love.

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: 3/29/2013 at 8:21 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Define Your POV (Point of View) Part 2

In part 1 of this article series, we discussed the importance of having a Point of View (POV) as a journalist via the media of your blog.  This is essential if you want to engage online readers and build a loyal audience of raving fans who are interested in what you are writing about, and are inspired to refer you, list with you, and buy from you. 

Your goal is to engage the attention of your target audience.  Put yourself in the shoes of your audience. Think of all the online marketing that is vying for their attention.   Your audience is actually voting with their attention.  Why should they vote for you?

People give their attention to people and things that resonates with their values and with their personality.  That is why it is so important to have a distinct Point of View that amplifies your values and your personality. With a distinct POV that is clearly articulated your target audience will be able to discover that you are attention-worthy, faster.  With all of the competition for attention, this is now an imperative.

If you are a fan of seafood as we are, you have many choices as to where you buy your fish and shellfish. Every major supermarket chain has a seafood section and also sells frozen fish. 

Here in Santa Barbara, we are very fortunate to have local fisherman who sell their catch of the day at the harbor and also at our local Farmers Market (when conditions are favorable).   We also have a spectacular wholesale seafood distributor, Kanaloa, which sells local and imported seafood to restaurants and markets all over the country.

The quality and variety of Kanaloa’s fish is unparalleled in California.  Lucky for us they are open to the public as well.  But, what is their POV as a company?  Here is their mission statement that thoroughly resonates with us making them worthy of our attention, our customer loyalty and rave reviews: 

“Doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, for the right individual, for the right reason, with the right feeling…every time.”

Many luxury real estate marketing professionals and companies strive for excellence. But, few attain it consistently. Let Kanaloa be an inspiration to you. It certainly has inspired us.

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: 3/26/2013 at 7:39 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Define Your POV (Point of View)

James Dean, 1955 movie, Rebel Without a Cause*

The world of professional journalism and the media in general are two subjects that are mostly unfamiliar to luxury real estate marketing professionals.  Yet, to fully engage in and leverage the amazing marketing benefits of social media you need to know at least two fundamentals:

  1. Social media is really not all that different from traditional media such as radio, newspapers, magazines and TV
  2. Without a distinct “Point of View (POV)” you are dead in the water before you even begin

A media is just a vehicle through which you can deliver content of interest that is compelling to your target market.  What is bewildering to those engaged in marketing luxury real estate is the concept of building an audience of raving fans. Suddenly, this has become part of your job description if you want to leverage social media to the fullest!  Making the time to do this on top of your normal business routine, however, can give you a spectacular competitive advantage because you will stand out from the crowd. 

If you just consider the importance of one word, “SHARE”, you will understand the primary added value that social media has brought about and where its opportunity truly is.  When you publish genuine, original and compelling content, the very mechanics of social media can facilitate the process of putting word-of-mouth advertising on steroids for you. 

But, you might as well abandon the idea of becoming a publisher of content if your content is not original. More importantly, if you do not have a distinct and consistent POV, no one will pay attention to you over time and no one will share your content with others.

Take a look at The Food Networks’ hit reality show, The Next Food Star where the winner is awarded his or her own series on the Food Network.On the show, they strongly encourage the contestants to articulate their POV so they can build a fan base who eventually will vote for them.

The winner of season two was Guy Fieri who went on to star in Dinners, Drive-Ins and Dives that now seems to be ubiquitous on the Network.  With a hip, rugged, down-to-earth personality he connects mightily with his target market as he showcases the best comfort food eateries in the country.  With his wild, spiked dyed white hair and pierced body parts, Guy has a very distinct POV. He also has a BBQ sauce (and other ancillary products) that is sold in markets throughout the USA.

Last season’s winner was Jason Wamer.  He defined his POV as "Rebel With a Culinary Cause".  Iron Chef, Bobby Flay, stated, “Jason’s zany ideas and quirkiness will ad a unique value to the Food Network”.  And, Giada De Laurentis, said, “Jason really knows who he is”.

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, have you defined your own POV (Point of View)?  This is one of the keys to developing your personal brand, which is exactly what we help our clients to do.

*The photo of James Dean is from the film "Giant"

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: 3/25/2013 at 9:17 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: English vs. “Googlish”

Recently, we saw an article by a Forbes magazine writer titled, Is Blogging Dead?” and that got us thinking about how that question might apply to luxury real estate marketing.  Blogging has been around for some time now.  Has it already become passé?  We think blogging is alive and well providing you are blogging in English vs. “Googlish”. 

Blogging isn’t going anywhere any time soon because good journalism is and always will be an integral part of our human experience.  As long as people seek the opinion of experts in a given field and the Internet can instantly connect you to opinion leaders blogging in some form or another will always be relevant. 

The real question for you is: Do you know who your target market is, precisely? Is your target comprised of humans or robots? Are you speaking to your audience in their language? Are you provided compelling original content that is newsworthy, buzz-worthy and follow-worthy? Or, are you cramming a bunch of empty keyword phrases together that are repeated far too many times in order to court the Google robots?  If the latter is the case you must be blogging in “Googlish” not English. 

Sure, there are excellent benefits from being recognized by Google as an authority.  But, your page ranking will reflect that naturally. Google wants to match up the experts with those who seek their advice. They can sell more ads if they do this well. 

Advertisers are looking for eyeballs that are seeking quality content. You may have heard the expression, “Content is King”.  We say, ORIGINAL content is still king” because that is what builds an audience and raving fans.  But, if your heart in not in your blog you are engaged in an activity that is a colossal waste of time, time that could be spent much more productively, like actually meeting new people who could become new referral sources for you.

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: 3/21/2013 at 8:46 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: Innovate, Innovate, Innovate!

In marketing luxury real estate, being a market leader is not always a picnic. Why? As a market leader, you are often the target of many challengers. Just look at the onslaught of competition that the icon brand, Apple, is now facing. 

Apple is known for consistently innovating, and introducing entirely new categories of products and services. The company became the market leader by creating brand new markets that did even exist before. 

Along comes challenger, Samsung with an interesting brand strategy.  They recently spent over one-half billion dollars on advertising trying to convince consumers that Apple is now yesterday’s news with their smart phone slogan, “The next big thing is already here with The Galaxy S3 and even more recently, the S4. 

Essentially, Samsung’s strategy is to create the perception that Apple is no longer the cool, hip contemporary brand, “it once was”.  Instead, they want consumers to believe that Apple is now the more conservative heritage brand, not the edgy contemporary brand.   Apple used this very same strategy in their highly successful advertising campaign comparing Macs to PCs depicting Microsoft as the stogy heritage brand. 

But, one thing is for sure:  Apple is not going to sit on their laurels. Nor, should you if you are the incumbent market leader in your luxury real estate marketing practice.

Prior to the introduction of the iPhone in 2007, Blackberry enjoyed its stint as a market leader in smart phones (especially in corporate America) by combining the Personal Digital Assistant (PDA) with secure email and some Internet browsing.  They were late to the table in adapting the touch screen and an operating system to support it, not to mention supporting an eco-system of app developers. 

Blackberry, is finally trying to catch up. Even CEO, Thorsten Heins, said that Apple’s iPhone is not the state-of-the-art  smart phone it once was. In fact, it’s starting to look a little dusty, according his Wall Street Journal interview.  Is this actually true?  Maybe it is not.  But, in our opinion, his remarks reflect a brand strategy of piggy-backing on Samsung’s attempt to dismiss the reigning market leader, Apple, as old. 

Blackberry discovered that if you do not keep pace with the speed of innovation, you could easily be replaced. But, this does not apply only to the world of high-tech.

On Melrose Avenue directly across the street from the Pacific Design Center is the architecturally contemporary home accessories showroom of Robert Kuo, (pictured above).  Originally, Kuo brought the magnificent art of cloisonné to America, but with a modern twist. He utilized the influences of Art Nouveau and Art Deco and introduced new shapes and finishes to this ancient art, which brought him notoriety.  His work can be seen in the National Museum of Taipei and in exclusive international hotels. Now, his sophisticated designs have taken organic forms.

So, let this be a lesson to those of you who are market leaders in your luxury real estate marketing practice.  Be complacent at your own risk. Innovate, Innovate, Innovate!

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: 3/20/2013 at 6:35 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance-Part 6

Morgan's at the desert - La Quinta Resort and Club

Great luxury real estate personal and company branding is all about telling a great story that engages your target market, establishing trust by building credibility and sparks word-of-mouth advertising. High net worth consumers are interested in knowing about your history, your roots; they want to know about your provenance.  Here is a story within a story, within a story about personal and company branding that exemplifies the added value of provenance. 

Recently, we had the privilege of staying at one of the most storied California hotels, La Quinta Resort & Club, the longest running resort in the Palm Springs area. It originally opened in 1926 as a quiet hideaway for the Hollywood elite – including film legends Greta Garbo, Katherine Hepburn, Frank Capra and Clark Gable; and today is a host to a number of other celebrities.  During our stay many of the world’s top tennis celebrities were there for the ATP Tournament, which took place in the adjacent town of Indian Wells. 

When we booked our stay we had the choice between La Quinta Resort & Club and the Hyatt Indian Wells Resort & Spa.  Both have golf courses, a spa, and a signature restaurant.  Both  are in the same price range. The Hyatt, a multi-story building with a giant pool, has a very contemporary, austere design. In our opinion, it lacks charm, warmth and character.  La Quinta Resort is a legendary getaway with unattached Mediterranean style haciendas (no more than two stories). It has 41 individual smaller pools, each with hot pools with water jets, this, in addition to a large pool adjacent to the spa and tennis stadium. 

Although, La Quinta Resort & Club retains its own brand identity, it is one of the Waldorf Astoria Hotels and Resorts, now a sub-brand of Hilton Hotels. The original Waldorf-Astoria hotel in New York was the first hotel to offer room service, which changed the industry completely. It was also influential in advancing the status of women, who were admitted singly without escorts.  Can you get the sense of La Quinta’s provenance and the added value that a heritage brand can provide? 

People can have provenance, too. And, that is one reason why personal branding is so important.  As a luxury real estate marketing professional, you must clearly let your target market know what you stand for so they can quickly assess if you are a match to their personal values. 

During our stay, we dined at the signature restaurants of both La Quinta Resort and Club (Morgan’s in the desert) and at the Hyatt Resort and Spa (Lantana). The food at both restaurants was excellent.  But, Morgan’s, (magnificently remodeled to reflect its history), offered a remarkable dining experience with exceptional service and a menu that was masterminded by a celebrity chef.

Chef Jimmy Schmidt is a one-man-brand who has his own provenance. In 1977 he became executive chef and executive general manager of the London Chop House in Detroit, where he became one of the first chefs to win Cook’s magazine’s 50 Leaders in American Food and Wine Awards (which was later renamed the James Beard Awards). He then moved to Denver in 1985 to open his first Rattlesnake Club, for which he was nominated for the James Beard “Best Chef Southwest” and “Best New Restaurant” Awards. 

Chef Schmidt is one of the pioneers of “Farm-to-Table” dining. He sources the best local products to create deliciously simple, rustic and healthful dishes at Morgan’s. We enjoyed his Pistachio Crusted Rack of Colorado Lamb immensely. 

The history, the physical setting, the architecture, the celebrity chef, the service and the ambiance all contribute to the personal and company branding stories of La Quinta Resort & Club. Watch for Part 7 of this article series where we showcase two market-leading luxury real estate professionals in Santa Barbara who have established their unique provenance as part of their personal brand story.

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: 3/14/2013 at 5:14 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Marketing Tips
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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance-Part 5

Provenance, in the realm of luxury goods refers to where a product is sourced. That is, where it is designed and manufactured. As such, a product’s provenance can become a quality cue, an indicator of superior quality, that adds value in the minds of many luxury consumers who are willing to pay a premium for it. Interestingly, the actual difference in the quality of the product, due to its geographic origin, may be real or just a perception. As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is important to understand the role of provenance as a quality cue in personal and company branding.

In Part 4 of this article series on Provenance, we posed the question, “What happens when a luxury product from a world-class French heritage brand (See Part 3 for more background on heritage brands) is actually manufactured in China? Does that negate the added value of its provenance?  

Many high-end designers are manufacturing their luxury goods in China and other foreign countries to reduce costs and increase profits.  This does break the chain of provenance. So, the real question is who cares? If you hold stock in those companies and their bottom line is healthy, would you care? 

But, what do the actual consumers think about provenance? Based on a flurry of outrage in a French trade magazine, Canal Luxe,they seem to care quite a bit.  Here in the USA, the Boston Consulting Group conducted a survey of 5000 people on this topic of provenance as a quality cue.

Over 80 percent of U.S. consumers stated that they would be willing to pay more for products with  “Made in USA” labels than for those labeled “Made in China.” The reason most often expressed was apprehension about quality and wanting to keep jobs in the USA.  The big surprise was that the majority of Chinese consumers that were surveyed preferred goods made in the U.S. and were willing to pay between a 10-80 percent premium for specific products they were shown.

Which luxury consumers are most likely to care about provenance?  This brings us back to our previous article series in which we identified two kinds of luxury consumers:  The Self-Actualizers and the Status Seekers. (See our series, Luxury is a Soul Supplement). 

Status Seekers are less likely to care about provenance, as their priority value is to impress others. Self-Actualizers are more likely to care because they may feel that lower manufacturing costs should be passed along to them. They may be more skeptical about the actual quality of the goods. Or, they may feel more national pride about sourcing the products in their own country. Neither luxury consumer should be judged for their reasons to pay a premium for luxury goods with or without provenance.   

Provenance does not always equate to a higher price tag.  It always equates to an added value based on your personal mindset and that is actually what makes it a luxury.  

For many people in Los Angeles, their beer of choice is sourced right in their hometown by the microbrewery, Golden Road Brewery.  Tony Yanow and Meg Gill set out to create a range of craft beers that “reflect the way people live (and drink) in the dynamic melting pot is Los Angeles”.  Their story is another classic tale of how provenance adds value in in company branding.  But, how do you establish your own provenance in your personal luxury real estate branding? Watch for clues in Part 6!

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: 3/13/2013 at 9:31 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance - Part 4

Ferrari Enzo - Italy -- Photo by Naiyyer

LOCATION. LOCATION. LOCATION!

Provenance refers to a chain of ownership, a lineage, a pedigree, roots, or ancestry, i.e., where people, plants animals and things come from. Provenance can add a real or perceived value to what you are buying. In luxury real estate a home once owned by a celebrity or a home designed by a well-known architect or interior designer, can definitely command a premium price. The location, where something is sourced, is also an important component of provenance. 

To understand the added value of location, consider Chateau D’ Yquem from France.  It is known for being the finest sauterne wine in the world, often served with foie gras or as a desert wine. A wine connoisseur can distinguish the difference between their grapes, grown on only 457 acres, from the same Semillion grapes grown in the adjacent property. The terroir (the earth where the grapes are grown) and the microclimate make all the difference. 

The added value of location can be real or perceived. When you think of lobster, Maine lobster has an added value. Pacific (spiny) lobster is less expensive (but equally delicious in our opinion).  Vermont cheddar cheese and maple syrup usually commands a premium price. As a trend, farm to table dining provides an added value for those who appreciate supporting local produce growers. Pelligrino from Italy and Perrier from France have become two successful sparkling water brands in the USA. 

Many luxury brands use the location where their products are sourced to give their brands provenance. Here are some examples: Oxford (Men’s clothing-Chicago), Benefit Cosmetics (San Francisco), Loeb Shoes (London), DKNY (Donna Karan - New York), Ferrari (Italy) and Yves St. Laurent (Paris). 

Authenticating, the chain of ownership in purchasing a valuable piece of art or an antique or the lineage of a thoroughbred horse, or the terroir of a fine wine is a key component of the buying process. Because provenance can add value, real or perceived, it is mostly appreciated or required by those who can afford to pay the premium.  And, that is why it is such an important topic to understand as a luxury real estate marketing professional. 

But, what happens when a luxury product from a world-class French heritage brand (See Part 3 for more background on heritage brands) is actually manufactured in China? Does that negate the added value of its provenance? 

It was this question that inspired us to write this article series, The Added Value of Provenance, and also our previous series, Luxury is a Soul Supplement, where we explored an entirely new definition of luxury.  Stay tuned for Part 5 where we answer this question and tie the two series together.

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: 3/10/2013 at 10:51 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Marketing Tips
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