Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance - Part 7

Pacific Design Center on Melrose Avenue -  Adjacent to Beverly Hills, CA

Stay on the Leading Edge - Don't  Sit on Your Laurels!

In this article series we explored an essential principle that can play a big role in adding value to luxury real estate personal and company branding.  Your provenance, which is your history, background, lineage, pedigree, or heritage, can contribute mightily to the story of your brand. It is where your brand “comes from”.   

If you are the market leader in your area, one of your core strengths in relationship to your closest competitors is your track record, which is a key component in establishing your provenance.  A strong track record is virtually irrefutable and it is intimidating to your challengers. 

With a strong track record, however, it is very easy for market leaders to become complacent. To sustain market leadership it is extremely important that you do not “sit on your laurels”.  You must stay current and relevant.  You must keep innovating to stay on the leading edge ahead of your competition. 

In our strategic branding practice we work exclusively with those luxury real estate marketing professionals and companies who are bent on gaining or sustaining market leadership in their marketplace or a niche therein.  True brand strategy is a battle for mind-share and market share between incumbents and challengers.  Our clients take this seriously because, at this level, it is the lion’s share of business in their area or niche that is at stake. 

We coach our market leading clients to stay on the leading edge and not to sit on their laurels. We also help them to amplify the provenance of their brand story, by clearly displaying their formidable track records in their Gallery or Portfolio of Sold Homes on their web sites.  Just one look at their track records can be enough to instantly convince a home seller to list with them, and not even bother to investigate the competition.   

Here are two examples of how our market leading Santa Barbara clients communicate their provenance.  Linda Lorenzen Hughes is the market leader in the Hope Ranch area and Chris Palme is the market leader in the Santa Barbara Riviera niche. (Click on their names)

We hope you enjoyed our 7 Part  series on the added value of provenance.  If you are a market leader in your area of expertise or you are serious about challenging the incumbent, check out our track record (Client Testimonials) and contact 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: 3/17/2013 at 7:33 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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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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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance-Part 3

In Part 2 of this series we discussed what to do If you wanted to challenge an established luxury real estate company with deep roots in your community, i.e., a company with traditional values, a heritage brand with provenance (a brand story rich in history).  But, what if your competition is young and progressive.  How can you position yourself or your firm as just the opposite--a heritage brand with provenance? 

To recap, a brand position is the summation of what you or your company stands for.  Heritage brands stand for a history of traditional values and are often associated with the geographic location in which they were established which gives the brand provenance. 

The opposite of a heritage brand position would be contemporary brand.  In the product category of cosmetics, Bobbi Brown, MAC or Benefit are contemporary brands.  Guerlain, Lancôme and Christian Dior, are heritage brands with a provenance rooted in Paris.

Each brand position attracts a different target market because branding is all about matching the brand’s values with those who aspire to or embrace the same values.  The best brands are those who clearly articulate their brand position and do not try to be all things to all people.

Two global luxury real estate heritage brands are Sotheby’s and Christie's. They are both over 200 year-old auction houses established in England. Like the antiques and painting that they auction the companies themselves have provenance.  These brands provide a historical, international context for their respective real estate businesses, which adds to their value proposition. What they do not have is the provenance of a local independent firm, which can be a competitive advantage if positioned effectively. 

Creating a new heritage brand with provenance can be challenging. But, here is an example of a luxury denim jeans company that pulled this off brilliantly.

Do we really need another jeans company?  Nordstrom’s carries dozens of jeans brands; Macy’s seems to carry even more brands.  Just about every major clothing designer has a jeans line.  How can one startup company hope to differentiate itself in a sea of fierce competition?  Perhaps, these are questions you have asked of yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional.

Imogene + Willie, in Nashville, Tennessee was founded in this millennium by the husband and wife team of Matt & Carrie Eddmenson.  They source raw selvedge denim that is woven on the antique shuttle looms of North Carolina’s iconic Cone Mills. Their classic style jeans are sold out of a retrofitted gas station and also online.  Prices begin at $225.

Their story is endearing, genuine, wholesome and authentic.  The Eddmensons explain how their grandparents on both sides of the family infused them with love and genuine traditional values, values that give them a foundation of heritage, lineage and thus, provenance.  They hired people who also match their values and their vision for producing the best fitting jeans, custom tailored to fit you, perfectly. They pass along these traditional values in every pair they sell. 

If you have the time to read their story and watch their video you may just be inspired to hop on a plane and have your next pair of jeans custom fitted by these two in Nashville. If you value the richness of stories like theirs, a true piece of Americana, and the luxury of owning jeans that were hand made for you in the USA you will understand why provenance is so important to luxury real estate personal and company branding.

Watch for Provenance, Part 4, LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION!

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: 3/8/2013 at 10:50 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance-Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of our article series on provenance. In Part 1, we established that provenance comes from the French provenir, "to come from", referring to the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object. Here we will discuss how provenance can also become an added value in luxury real estate personal and company branding.

Consumers like to do business with people and companies who are like themselves, those they feel they can trust.  Successful luxury real estate personal and company branding accelerates the speed of trust. It does so by succinctly and authentically communicating that your brand’s values and personality is a match to the values and personalities of your ideal clients or customers. 

To speed up the time it takes for consumers to recognize that your brand is a perfect match for them your brand messaging must clearly establish what you or your company stands for and how that position is sharply different from what your competitors stand for.  This is known as communicating your brand position.  If you were challenging a market leader the ideal brand position would be the polar opposite of your competitor’s brand position. 

Brands that have provenance are called heritage brands. Provenance establishes lineage, pedigree, i.e. roots.  It provides a history and a story that adds a traditional vs.. contemporary context to a brand making it more valuable in the mind of consumers who appreciate traditional values. 

Heritage brands communicate their sincerity, authenticity, wholesomeness, and caring. On one end of the spectrum of luxury heritage brands with provenance is See’s Candy that began in 1921 in Los Angeles.  Mary See symbolizes the old-fashioned values of homemade quality and friendly service. 

One the other end of this luxury spectrum is the gentrified brand, Hermès. This French firm, established in 1837 specializes in leather (traditionally, saddles and riding accoutrements), lifestyle accessories, perfumery and read-to-wear clothing.

A local independent real estate firm that has been around for some time could be considered a heritage brand with provenance. For those consumers who appreciate the local roots and traditional values of such a company this would be their brand of choice.

If you wanted to challenge this established company of this nature, you would want to position your firm as young and progressive vs. old and traditional.  As such, you would not need to waste your time or marketing dollars trying to win over traditional-minded consumers. Instead, you would focus on those whose values and personality resonates with your contemporary brand position.

But, what if your competition is young and progressive.  How can you position yourself or your firm as a heritage brand with provenance?  Stay tuned for Part 3 where we showcase a successful, high-end blue jeans company that has recently done just that.  If this company can stand out in an extremely over-crowded clothing category, there is hope for you to do the same, as a luxury real estate marketing professional 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: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 3/7/2013 at 10:49 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: The Added Value of Provenance -Part 1

This is a new article series about a subject that is essential to understand if you want to thrive as a luxury real estate marketing professional: Provenance. The term provenance comes from the French provenir, "to come from", referring to the chronology of the ownership, custody or location of a historical object. 

Provenance can play a key role in luxury real estate personal and company branding.  It also pertains to historic homes, art, antiques, manuscripts, vintage cars, boats, planes, and more. Gaining a deeper appreciation of this topic, which is important to many or your high net worth clients can give you distinct competitive advantage. 

In Part 1, here, we lay the foundation for the topic of provenance in relationship to the location of origin.  In Part 2, we will explore how location of original can be used to your advantage in branding yourself or your luxury real estate marketing firm.

It’s March, Trader Joe"s is featuring this green Gouda (pictured above), as the “cheese of the month” or their "Spotlight Cheese". If it were any other time of the year, most likely, customers would not consider buying a green cheese.  But, this one, made with basil pesto, was a novelty.  

On the package it says, “Product of the Netherlands", which gave it an immediate provenance, a context of added value. Gouda (actually pronounced ‘how-da”) is one of the most popular cheeses in the world. The name Gouda refers to a number of cheeses produced according to the traditional Dutch method including the original Dutch variety. 

This added value of provenance based on location can become a highly successful branding strategy.  Watch for Part 2 where we will discuss this significant aspect of luxury real estate marketing.

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: 3/5/2013 at 2:28 PM
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Personal & Company Branding: Co-Branding with the Color of the Year

Co-branding is a synergistic marketing arrangement between two 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.  Co-branding is an excellent strategy that can give you a competitive edge because most luxury real estate marketing professionals under utilize it. 

Here is an example that reflects a wonderful co-branding arrangement between Sephora  (a LVMH* company) specializing in selling beauty products) and Pantone, a 50-year-old company known for its universal color systems in graphic design (web and print), fabrics and more.

Sephora stores are like the cosmetic section of a department store. They carry a multitude of known brands.  Now they also want to market their own Sephora branded products. 

According to Pantone, Inc. they are “the provider of color systems and leading technology for the selection and accurate communication of color across a variety of industries. The PANTONE® name is known worldwide as the standard language for color communication from designer to manufacturer to retailer to customer”.

In our own work as luxury real estate brand strategists and website designers we communicate via Pantone colors with our clients, graphic designers, web designers and printers.  We give our clients a complete Pantone profile of their brand’s color theme.

Every year Pantone announces the Color of the Year.  For 2013, the color is Emerald Green (Pantone 17-5644).

The photo above shows an eye -popping display in the Sephora window displaying makeup they created using Pantone’s “Color of the Year”.  Pantone becomes an endorser brand giving additional credibility to Sephora’s new makeup line. Pantone benefits by expanding their influence, their product line and their consulting services into yet another industry:  cosmetics.

Inside the store, in this picture, you can see that Sephora has developed an eye-shadow trio, mascara and an eye liner pencil in emerald green. Consumers can derive social currency because they are wearing the color of the year.

Think about ways in which you can co-brand with other non-competing businesses in your luxury real estate marketing practice. It is a great way to stand out from the crowd.

 *LVMH -Louis Vuitton, Moet, Hennessey

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: 3/3/2013 at 2:26 PM
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Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: How to Create “Buzz” About You

Courtesy of The Shop

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 2/18/2013 at 8:11 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Be Ultra Thoughtful

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

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

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

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: 2/13/2013 at 10:10 AM
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Luxury Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Promises, Promises!

One of the biggest challenges that face luxury real estate marketing professionals is articulating their own unique value proposition.  Yet, this is by far one of the most important aspects of personal or company branding.  Your extraordinary promise of value is what your ideal clients can expect when doing business from you vs. your closest competition. It is what makes you stand out.

An empty or exaggerated promise can lead you into a trap where you disappoint your clients by under-delivering. Hype can be your worst enemy. Let the empty Beverly Hills store depicted in this post remind you about the fate of businesses that communicate empty promises. 

Your reputation is your most important asset. Reputations are based on kept promises.  It is always better deliver exactly what you promise, and then exceed their expectations.

If you take the time to identify a niche within your marketplace that is underserved it will not take much to deliver a superior value proposition. Keep in mind that your target market has settled for mediocre service. If you promise too much you will not be taken seriously.

To differentiate yourself or your company from your competition you need to offer an extraordinary promise of value.  To do this you must be passionate about what you do and you find something specific that you can do better than anyone or any company in your marketplace.  We call this your strategic differentiator.

The idea is to become known for your strategic differentiator. Your marketing messaging must focus on the communication of what makes you distinct, which is essentially your extraordinary promise of value.

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.


Real Estate Personal & Company Branding: Laugh Out Loud!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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: 2/11/2013 at 7:43 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Marketing Tips
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Personal and Company Branding: A Brand is Not a Look

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

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

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

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

The staff at Jan’s really takes the time to understand how you ski, where you ski, and your level of expertise.  They are experts. They are passionate about skiing and they are thrilled to have you experience the very best!  It is their way of doing business.  It is their brand. Their consistency in expressing the soul of their brand is part of the soul of their brand.

A look can be easily imitated. How many auto makers copy the styles of the world’s most expensive cars? What cannot be imitated is the soul of a brand. What are you doing to consistently express the soul of your brand?

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: 2/5/2013 at 12:10 PM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Marketing Tips
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Personal and Company Branding: Emotional Super Bowl Ads Fail to Connect

In personal and company branding, emotional branding is marketing communications that connect your unique value proposition with the emotional needs and aspirations of your target market. Emotional communications without that connection may feel good, but they will not significantly increase your bottom line. 

The emotionally impactful commercials were some of the big winners in the Super Bowl advertising contests. The Jeep ad with Oprah’s voice-over took the top prize.  But, will it sell Jeeps? While Oprah’s message was heartfelt it said nothing about the Jeep’s specific value proposition (as distinct from its closest competition) and how it can satisfy the needs and aspirations of its customers. 

Budweiser has been using Clydesdale horses in 23 Super Bowl ads since 1986. In this year’s ad a horse was reunited with its trainer.  It packed a wallop of emotion, but how will that sell more of this brand of beer? What about newcomers to these ads, those with zero connection to the previous horse ads—will they get why they should drink Bud vs. Coors in 60 seconds? If you cannot view the video below click here.

“The Ram and the farmer” was another emotional branding winner.  It told a good story, but the story did tell not tell Ram’s target audience anything about what makes Ram different and better from a Ford. 

In our pre-game Super Bowl post on the 2014 Mercedes CLA commercial we highlighted how the ad brilliantly communicated how the car could satisfy the most pressing needs and aspirations of its target market.  In just a few seconds it established this MBZ model as a direct competitor of BMW and Audio who also target a younger demographic with certain models. It did so by revealing its affordable price tag. 

Personal and company branding is precision communication that compels your target market to do business with you vs. your competition. Evoking emotions through your marketing communications can accelerate and strengthen the connection between you and your ideal clients. But, that can only occur if you first communication your unique promise of value and how your brand can satisfy their priority needs and aspirations.

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: 2/4/2013 at 8:56 AM
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Personal & Company Branding: Super Bowl Cool

Courtesy of Mercedes Benz

A successful personal or company luxury real estate brand is the total package of precision communication that compels your target market to do business with you vs. your competition. For branding to work at this level the communication must instantly convey your extraordinary promise of value, i.e. how your service can readily satisfy your client’s most pressing needs. 

A great way to tune into branding on a grand scale is by watching Super Bowl commercials.  Some of them just try to be clever and create buzz, which misses the real point. People may talk about the ads but will the right people, the target market, actually go out and buy the products?  

Keep in mind that the same message that is spot on for your target market may not resonate with anyone else. That is why you need to know the psycho graphics (the mindset) as well as the demographic profile of your ideal client. For example, active teenagers will yawn when they see a commercial for a mobility scooter that is a lifesaver for the disabled or elderly, unless they see it as the perfect solution for a family member or friend. 

This year Mercedes Benz in on to something exciting and so is their Super Bowl commercial. Mercedes is out to attract a whole new generation of buyers—the young urban professionals who heretofore have snoozed through their commercials.  Making a huge bet at the 2013 Super Bowl, they are targeting this demographic with a very well crafted commercial for their 2014 CLA. 

Mercedes and their ad agency really understand the psycho graphics (mindset) of this target group.  First, their Super Bowl commercial shatters the perception that the MBZs are too expensive by driving home the message that the base price of the CLA is under $30K.   Then, they appeal to every male “yuppie” fantasy.  Note: If you cannot see the video below Click Here

Suddenly, Mercedes Benz is cool, hip and affordable. That is a very powerful message to get across in a one-minute commercial. It shifts the mindset of their target market from NO-INTEREST OR CAN’T HAVE (because it is too expensive) to MUST HAVE (because it is within my reach and it can satisfy my most pressing needs!). Mercedes shifts from a brand position of “TRADITIONAL AND SOPHISTICATED” to “CURRENT, STYLISH AND TRENDY” in an instant with a new class of car. This is a major feat of extending their brand to include a wider customer base, without alienating their core customer. 

A key component of brand strategy is taking control of how you want your brand to be perceived and by whom.  It is all in the total package of precision communication.

Are you controlling how your luxury real estate brand is perceived?

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: 1/30/2013 at 7:30 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Marketing Tips
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