Personal & Company Branding: How Strong is Your Brand Recognition?

The branding goal for luxury real estate marketing professionals is instant brand recognition. When you first saw the image above in this post, what thoughts came to mind?  First, did you recognize the brand?  If so, how long did it take you to recognize it? If you are like most people who are attuned to popular culture you know that thist is James Bond’s logo and you recognized it in a Nano-second.

Isn’t it amazing how three numbers and a gun can communicate such a potent message?  That message is spy story (suspenseful action-adventure with international intrigue).  It conjures images of the main character in the story that has mass appeal. He is an archetypical action hero who is suave, debonair, charismatic, sexually attractive, a lady’s man, with tongue-and-cheek humor, who is bent on protecting mankind from evil.

Likewise, the words, “double 0 seven” have a similar impact. So do the first seven notes in the James Bond sound track (brand perfection in 7 notes). That image, the words and the sounds have made an indelible impression in your mind over the years and will likely be accessible to your recall for life. That is the power of branding! 

This is the 50th anniversary of the famed James Bond franchise.  The 23rd James Bond film, Skyfall, is coming out this winter, starring Daniel Craig. The James Bond fan club is global. Are you thinking of seeing it?  

Marketing luxury real estate at the level of market leadership requires that you establish an indelible brand in the minds of your target market.  It requires instant brand recognition to sustain market leadership.  How strong is your brand recognition?

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.


Finding The Right Fireplace

Finding a home with all the right features can be a challenge. If your home doesn't have all the amenities you envisioned, you can usually add them at some point down the road And if you're lamenting the fact that you don't have a fireplace for cozy family get-togethers, you'll find that dream is not out of reach. Electric, gas and ethanol fireplaces are available in a variety of styles and sizes that complement any interior. 

Choosing a Location 

Fireplaces can be part of any room in your home, or even outside on your patio, so decide where you want your fireplace to be. Many people install them in the living room or family room to act as a gathering place for the family and to warm spaces where guests spend time. Couples often install a fireplace in the master bedroom as well to make it feel cozier and more luxurious. Walk through your home and identify places where you would like to spend more time and where a fireplace would make the space more appealing and functional.

Selecting a Fireplace 

Although an old-fashioned wood-burning fireplace is not without charm, it isn't necessarily the best choice for your home. They require a chimney to vent, which can be complicated and expensive to install, and you have to clean and maintain them regularly. Consider an alternative fireplace that will act as a heater for your home as well:

  • Gas insert fireplaces are perfect if you have an older wood-burning fireplace that you want to convert into a gas fireplace that you will use more frequently. These are set back into the wall like a masonry fireplace, and you can either install them inside an existing fireplace or create a new one for your gas insert.
  • Vent-free ethanol fireplaces are perfect if you don't have a way to vent your fireplace. You can install them right in the middle of a room, or potentially as a room divider between two areas of a large space, without having to add a bulky chimney above them. You can also move these fireplaces, or even put them away during the summer.
  • Electric fireplaces are the easiest to install in any room because they simply plug in to an outlet. The electric "flames" can add a fun element to a media room or family room. 

Bringing Together the Right Look 

Choosing the correct size and design for your fireplace is the last step in matching the type of fireplace you have chosen to the space you have set aside for it. Options range from sleek modern inserts to fireplaces that look like they belong in old Victorian homes. Choose a color, design, and size that complements your décor without overwhelming it. Another option is to find a fireplace you love and redecorate the room to match that piece.

Installing a fireplace in your home will make it feel much cozier in the winter. Many people use fireplaces as space heaters in the rooms where they spend the most time. People will love gathering around your new fireplace to spend time together, and you'll probably find yourself wondering how you ever got by without it.

This post was provided by Jessica Stark, Jessica, who blogs for Sears and other prestigious brands, enjoys learning all there is to know about interior design and then writing about it.

[Image Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/listener42/6723650149/]

 


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 7/17/2012 at 4:34 PM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Luxury Real Estate
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Luxury Real Estate Branding: Do You Need a Brand?

Do you need a brand for your luxury real estate marketing business?  You need a brand if you are in pursuit of market leadership in your chosen niche. A clearly articulated brand facilitates referrals and decision-making on both sides (sellers/buyers) of the real estate game. 

Like it or not, we are branded from the moment we are born.  Brands are labels; they are a shortcut and a time saver for the mind.  They are so obvious that we take them for granted. They become invisible. 

The moment we look at someone, our mind’s computer begins to assess and pigeonhole. The more we are pressed for time the more we rely on snap judgments.  

With products and services, once we pigeonhole a product or service in a category we equate the category and the brand. And, we only have room for a few products or services in each category, at least from the standpoint of being able to readily recall the brand name. The goal of branding is to achieve top-of-mind status in that short list of products or services within any given category.

To stand out and reach the top of the list you have to make it easy for others to communicate about your brand to others.  That is the challenge of branding. It is all about making a compelling case to be at the top of the mental list, in your category, for your target market.  If they are convinced that you should be at the top of their list, you must empower them to convince others.

Think of a brand that you like.  What would you tell someone about it?  How did that brand get to the top of your list? Getting to the point where one wants to refer you requires a continuous strategy and marketing plan that secures your brand recognition and your dominance in the marketplace. 

Tiffany’s is the quintessential luxurious American brand when it comes to engagement rings.  That is an example of equating a brand with a category.  In the minds of young women about to be engaged, Tiffany’s is the place to go.  It is at the top of the list in the engagement ring category.  Tiffany’s has cultivated that top-of-mind status through brilliant strategy on all fronts.  Last year, they premiered their now successful interactive site, What Makes Love True, solidifying their position as the premiere place for engagement rings.

Are you on the top of the list in your category for marketing luxury real estate?  Or, do you need a 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: 7/17/2012 at 4:55 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Luxury Real Estate
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Luxury Real Estate Branding: What Color is Your Tomato?

In order to understand branding in the realm of luxury real estate marketing, it is important to understand brand categories. If market leadership is your quest, as a luxury real estate marketing professional, the key is to select a brand category or sub-category in your marketplace that you can dominate.  

Here is a simple illustration of brand categories.  The above picture shows a variety of heirloom red tomatoes with yellow stripes.  If all of real estate could be classified as a tomato, then the heirlooms could represent luxury real estate.  In the kingdom of heirlooms, there are many heirloom varieties. 

This photo shows a darker red heirloom with green stripes, and beside it is the yellow heirloom with red striping.  These three varieties could be classified as sub-categories in your marketplace.  If yellow tomatoes represent luxury condos, the opportunity here is to be the king/queen (the yellow tomato) of the luxury condo market.

The differences in the DNA makeup of these categories are minor, but the characteristics in terms of shape, color and flavor are distinctive. The heirloom tomato’s target market is discerning tomato lovers in general, but each customer has their preferences. The key to branding is to clearly amplify the difference so that the customer looking for sweet, low acidic tomatoes, for instance, can quickly be matched with the right brand, yellow tomatoes.

Buying from or listing with a dedicated specialist gives your client confidence, that they are dealing with an expert. Branding therefore, accelerates the selection process in a sea of choices, and saves time for everyone.

What color is your tomato?

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: 7/16/2012 at 12:05 PM
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Agelessness of a Championship Mindset

Photo by Lucy Clark

Unlike some professions marketing luxury real estate is a game you can play at the level of market leadership at any age in your professional career. However, It takes the mindset of a champion and the championship mindset is ageless. 

Both Serena Williams and Roger Federer have proven that point at this year’s Wimbledon Tennis Tournament. Serena became the first woman over 30 to win a Grand Slam title since Martina Navratilova over 20 years ago.  And, she did so against odds that she would not return to the sport due to health problems.  Federer looked like he peaked back at the Australian Open in 2010.  Now, he is number one in the world, again. 

What motivates a champion?  What did these two tennis champs have to prove to the world?  Sure it feels good to the admiration of peers and fans alike.  But, a true champion has a core inner conviction to be the best he or she can be. 

Market leadership is a game that requires strategy to gain or sustain the championship level. First, it requires identifying the winning formula to out think your competition. Then, it requires the consistency of repeating the winning formula over and over again. 

But, without the mindset of a champion there is no strategy that can get you there.  What is that mindset? It is a mental state devoid of self-doubt. It is a singular focus on a desired outcome that necessitates quickly releasing contradictory thoughts, accessing memories of previous triumphs and maintaining the perspective of what is at stake. 

In our professional practice, as brand strategists to luxury real estate marketing professionals, we work exclusively with market leaders or their challengers. Our clients are those who already have the mindset of a champion or are reaching for it regardless of their age. Like Federer and Williams, they are true inspirations.

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.


Personal & Company Branding: What Is Your Unique Promise of Value?

In marketing luxury real estate you only have a Nano-second to capture the attention of your ideal clients and communicate your unique promise of value. If your message promises to solve a problem or add significant value you have the best chance of gaining a new client.

When your branding is spot on it is your shortcut in this communication process. Your personal or company brand must send a clear, succinct message to your target through words, symbols and sounds, a message that must encapsulate the distinct benefits that will be derived from doing business with you vs. your competition. Identifying, then distilling your unique promise of value into a concise message is an art.  Here is an example of one company has mastered this art. 

Coffee is one of the most ubiquitous commodities in the world. As such it poses one of the biggest branding challenges on earth.  We give Seattle’s Best very high praise for breaking through the clutter and standing out in this highly competitive food category.  

They came up with a suite of 5 different coffees that suit the needs of the majority of coffee drinkers.  Their unique promise of value: making it easy to choose the perfect cup of coffee for you.  They call it the Level System. From light and bright Level 1 to dark and bold level 5 they claim that they have an expertly blended level for everyone. 

Can you see the brilliance behind this brand strategy? The next time you need to buy coffee you do not even need to remember the brand name. Just remember a number between 1 and 5. First they take the guesswork out of selecting the right blend.  Then, they make it impossible to forget your preference or the preference of whomever you are buying for.  “I’m a  #2 and my roommate is a #5”.   

For those, who are time-starved they just made life a little bit easier. They solved a common problem How can you distill your luxury real estate marketing message to accomplish the same goal?

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: 7/10/2012 at 3:25 PM
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Personal and Company Branding: Is Your Slogan Engaging?

As a luxury real estate marketing professional do you have an engaging slogan? We have mentioned in a previous post, that using effective slogans as a personal branding and marketing strategy for real estate agents is an excellent way to differentiate you from the competition. The entire purpose of using a slogan is to engage your target market and get them talking about you.

Here is an example of a brand and a slogan that we noticed while dining in the town of Mathews, Virginia.  One glance and you know exactly what type of business this is and who their ideal customers are. It is brief, succinct and to the point.  And, it is humorous which captures attention. 

Is your slogan engaging?

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: 7/9/2012 at 3:24 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: America’s Luxury-The New Entrepreneurial Spirit

It is a luxury to live in America. In the spirit of celebrating America’s birthday, we are sharing with you some quintessential American places  (and fabulous people we have met there) during our recent travels to work with some East Coast clients.  The definition for quintessential: is representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.  Quintessential is an essential word to know in the Language of Luxury.

We discovered The Inn at Tabbs Creek on the Internet.  Every online comment about the place was positive.  After a 3-hour drive in traffic from Reagan National on a hot Virginia day, we turned into to an expansive tree- lined driveway and this magnificent view of the Inn appeared (see photo).   We were warmly greeted and shown to our room via the flower gardens lovingly tended by owner Lori Dusenberry. Our room had a view of an inlet of the Chesapeake Bay. (see photo below)

Since it was dinnertime, our greeter, Lori’s brother, gave us suggestions and directions to restaurants in nearby Mathews, a quaint little town.  As we drove out, we noticed a large plot of land with a myriad of vegetables, the domain of owner, Greg Dusenberry, Lori’s husband.  These wonderful organic vegetables would be part of our breakfast for the two mornings we were there.  Lori and Greg exemplify the spirit of entrepreneurship and innovative thinking of an American family owned business.  We think this excerpt from their website expresses their ingenuity and their intentions perfectly.

“The main Inn is an 1880's newly renovated farmhouse with a separate cottage housing the luxury suites just across the garden and pool. An eco-friendly and certified Virginia Green lodging establishment, The Inn at Tabbs Creek is just the place if you appreciate the natural splendor of the outdoors yet want the luxury and comfort of a casual B&B. We have also partnered with Carbonfund.org to pay for our carbon offsets, so that you may stay "Guilt Free"! (or at least, Carbon Neutral).”

Our breakfasts at the Inn were the culinary highlights of our trip.  We had crabmeat omelets with their fresh crabs harvested that morning, and fresh steamed asparagus. The previous morning we enjoyed a sausage quiche with heirloom tomatoes from Greg’s organic garden. The muffins, filled with fresh local berries, came right out of their oven, piping hot, to our table.

Our hosts graciously invited our clients to join us for our breakfast feasts on both days of our stay. We felt pampered, loved and definitely spoiled.

The Inn at Tabs Creek is a quintessential American place, with its picturesque setting, its superb cuisine and especially the generosity of spirit that was extended to us. It definitely rivals any of the French or Italian countryside inns that we have experienced.

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: 7/5/2012 at 3:22 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: America’s Luxury: Localvores

Localvores, a word coined in 2007 in San Francisco, defines a growing trend of eating foods grown in one’s geographical area.   The numbers of farmers selling directly to consumers has doubled in the years between 1997 and 2007, and is continuing that doubling trend according to the US Department of Agriculture.  This trend has enhanced the economy of local communities. Eating local is considered important as part of a healthy diet.

Part of our luxury real estate marketing research, as we travel to our clients’ marketplaces, includes exploring the local foods.  In Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay our clients took us to lunch at Merroir which overlooks the Chesapeake Bay.  Merroir (smart branding) is a play on the word “Terroir”. This is a French word term used in wines, chocolate, and coffee to describe the unique attributes of the area’s soil and climatic conditions which gives a distinct taste to that particular wine or food. And, "Mer" means sea in French, as "Terre" means earth.

Merroir is a tasting room for oysters grown locally in different areas of the water.  According to co-owner Travis Croxton, “Every oyster is influenced by its marine surrounding, and you can taste those differences.”   Three types of oysters are on the menu: Rappahannock River Oysters, Stingray Oysters and Olde Salt Oysters.  The Rappahannock River Oysters are raised in the tail end of the river of the same name, where the freshwater meets the saltwater of the bay and are sweeter. Stingrays grown in Mobjack Bay are saltier. The Olde Salt Oyster from the Chincoteague Island is the saltiest of the three.  The limited menu includes steamed clams, crab cakes, salads and fried green tomatoes.

We loved the Rappahannock River Oysters.  We also ordered crab cakes (grown locally and fresh that morning) and sampled fried green tomatoes.  It was gourmet heaven.   So if you ever find yourself anywhere near the Chesapeake Bay in Virginia, make sure you stop at Merroir‘s.  They are open Wednesday through Sunday.   We are thankful for all the localvores in America.

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: 7/3/2012 at 3:20 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing: America’s Luxury: Warm, Welcoming People

It is a luxury to live in America, and in the spirit of celebrating America’s birthday, we are sharing with you some of the most quintessential places and people we have experienced in our recent travels to our clients marketplaces.  The definition for quintessential: is representing the most perfect or typical example of a quality or class.  This is also in our opinion one of the facets which defines luxury.

Captain Stannard House

Country Inn in Westbrook, Connecticut

This is where we learned from Jim and Mary Brewster (the owners of this wonderful bed and breakfast), this sentence, “We cannot wait to spoil you”.  And they were true to their words.  If you read our blog, you probably saw   the picture of the tasty brownies treats on the dresser.  Breakfasts were delicious, and the common areas comfortable and inviting.  The House has been lovingly restored, and the work was done by an architect who specializes in restoring and building homes that are a 100 years old. 

After dinner, we spent the evenings in the living room on comfortable leather couches catching up with our correspondence.  We felt completely at home.  The Stannard Inn is located one block from the beach, where the Atlantic meets the river.  We came in strangers and we left as friends, and that is one of America’s luxury traits—warm and welcoming people.  We are looking forward to our next visit.

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: 7/2/2012 at 3:16 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: "Real Books" In Luxury Home Design

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, it is important to keep up with the trends of luxury home design.  Although kitchens, man/woman caves, master suites are still considered as leaders in exceptional home designs, the home library is emerging as a “must have room” in luxury homes and apartments.   Architectural Design magazine has dedicated a large portion of their recent issues to library designs, featuring many luxury homes with exceptional libraries.

The idea of having a home library can be traced to Roman times.  A sign of a well respected Roman was demonstrated by his library regardless of whether he could read or not.  It was a symbol of status and intelligence.  Today’s home owners are designing llibraries as an expression of their personality, a retreat from all the usual home noises, a way to display  their book collections, and a  comfortable place to curl up to read a book. 

With the advent of digital readers, and the closing of many of the larger book chain stores (Borders and Barnes & Noble), it seemed that “real” books were doomed to extinction.  However, used book stores are reporting a large uptick in sales to a new customer base: 30 plus years old.  These young homeowners are walking in to buy books by the foot, or specific collections to display in their newly designed libraries.  They want their children to experience “real” books. Rare book dealer Donald Heald a 40 year old New York company has noticed that his clientele now also includes  a growing number of individuals in their 30’s.

"If you want to own a great atlas of London from the 18th century, that when you hold it in your hands you're transported, there is no app for that," Mr. Heald says.

The trend for a library in the home is also appearing in median home prices. Many home owners are building shelves for books.  DIY shows and magazines are giving detailed instructions on how to build shelving and library nooks.  From a book lovers’ perspective, it is reassuring that all things digital do not always rule the home roost.

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.


Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: Keep Your Message Brief

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is important to communicate who you are and what you do with words and imagery.  Your collateral materials and web site should articulate the essence of your brand in a nanosecond.

We often attribute the quote of “A picture is worth a 1000 words” to Confucius.  However, research shows that this attribution to Confucius was given by an advertiser named Fred Barnard who said he called it a Chinese proverb, so that people would take it seriously”. As time went on, Confucius was credited with this adage. Mr. Barnard promoted the use of images on the sides of streetcars as part of an advertisement.  His sentence was “One Look is Worth a Thousand Words (1921 trade journal, Printer’s Ink.)  In another ad in 1927, Mr. Barnard used the phrase, “One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words”

More research reveals that in the novel Fathers and Sons written in 1862, the Russian writer Ivan Turgenev wrote, “A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound.”

Here is an example of a picture is worth a thousand words.  The entrance to the small 6 acre Dog and Oyster Vineyard in Virginia is flanked by two corkscrew sculptures each measuring 40 feet.  There are no signs needed to express what is happening here.

So keep your message brief, your pictures bright and expressive so you don’t need 1000 or 10,000 words to say 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: 6/27/2012 at 12:32 PM
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The Ultimate Man Cave

At the surface level, the concept of a man cave can evoke a lot of questions. Why does a man need a refuge from the rest of his home? What’s the female equivalent to a man cave? (Hint: don't say the kitchen.) If a guy doesn't care about the decor or fixtures of his home, why does he suddenly place so much value on having a personal space in which he can do whatever he wants? Even though this unexplained need for personal space is not unlike the teenager who demands his or her own room and the creative freedom to decorate said room however possible, the fact remains that many men want -- and get -- a room in the home they can call their own.

The contents of these man caves can vary from one to the next, but common fixtures include ample comfortable seating, entertainment in the form of a television, a video game system or gaming table supporting billiard, ping pong and/or air hockey, and -- perhaps more importantly -- no trace whatsoever of the feminine touch that in many cases pervades the rest of the home.

And even though guys might shudder when interior decor is brought up, it's just as likely that they'll get highly territorial and opinionated when it comes to dressing up the walls of a man cave. With that in mind, it's wise to approach a man cave's design both practically and systematically to make sure it becomes everything he wants.

Choosing a focal point

The focal point of a man cave should be whatever the man considers to be the most important fixture. In most cases, that's a flat-screen television, but alternatives include a foosball or gaming table computer or even a bar. The rest of the room's trappings can be built around this centerpiece, letting you arrange furniture and choosing complimenting entertainment features.

Establishing a theme

Is the guy in question a big sports fan? Does he own some sort of collection he’d like to display? Does he want his man cave to be an homage to a certain person or entity? In this case, the best approach is to let the man exercise his own creative muscles. If that means walls littered with Spiderman posters, so be it. If one corner is devoted to an extensive trucker hat collection, that's his choice.

Man caves often depart from the decor of the rest of the home, and in a fair number of instances that decor may lack consistency itself. But if the goal is to provide a man with a space that is all his own, then the best approach is to let him make all the decisions -- and live with the results.

Rounding out the offerings

Once the basics are in place, the rest of the room can be filled in with smaller furniture and accessories. For the female in a shared living situation, this can be a good opportunity to move that Die Hard collector's set from the main living room into the man cave, where it’ll be better appreciated and less visible to the casual visitor. In many cases, this work can be done on the cheap by simply arranging furniture and installing some basic features into the room.

For more intensive man cave projects requiring renovating a room, such as to install a bar area, higher costs and greater planning may be involved. In these cases, it’s wise to talk to a contractor ahead of time to get a sense of the estimated costs of these plans.

In the end, the ultimate man cave is simply one that provides an entertaining respite for a man and his friends. Such a setup can cost as much or as little as you want depending on what you want and what you already have to outfit the room. Some people choose to sink a considerable amount of money into having a multi-purpose entertaining room, but if you decide to do that, don't expect the women to politely bend over backwards and give you full reign of your domain.

This article was provided by Jessica Stark. Jessica is interested in gardening and DIY projects. She enjoys spending time outdoors and blogging on behalf of Sears and other brands she loves. Image via atgcustom.


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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 6/26/2012 at 3:41 PM
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Luxury Real Estate Marketing Tip: What is your “VA” (Value Added)--Part 2?

To distinguish yourself as a luxury real estate marketing professional you must be able to instantly articulate how you stand out from your competition You must be able to answer the question: What is your “VA” (Value Added). 

Most of what used to differentiate you,  such as  integrity, competence and local market knowledge is simply not enough. These attributes have become the commodities of the trade in the same way MLS search, via IDX, has become a commodity on any broker or agent website. 

For purveyors of luxury goods and services the #1 challenge is commoditization.  Sooner or later, without offering a strong Value Added service, you will have to resort to competing just based on price.  Look what is happening in retail!

An increasingly large numbers consumers are doing their shopping research at retail stores but do not actually buy there. Instead, they comparison shop for the best prices online (sometimes right in the store with their smart phones).  At sites such as Amazon, they can purchase the same product for less in one click and also get free 2-day shipping. Or, perhaps, the consumer discovers that the same item is on sale at a competing store just a few blocks away.  

BACK TO THE FUTURE

During a recent business trip to the East Coast we were able to spend some time  checking out the specialty shops and boutiques in Georgetown, Washington D.C.. There, we discovered the Keith Lipert Gallery who specializes in contemporary, affordable fashion jewelry and decorative art. Lipert travels the fashion and cultural capitals of the world to find distinctive pieces that are often crafted by small family-owned businesses.  His clientele is both sophisticated and international, people who not only appreciate his adroitness at discovering unique hidden treasures, but also appreciate his extraordinary personalized service.

As customers peruse the displays of fashion jewelry, Lipert will approach them with an item that he feels would suit them and insists they try it on with his assistance.   There is no pressure here. He just wants to make your shopping experience extraordinary, like it used to be in Europe and still is in some cases.  It allows him to engage his customers in a dialogue that does well beyond self-service. 

This “back to the future” customer service approach plus his offering of unique items that cannot be found elsewhere is his VA.  What is yours?

To read what is your value added, Part 1, click here.

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: 6/26/2012 at 1:49 PM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Luxury Real Estate
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate Tip: A Picture is Worth a 1000 Words!

As a luxury real estate marketing professional it is important to communicate who you are and what you do with words and imagery.  Your collateral materials and web site should articulate the essence of your brand in a nanosecond.

Here is an example that was pointed out to us by our clients in the Virginia Chesapeake marketplace.   Notice how the building columns are designed.  What a wonderful way to capture the attention of your target market with humor and bring a smile to everyone's face.

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: 6/25/2012 at 9:23 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers | Luxury Real Estate
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