A Horseman's Utopia

Ocala, Fla., in the north-central part of the state, is a horseman’s utopia. It’s what brought Realtor Joan Pletcher to the area 27 years ago – her husband operates a thoroughbred-training facility – and that utopia also affords Joan the opportunity of placing great people with great properties which is her passion.  

The ranch lifestyle defines Ocala. The city and the surrounding towns of Marion County are rich with horse farms, ranches and equestrian

estates. The area’s rolling hills and tropical climate complement an outdoors-oriented lifestyle year-round.

In contrast to the pastoral qualities of the land, Ocala also offers fine dining and boutique shopping. “It also lends its residents a full calendar of social and artistic events and benefits,” Pletcher says.

It has the upscale and down-to-earth atmosphere that makes Ocala unique. “You can live in your dream home while still having acreage for your equestrian hobbies,” she says.

Perched on a knoll overlooking a rolling landscape and a picturesque spring-fed pond, a 5,000-sq.-ft. home epitomizes Ocala’s equestrian lifestyle. A gated entry and winding tree-lined drive lead to the main, five-bedroom residence. It boasts luxury amenities such as a chef’s kitchen with custom cabinets, a family room with built-in bookcases, high-end finishes like beveled glass, crown molding and high ceilings. The first-floor master suite is afforded privacy, as the other four bedrooms are on the second floor. A bright, glassed-in porch opens to colorful gardens surrounding the pool.

The property also includes a two-bedroom guest house that has a large great room and a screened porch overlooking the pond. An equestrian barn contains private living quarters. 

Offered at $4,599,000

Article by Kendra Gemma

Endless Luxury and Endless Possibilities

Resting on the east coast of south Florida, Naples is nothing short of a paradise to its residents. The city’s weather offers the sub-tropical breeze of the surrounding Gulf of Mexico along with some “sun, sun and more sun,” exclaims Tiffany McQuaid, lead real estate agent with Levitan-McQuaid Real Estate Services. But with spring in full force and summer quickly approaching, Naples residents will get a break from hot Florida rays as the upcoming months will be filled with calm breezes and occasional afternoon rains. 

Naples also offers its residents a rich downtown culture, with fine dining and entertainment options. The city is home to various art festivals and charity outings all year round, as well as professional sports tournaments. From a recreational standpoint, Naples has a slew of athletic opportunities at its disposal, from challenging golf courses to great beaches, which are ideal for waterfront activities like boating, fishing, swimming and other aquatic sports. “There is a long list of available activities to enjoy,” Tiffany says. “The problem with living in Naples is deciding what to do first!”

Article by Camille Rabbat

All photos credited to naples-florida.com

Bonita Springs: A lifestyle choice

Bonita Springs is both a city and a community that is opportunely located on the southwest coast of Florida, halfway between Fort Myers and Naples. “The best thing about Bonita Springs is its location,” says Barry DeNicola Sr., long-time resident and owner of Barry DeNicola Realty. “Living so close to two major cities just makes the day-to-day living experience much more convenient because both cities are less than a 30-minute drive away.

Bonita Springs has the feel of a tropical island: warm weather by the day and comfortable, cool breezes by night, yet it still has all the amenities of an urban setting without the usual overdevelopment seen in major cities. This unbelievable weather is perfect for the available activities, such as boating, fishing, other water-related activities, and golfing. There are two easily accessible beaches, Barefoot Beach and Bonita Beach. Both provide you with heavenly, white sand and turquoise aqua water, completing the ideal fairytale setting to this already magical, private world.

“There are many lifestyle choices when choosing the home that best suits your needs, including but not limited to beach properties, living properties, and golf properties,” Barry says. With so many lifestyle choices in such a serene, well-situated place, people may find their only problem is not wanting to leave such a brilliant, unspoiled place!

Article by Tabitha Baez

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Posted by: Natalie Watson
Posted on: 4/3/2012 at 10:33 AM
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Categories: duPont Marketplace | Luxury Real Estate
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50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Steamboat Springs, CO

Steamboat Springs has a reputation as being one of the friendliest resort towns in the USA. The townspeople have a tradition of genuinely caring for each other, an “Old West” ranching tradition, that is engrained in the soul of the community. And, they are proud of it. Come Winter Olympics the entire town gathers to send off their local Olympic athletes. If a neighbor needs help they are there to help them.

According to Stephan Baden,”What is distinct about our community is that we are both a ranching community and a world class ski resort. This diversity, plus the diversity of people who have moved here from all over the world makes Steamboat Springs a great place to live and to raise a family”. 

“We were a community before we had a ski resort, not the other way around, states Ulrich Salzberger  If the mountain blew up we would still be a community. Our rugged ranching heritage runs deep in our psyche. It is said with great humor, that the only people who wear ties in Steamboat Springs are out-of-town attorneys and sales people, and we really do not need any of them.  This is a town where unpretentiousness and friendliness prevail; there is no class distinction or age distinction”.

Arlene Zopf  says, “In our community, people of all generations are into the outdoor lifestyle; it is not just for the young. Steamboat's Over the Hill Gang has a ski program that is the only one of it's kind in the country. They offer guided skiing for anyone over the age of 50 at no charge, daily, throughout the season. Participation is open to anyone, even if you are not a local member. You always feel totally welcomed when you come back home to Steamboat Springs. Everyone smiles and says hello!”

According to Chris Paoli, “The vigorous outdoor lifestyle does attracts a  bright, young demographic to Steamboat Springs, those who are athletic and choose to live here year-round.  Cam Boyd says, “We notice that Steamboat Springs, with its outstanding schools, attracts quite a number of younger families, especially those whose careers are location neutral or those who are interested in starting new ventures.  Many small,local, lifestyle-oriented businesses thrive here such as Smart Wool, the makers of outdoor clothing and Honey Stinger, the nutritional protein bars”.

“In Steamboat Springs mother nature definitely plays favorites, says Nick Metzler, Our unique topography, our lower elevation and geographic position create four fabulous seasons. In addition to our strong sense of community, it is our climate that makes our town distinct from all other ski towns. Because we have little wind,  our Champagne Powder® lasts longer in the winter.  Our Chamber of Commerce claims 300 blue sky days a year with lots of sun. Our summers and falls last longer. In spring it is green like Ireland while the tops of the mountains are still white with snow”.

According to Jon Wade, “Steamboat is just far enough from Denver that people do not commute here that often. As a result, it is a lifestyle destination not just a weekend getaway.   Kids spend more time outdoors and get involved in more outdoor activities. Many of their friends are traveling around the world in Junior Olympics. They meet other kids from all over the world, who participate in this program.  It gives them a great perspective and creates the sense that anything is possible”.

Although it is not adjacent to a major city, Steamboat is easy to get to by plane. “Our local airport is just 20 miles away”, says Doug Labor.  There are direct flights from several major cities to Steamboat Springs.  Compared to many mountain resort town our airport is relatively easy to access even in challenging weather”.

Pam Vanatta  sums it up the Steamboat Springs lifestyle when she says,”It is easy to get here and live in our  small community. People are genuinely friendly and they are happy!”

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 via the agents/brokers interviewed.

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Posted by: Nicole Lauber
Posted on: 4/3/2012 at 10:23 AM
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Trident Farms in Nevada

Nevada is easily associated with the bright lights of the never-sleeping Las Vegas Strip or the exhilarating adventures found on ski trips in Lake Tahoe. One of the best-kept secrets of  The Silver State is nestled between three mountain ranges in northern Nevada.

The alluring Trident Farms sprawls 1,800 acres and is just a 4-hour drive between Reno, Nevada and Boise, Idaho. The farm offers residents and visitors the utmost privacy, breathtaking views of lush green alfalfa pastures and mountain peaks, and a neighborly community of antelope, deer and big horn sheep. “Life slows down when you are out here,” says Dolan Miller, owner of Trident Farms.

Trident Farms, listed at $7,979,000, is a great farming and hunting retreat for residents and guests. “Our goal was to have a place where grandkids could come during the summers and have a great time riding in tractors and learning about country life,” says Miller.

Among the property’s many amenities are five houses, a 1,000-yard shooting range, a private dirt landing strip and hundreds of miles of Jeep and ATV trails. The property also has high-speed Internet, an unusual and exciting convenience considering the distant to major cities.

There is something that is hard to explain when you live or visit the farm hunting retreat. You get to own something that very few people will ever have.”

Dolan Miller
Owner, Trident Farms


John Knipe
Knipe Land Company, Inc.

Article by Natalie Watson
Photo credit to knipeland.com

Hip South Florida

Head south in the Sunshine State and you’ll hit the most populated metropolis in the Southeastern United States – the Miami-Fort Lauderdale metropolitan area.

“There is an endless list of things to do in Fort Lauderdale and surrounding areas in South Florida,” says Michelle Farber Ross of MMD Realty. “During the day, one can cruise along the New River, walk down Las Olas and enjoy critically acclaimed restaurants, or enjoy the pristine beaches of Fort Lauderdale and Miami Beach.”

Similar to other luxury real estate markets, the Miami-Fort Lauderdale’s market is “picking up in momentum and sales,” Michelle notes. “We are seeing prices level off and inventory levels are down about 35 percent from this time last year. Buyers are taking advantage of the deals available right now.”

So why should someone decide to invest in South Florida, other than great deals on luxury real estate? “The beauty of South Florida is that activities can continue year-round without any interruption due to weather,” Michelle says. “The quality of life is so great here that we have happy residents who enjoy life!”


Article by Nicole Lauber

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Tour and Brew to Impress

When you are marketing luxury real estate, here is a fun way to impress your clients while driving them from property to property.  Why not offer them an espresso?

Handpresso, a French company is the creator of an outdoor version of an espresso machine powered by a hand pump which is available in the US via importika.com, $199.95.  This model comes with 4 cups, a serving flask, and two small napkins in an elegant black carrying case,  As you are touring the gardens of a home you are showing, you can relax with your clients as you discuss the property and serve them a freshly brewed espresso.  We would suggest  packing a tin of biscotti and  some chocolate to sweeten the deal making process.  The coffee pods are also available in decaf.

The other gadget is a personal one. Since 2008, European drivers have had the advantage of being able to brew a creamy cup of espresso in their car.  This is very handy when you are rushing out of the door and have no time to stop at your favorite coffee place. The new gadget, HandpressoAuto, made by French company Handpresso is due to arrive in the US later this year (Christmas present?) plugs directly into the cigarette lighter of your auto.  It takes two minutes for the portable machine (size of an average thermos) to deliver a cup of espresso.  All you have to do is pour water into the thermos, place a coffee pod, hit the “on” button, and enjoy the hit of caffeine.  The personal one presently retails for 150 euros.

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: 4/2/2012 at 7:44 AM
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LoveStone Inn

Restore your soul today with this masterpiece manor, the LoveStone Inn, located on the shores of Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. While the lake itself is known as the “Jewel of the Blue Ridge,” LoveStone Inn could easily be the “Jewel of Smith Mountain Lake.”

“This inn is different from other estates in Smith Mountain Lake due to the six acres of grounds, beautiful two-tiered beach, no-wake cove, and private neighborhood,” say Dawn Spencer and Tom Zirkelbach, current owners of LoveStone Inn. “In addition, the architecture is unique and unlike anything you will find around the lake area.”

Built as a private residence in 1977, the property now serves as the LoveStone Inn Bed and Breakfast and the PebbleStone Cottage and Conference Center. “We moved from Chicago to Virginia with a dream of being on Smith Mountain Lake and running a premier bed and breakfast,” say Dawn and Tom. The bed and breakfast has become just that – LoveStone Inn has been voted the “Best Place to Stay Overnight” on Smith Mountain Lake every year from 2003 to 2011.

The inn features four guest rooms, four full bathrooms, three large living spaces, a custom, gourmet kitchen with granite counters, two decks encompassing 2,500 square feet, and a hot tub. Just 100 feet away, the cottage has over 1,400 square feet with a master bedroom, massive loft great room, full bathroom, custom kitchen, laundry room, and storage room.

With two tiered beachfronts and a boat dock, the location is perfect for boating, kayaking, sailing, or fishing. Antiquing and wineries are favorite pastimes of Dawn and Tom, and Smith Mountain State Park is a short walk from their front door. Though the grounds are peaceful and private, you can enjoy city amenities with a quick 40-minute drive to Roanoke or Lynchburg.

“This lifestyle has renewed our faith in people, places and brought us peace of mind,” the couple says. “LoveStone Inn can bring a renewal of spirit and peace that is rare in the world we live in. It must be seen to believe.”


For more information:

Leslie Becker
Smith Mountain Lake Properties


Articel by Nicole Lauber

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Understanding Your Client's Mindset

Understanding the mindset of your high net worth clients is a high priority when you are marketing luxury real estate.  The ability to temporarily step out of your own mode of thinking and see the world through they eyes is one of the keys to becoming a market leader. It is essential to maintaining any great relationship.

People take different routes to arrive at the same place.  They solve problems from different angles.  They see the world through different paradigms or frameworks of thought. Your ability to see   their way and demonstrate that you can solve problems using their methodology can go a long way in gaining their trust.  You do not have to abandon your own preferences in the process.  Most people just want to be understood.

Here is an example of how it works.  Remember word problems in math?  Some of you might cringe at  at the thought.  But, try this one for fun.

If you have 8 balls of yarn and it takes 2/3 of a ball to make a scarf, how many scarves can you make with this much yarn?

Using typical mathematic methodology this can be accomplished by dividing 8 by 2/3, which is the same as multiplying 8 by3/2 (inverting the fraction 2/3 to 3/2 and multiplying), 8/1 x3/2 =24/2 or 12 scarves.

Someone else might that I can get at least 8 scarves out of this because it does not take a whole ball to knit one.  That would leave a 1/3 ball from each of those 8 scarves, and I need 2 of those remaining 1/3 balls to make another one.  Since I have 8 (1/3 balls left, I need 2 of those for each additional scarf.  I can divide 8 by 2 and get 4 more scarves for a total of 12 scarves.

Both approaches get you to the same place.  Which method is right?  Which method is best?  Is there only one way to get there?  Perhaps you prefer one method over the other.  But if you can understand how others think and are willing to demonstrate that you understand their approach, you will find that they are suddenly more receptive to understanding your way, too.  This can translate into more listings and more closed transactions.

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: 3/28/2012 at 8:43 AM
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Enchantment Marketing - Part 3

In marketing luxury real estate always keep this vitally important concept in mind: When Your Marketing and Branding Is Enchanting It Accelerates the Speed of Trust and Enables You to Close More Transactions

When a home buyer or seller is not relying on a referral to select a luxury real estate marketing professional the big question on their mind is “Who can I trust?” This is certainly the dilemma of most website visitors from out of town. If you can quicken the time it takes to establish trust you can save your prospects time and anxiety, which they will appreciate. Because enchantment marketing and branding accelerates the speed of trust it also enables you to close more transactions.

Think about how enchantment marketing and branding plays out when you are shopping for unfamiliar luxury goods without a brand recommendation from a trusted friend. When you do not have a recommendation three things help to accelerate the speed of trust and thus speed up your buying decision: 1) Enchanting  Packaging; 2) Enchanting Messaging, and; 3) Enchanting Brand Strategy.

Do you have a special memory of enjoying ice cream or gelato somewhere in time, somewhere on earth? We have two enchanting gelato memories and they both occurred in Italy.  One memory is Vivoli Il Gelato in Florence and the other one is a gelateria on the central square of Turin, Piazza Castel. We are always open to new ice cream and gelato experiences that compare to these fond memories.

Enchanting Packaging

Recently, we passed by the frozen dessert display case in one of our favorite markets and something caught our attention.  It was a new brand of coffee ice cream called, Blackbean. The clever container is shaped like a coffee cup with a lid. As gourmet coffee lovers and coffee ice cream lovers we felt obliged to test out this new brand because we were instantly enchanted by the packaging. 

Enchanting Messaging

What is remarkable about the combination of the packaging, the graphic design and the brand name itself is Blackbean’s clearly articulated marketing message. First, it instantly let us know the product’s specific niche within the larger category of ice cream or gelato: coffee ice cream. This is focused niche marketing at its very best!  Then, it told us, in a nano-second, its distinct promise of value, i.e, its unique selling proposition: “Bolder Coffee Ice Cream”.  As a result we immediately expected that this product would taste like a great strong cup of gourmet coffee that you would buy at a specialty coffee store or expresso bar. That is enchanting packaging and messaging!

Enchanting Brand Strategy

The price was also remarkable. Because of the smaller size of the container (12 oz.),it cost less than the other brands on the same shelf that have larger pint size containers (16 oz.).  The price per ounce may be identical to other premium ice cream and gelato brands on the same shelf that we had not yet tried.  But, with a lower price it offered yet another compelling reason to try Blackbean first.  That is enchanting brand strategy!

Promise of Value Fulfilled

After just a couple of spoonfuls, Blackbean became our favorite coffee ice cream!  It is very creamy and has a strong, rich coffee flavor which is exactly what we expected based on the enchantment of the packaging, messaging and brand strategy. Taken together these marketing and branding elements  propelled  Blackbean from total obcurity to top of our minds, in the niche of coffee ice cream.

To our surprise and delight, the mocha chips are actually unsweetened chocolate. We are fans of 80-85% cacao dark chocolate. So, we appreciated that the crunchy chocolate bits had a distinct bittersweet character that required our taste buds to “borrow” from the sweetness of the ice cream itself to balance the overall flavor. This engaged our minds as well as our palette in the tasting experience which is the hallmark of outstanding gourmet food. It adds another dimension to fine dining when you can also appreciate the thought behind the flavor sensations and aromas.

Enchantment Marketing and  Branding Accelerates the Speed of Trust.  

Delivery on Your Promise of Value Seals the Deal!

Based on our enchanted Italian gelato experiences and our love for strong gourmet coffee we were the perfect target market for Blackbean Mocca Chip ice cream. But, had the packaging not grabbed our attention in the first place, the probability of discovering this brand would have been very slim. We were not even thinking of buying ice cream that day.

Enchantment marketing and branding accelerated the speed of trust.  We were a match to the innovative thinking that went into this brand strategy and were wiling to risk $2.29 for a new culinary adventure. But, if Blackbean did not deliver on its value proposition that was so brilliantly communicated, we would not become loyal customers and raving fans. 

Luxury is all about heightened, uplifting experiences that convert to enchanted memories, whether it is buying a home or buying dessert.  When it comes to selecting a luxury real estate marketing professional without the recommendation of a trusted friend a risk must be taken by your prospects.  That is why enchantment marketing and branding is so vital to your luxury real estate marketing practice. How many out of town prospective buyers know one local broker from another? Enchantment marketing and branding can encourage prospects to take a chance on you by accelerating the speed of trust.  If you consistently deliver on your promise of value, you will definitely close more transactions.

The concept of Enchantment Marketing was inspired by Guy Kawasaki.

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.

Wonderful Estate Home in Windermere, Fla.

A charming country-club community offering a wealth of lifestyle choices

Just 15 minutes from Disney and all of Orlando’s attractions is the quaint, family-friendly town of Windermere.  This quiet town is nestled on the shores of the famed Butler Chain of Lakes, a series of 11 lakes connected by navigable canals.  Windermere’s magnificent luxury homes are snuggled along the shorelines and embraced by lush Florida landscapes.  It’s no wonder that several well-known corporate leaders and sports celebrities call Windermere their home.

Windermere offers a pedestrian-friendly downtown, where you will find passersby seated on benches enjoying an ice cream cone or stopping in for a barbeque sandwich in a bustling local cafe.  To add to the quaintness, and at the request of residents, some of the roads leading to the lakes are still unpaved.  Just a short drive away are mansions in exclusive gated communities, where homes boast elaborate theaters, billiard rooms, polished marble floors and ornate towering ceilings.

What is so special about Windermere is the tremendous variety of lifestyle choices. For those who love city life, fine shopping and cultural activities, Orlando is just a short drive.  For those who favor a more relaxed approach, the town of Windermere offers access to all its beautiful lakes and golf courses.  Activities for young children, such as fishing, swimming, water sports, tennis and golfing, can often be found right in their own back yard or within their own community. At Windermere, you will discover a rare combination of small-town conviviality and sophisticated country club living, with an array of amenities for all ages. Windermere is simply a wonderful place to raise a family—or enjoy your retirement years.


Offered at $5,499,000

Carol Ann Hewitt, CIPS, CLHMS
Oxford Realty, Inc. – International Luxury & Estate Brokers
sales@oxfordrealty.com | www.oxfordrealty.com

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Posted by: Natalie Watson
Posted on: 3/24/2012 at 9:46 AM
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Wexford Jewel

Hilton Head Island, South Carolina
By Natalie Watson

Set between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean is Hilton Head Island, a reputable resort community off the coast of South Carolina. Exquisite homes sit on the 11-mile stretch of smooth sandy beaches along the Atlantic Ocean side of the island. Private residences, or “plantations” like Wexford Plantation and Long Cove Club, are one of the island’s best-kept secrets along the Intracoastal Waterway.

“Hilton Head is surrounded by natural beauty and strives to be an eco-friendly community,” says Steve Timperman, broker with Charter One Realty on Hilton Head Island. Its year-round gorgeous weather makes family-friendly recreational activities like biking, running, golfing, tennis and boating popular pastimes for residents and visitors.

Southern hospitality characterizes the approximately 36,000 full-time residents of Hilton Head Island. The island is inviting and offers a relaxed, unpretentious and secure environment.  The island is rich in culture and diversity, attracting people all over the world. Many visitors like it so much they become residents. “Seven days is just not enough to scratch the surface,” says Timperman.

A mending real estate market and booming rentals makes it a great time to buy on Hilton Head. One of the island’s premier residences can be found at 55 Bridgetown Road, behind the gates of the exclusive Wexford Plantation, a community featuring a private-controlled lock system marina, Arnold Palmer Signature golf course, tennis and clubhouse. The 6,727-square-foot home sits on the harbor with astounding marina and golf views. Amenities include a rooftop deck with kitchen and fireplace, two Jacuzzis that flow into the black- bottom swimming pool, a seven-car garage and 70-foot private boat dock.

Offered at $3,795,000


Charter 1 Realty & Marketing
Steve Timperman

Marketing Luxury Real Estate: The Evolution of Print Ads- Good Bye Head/House Shots and QR’s

Although it is in vogue to downplay the value of print marketing versus digital marketing, in many luxury real estate markets we are working in, print still plays a dominant part in a luxury real estate agents’ marketing budget.  Many sellers still insist on seeing their homes prominently displayed in a luxury magazine, the local newspapers, as well as in digital format.   Those agents who are using print media also began using QR’s aka Quick Response squares used to drive traffic to the websites for more buyer information.  The majority of luxury real estate ads looks identical—house shots and head shots.

In the upcoming April publication of Vanity Fair, several luxury brand print advertisers (Ralph Lauren, Prada, Versace and Chanel) have upgraded their print ads to an art form aimed at the affluent consumers. This focus to print advertising as an art form sets apart the luxury brands in a digitally focused world.  In this issue Chanel shot an entire 8 page campaign in black-and-white, taking a definite artistic route.  Given this emerging trend, the average looking ad will be overlooked. The house and head shot ad has to be rethought.

Another new technological advance is embedding an invisible watermark in the print ad; here is a quote from Digimarc the source of this new technology,

“The Digimarc Discover™ Online Services Portal embeds imperceptible digital watermarks into images or behind text without additional software. Detectable by today's most popular smart phones — your digitally watermarked content will deliver a wide range of new, rich media experiences to readers and consumers of your printed content.” 

In the April issue of Saveur Magazine, Starwood Hotels and Resorts who is the first in using this new technology explained their strategy:

“We had previously advertised in this publication and we were looking for ways to drive users to the Web more effectively, if not sooner,” said Michael Troy, Honolulu, HI-based director of field marketing at Starwood. ”This initiative allowed us to have users go right to content while still reading a magazine without having to go to a desktop or laptop computer. The publication’s targeted audience matched the demographics we want to be in front of with a visual message,” he said. “It also allows us to more effectively measure print views by tallying those users that went to the link via the print ad link.”

Unlike the QR square, the watermark is invisible to the eye, which makes the ad work as a unique entity.  The watermark is only visible if you have downloaded the app, and the phone will detect the watermark.  Readers can access the ad’s content on their Smartphone’s by pointing the phone’s camera at the full-page ad.  More than one watermark can be embedded in the ad for additional content and interaction.

Innovation is the hallmark of a market leader.  This new technology leverages the effectiveness of your print advertising for luxury real estate marketing and sets you apart from your competition.  Become known as an early adapter of new technology and stay on the leading edge.

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: 3/22/2012 at 12:00 PM
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Marketing Luxury Real Estate: Enchantment Marketing – Part 2

In Part 1 of this article series we differentiated Enchantment Marketing from what many luxury real estate marketing professionals claim as “exceeding expectations”.  Consumers have come to expect less and less professionalism from service providers.  We advised you not to fall in the trap of thinking that delivering excellent service and exceeding these lower expectations is the same as enchantment marketing. 

In today’s time starved world competition for attention is fierce. Achieving market leadership is all about attaining and sustaining top-of-mind status. First, you need to capture the attention of your target market.  Then you need to hold their attention over time.  That is what enchantment marketing is all about. To enchant means to charm, captivate fascinate, enthrall and delight.

The biggest challenge of enchantment marketing is being consistent.  You may be able to cast your “spell” of enchantment with a single action.  But, if you are not consistent, the spell will be broken and your clients may become disenchanted with you.

Nowhere is the challenge of consistent enchantment put to the test more rigorously than in the restaurant business in a major city. Here is a tale of two outstanding Italian restaurants in Los Angeles that have been around for decades which is a major feat in a town that can be extremely fickle. Both of them consistently serve excellent food. Both consistently provide excellent service. Each of them is owned by a master of enchantment.   But, for us, the spell of enchantment was broken by one of them.

Over the years, Restaurant #1 gained the reputation of being one of the best gourmet Italian restaurants in the world. We were taken there by out-of-town guests in the year it opened. It is expensive, but worth it because of the enchantment of the owner. Whenever we wanted to celebrate a special occasion or entertain clients this was the restaurant that came to mind first. We became friendly with the owner and introduced him to our friend who became his pastry chef. We never looked at a menu; the owner always ordered for us. He would select our wine and serve it himself (after his usual explanation of the wine’s origin and its characteristics) .

Restaurant #2 is the quintessential trattoria. One of the largest restaurant companies in Japan studied his operation for years before selecting the owner as their partner to open Italian restaurants in Japan. Being less expensive and less formal Restaurant #2 became an extension of our home when we were too exhausted to cook for ourselves.  We were immediately enchanted by the owner on our first visit while we were waiting for our table.  He brought us a glass of fine Italian wine and a slice of pizza “on the house”, because the place was literally swarming with people who arrived without reservations and the wait was longer than expected.

We also became friends with the owner of Restaurant #2. In fact, as commercial real estate brokers, we represented him in three restaurant transactions in Los Angeles.  We went to his wedding; we skied with the chef and have remained friends throughout the years. Each visit to Restaurant #2 is still special. There is always something unexpected brought to the table—a special glass of wine to try, a new recipe.  And, we always leave with a huge hug.

It was Restaurant #1 with which we became disenchanted during a recent birthday celebration. We have not lived in LA for over 10 years now and it was 5 years since our last visit. Prior to our arrival we were warned that Restaurant #1 was no longer up to par but we ignored it.

On this visit to Restaurant #1, the service and the food was excellent as usual.  But, the “sorcerer” never came over to our table to chat, to discuss our order, to select and serve our wine. The birthday dessert, which was always on the house, was forgotten. He acknowledged us only briefly when we arrived and was absent at the door for his typical Italian farewell. 

On the long drive home to Santa Barbara, where we now live, we questioned the value of the dining experience at Restaurant #1 for the first time ever.  The spell had been broken.  Our willingness to pay the higher prices for the enchanting experience evaporated.  There is no question that if we were to call him and tell him about our disappointment, we would be invited back for an extravagant meal at no charge.  Perhaps if the restaurant was in our new home town we would do it.  But, we are rarely in LA for dinner unless we are staying overnight before a flight from LAX.

Since the disenchantment with Restaurant #1 we have been to Restaurant #2 twice and we continue to feel like #2 is an extension of our home.  Consistency is the biggest challenge of enchantment marketing.  As a luxury real estate marketing professional, are you up to the challenge?


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: 3/22/2012 at 9:41 AM
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Categories: Luxury Guest Writers
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50 Top Luxury Real Estate Markets in the USA: Telluride, CO

Imagine a world class ski resort with no traffic or long lift lines, and no driving once you've arrived.  That is Telluride, Colorado. The Telluride Historic District (the majority of the town) is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also one of Colorado's 20 National Historic Landmarks.

According to TD Smith, “Telluride is a rejuvenated mining town that still has its roots as a community first and a resort second.  The developers were very sensitive to the importance of providing ample housing for locals who work at the resort.  There is no pretentiousness or glitz here.  We co-exist in a laid back, uncrowded environment where everyone can enjoy the scenic backdrop of the mountains and the active lifestyle”.

Jim Jennings explains this phenomenon in this way, “People who otherwise would have zero in common have a blast together at our annual Blue Grass Festival, for example”.  The event can be sold out months in advance!”

George Harvey says, “Telluride is stunningly beautiful; it takes your breath away. Ironically, one of our best attributes is the challenge to get here.  Most people arrive in Telluride via Montrose Regional Airport, located 67 miles to the north which has direct flights from many major cities.  The upside is that no one bothers the affluent visitors and home owners who deliberately choose Telluride for its leisurely lifestyle; those who treasure their privacy yet want to participate freely in our fine community. Children can roam around town and parents and grandparents can know they are safe. We have a free taxi cab service in Mountain Village seven days a week, so you can enjoy that extra glass of wine with dinner and not be concerned about driving home.”

According to Erik Fallenius, “Telluride is known not only for its magnificent setting but also for its charm. We are a pedestrian town; you do not see cars here. We have two unique communities: Telluride and Mountain Village. The two towns are connected by a free gondola, the only transportation system of its kind in North America. A 15 minute gondola ride takes you up to fabulous mid-mountain restaurants all year long with spectacular views along the way.  The free bus system, called Galloping Goose, makes a complete loop around the town”.  

According to Nels Cary, “We are the youngest of the major ski resorts.  It is not commercialized; there are no national chains, no neon lights.  The closest stoplight is miles away. It feels like a mountain town, not a tourist town.  We have a fully trained volunteer fire department comprised of community members who have participated for years”. 

Steve Catsman says, “Telluride is a beautiful place to work, to play and raise a family.  It is particularly exciting in the summertime when over 10,000 people come to visit and partake in the many cultural events that are featured here.  That is a lot of people for a town that is only ½ mile wide.   For skiers and snowboarders, the winters are great. Lift lines are virtually non-existent.”   

“For many people Telluride is a relaxed getaway that is now widely recognized as an all-season resort”, says Lars Carlson.  He adds, “In the summer, there are festivals just about every weekend including Mountainfilm and the Telluride Film Festival.  The outdoor lifestyle is a great way to meet cool people.  The raw beauty of the surroundings and the quaintness of our mountain towns are unparalleled”.

Photos Courtesty of the Agents & Brokers Intereviewed for This Article

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.