Sealing Your Energy Leaks in Real Estate & Life

In our last two articles series, “Avoiding the High Cost of Mindlessness” and “The Inner Game of Real Estate” we explored the advantages of achieving a state of relaxed focused concentration in your real estate practice.  The primary advantage, besides how great it makes you feel, is increasing the probability of manifesting your intentions.  Here is another piece of the puzzle that may be of help to you.  It certainly has been impactful for us:  Sealing Energy Leaks!

One of the components of our strategic branding consulting practice is advising real estate companies on recruiting agents.  The central idea here is to become so certain of your firm’s “brand signal” that you attract more like minded agents that are naturally on your brand’s wavelength.

Hiring agents based on their track record of high sales volume alone or recognizing them as rising stars does not necessarily insure that they are on your company’s brand signal.  The right fit is someone who shares the same core values as you.  If they act like prima donnas or cut corners on ethical matters, for example, they can suck the energy right out of your company. 

That is why it is of paramount importance that you clearly articulate and broadcast your brand signal to potential recruits. That way you can prevent energy leaks.

Your current roster of agents must also get the message about your brand signal. It must be made loud and clear to them as well, because you may need to let go of some agents to seal an energy leak.

On a personal level, you must seal you own energy leaks. Otherwise, they will weaken your personal power to realize your intentions.  Sometimes the best thing you can do to expand your real estate practice is to “fire” energy draining clients.

We recently sealed two energy leaks once we recognized how they were diluting the power of our own intentionality. One was cutting our cable TV, which freed up quite a bit of our time and energy. Now, we are much more deliberate about what we select as entertainment and also about how frequently we watch. 

Our other sealed leak is abstaining from energy-draining discussions or news articles about politics. It is not that we have buried our heads in the sand. We do want to know what is going on.  But, as soon as current events begin to distract us from our primary purpose of growing our business and enjoying our lives we practice the art of sealing the energy leak simply by changing the subject to energy-giving topics.

What energy leaks have you identified?  What actions have you taken to seal them?

Branding Moments: The Curse Of The Cursive Font Illustrated!

Script or Cursive fonts are often thought to be fonts that express luxury.  However, less that 20%  of the premier luxury brands logos have cursive fonts.  If they do, they are usually simple, easy to read on a business card, a billboard, or in mobile form.

Recently when we drove by a shopping center monument sign depicted below,  both Ron and I read it as "Swille", and we wondered at the choice of the name.  The definition of "swill" is a large mouthful of a drink, or kitchen refuse and scraps of waste food mixed with water for feeding pigs.

The next day on our lunch break, we pulled in and parked so we could take a closer look.  The "ev" of the sign transformed into a "w" in certain light!  No doubt this font was chosen with luxury in mind, as there are several high end retailers in this shopping center.
 
When choosing a font, we pay close attention to every letter of the alphabet (caps and lower case) to make sure it can easily be read on a sign, card, letterhead and all the brand iterations,  It also has to be aesthetically pleasing and in harmony with the brand.  Character spacing can make or break a brand name in a logo. In this case the spacing was too close between the "e" and the "v".

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

The Inner Game of Real Estate – Part 3 Powered by Passion & the Joy of Mastery

We often hear that a goal of top real estate agents is to earn the trust of their clients so they become “clients for life”. These agents are in it to win it, the inner game of real estate that is!  They have a mindset for professional longevity that can only be powered by passion and the joy of mastery.

To truly appreciate this mindset, one needs to look outside the real estate industry and learn about others who have achieved mastery in their lives.  Chef Jiro Ono, now 91 years old, is the owner of a three-Michelin starred Japanese sushi restaurant. With an average check of $350 per person and only 10 seats he is perennially booked at least one month in advance.

Jiro started working at a local restaurant at the age of seven before moving to Tokyo to study as an apprentice and eventually open up his own restaurant. His peers regard him as the greatest sushi craftsman alive.

World famous Italian education innovator, Maria Montessori, was a 20th century master. She observed an important behavioral phenomenon about the way kids learn. While in the state of relaxed focused concentration that we refer to throughout this article series they will repeat a learning task over and over again until they have an “explosion”- a sudden joyful burst of insight.

This explosion is the key to mastering a task. Once they have “cracked the code” and can effortlessly repeat the action, they experience a gain in self-confidence and then move on to master another skill.  For a very young child this can be something as simple as pouring colored water from one vessel to another without spilling.  The learning environment is purposely set up to provide opportunities for these “learning explosions”, the stepping-stones to mastery.

Someone who approaches their real estate practice as if it was a playground where they can continuously experience “learning explosions” is playing the inner game of real estate.  They create the games conditions in their minds so they can constantly win at something. They deliberately seek out ways to better serve their clients and to better market themselves.

Personally, Maria Montessori has provided us with tremendous inspiration for lifelong learning and mastery as we pursue our own inner game of brand strategy in the luxury real estate realm. As a touchstone we keep an old 1000 Lire note in our wallets on which she is depicted. Like us, the Italians truly value education and the pursuit of mastery.

Is your real estate practice powered by passion and the joy of mastery? If so, you are playing the inner game of real estate. May you live long and prosper in your profession!

The Inner Game of Real Estate – Part 2 Start Monkeying Around!

One who plays the inner game of real estate approaches one’s profession not only as a means to earn a living, but also as a vehicle for achieving mastery as a way of life.  Mastery in this context is more than just gaining a proficiency in the skills of listing, marketing and selling homes. Reaching for mastery is an attitude towards one’s practice that transforms the entire enterprise into an art form through which one can achieve self-realization.

The big difference between agents who embark upon the inner game of real estate vs. the opposite- “the outer game”- is that they aim to attain a level of self-reliance and mental self-sufficiency that factors out the need for approval and admiration from outside sources. They delight in their own accomplishments, but only momentarily, because they know the real “high” occurs in the process of getting there itself, not arriving at a final destination.

That process involves discovering the winning formula that produces desired results. An example of one component of the formula might be regularly staying in touch with your clients and potential referral sources.

Then, in comes down to repeating the formula over and over again, refining it along the way.  The routines become automatic and even somewhat boring at times.  Yet, it is through the consistent repetition of the winning formula, with relaxed concentration, that one encounters the nuances that make the inner game artful and playful. 

If you want to get a greater sense of this effortless state of mind required to play the inner game of real estate check out this 3-minute video of, Wang Yani, the Chinese child protégé who is now world renown for painting pictures of monkeys? Sir David Attenborough narrates it. Then, start monkeying around yourself as you transcend the outer game of real estate and dive into the inner game.

The Inner Game of Real Estate--Part 1

This article series was inspired by a comment on our previous series (“Avoiding the High Cost of Mindlessness”) about the benefits of consistently reaching for a state of relaxed concentration in your real estate practice. One of our commenters said::

“If I understand you correctly, that mindful state is one that results after I do a heavy focused workout.... my head is totally cleared and when I'm finished I'm relaxed and can focus on my work...”

Yes, it is correct. A relaxed, quiet mind sets the stage for achieving peak performance. Certainly, a heavy focused workout is one way of getting there.

However, there is more to the story that we wanted to amplify.  That is, if you practice getting into this state in ordinary tasks, it makes it easier to attain and sustain over a longer period of time.

Simple tasks done with relaxed focused concentration can get you in that state in no time and with virtually ZERO EFFORT. Suddenly, cleaning a drawer, sweeping out a garage, changing a light bulb on the front porch that you been putting off, can become opportunities to achieve this state of mind, INSTANTLY!

What we love the most about this state of relaxed focused concentration is that it has two extreme dimensions: It can be achieved while tending to the most mundane, routine, unexciting tasks. AND, it can be achieved in the most sophisticated rituals like the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Either can transport you into a deep lasting calmness. It is at once ordinary and profound and neither is better or lesser.

The application of this practice in sports and in business is nothing short of astonishing!  The book, The Inner Game of Tennis, by Tim Gallaway, inspired our title of this series.  We had the privilege of meeting Tim in L.A. when the book first came out years ago. This notion of the “inner game” has stayed with us ever since and we would love to share it with you as it applies to practicing real estate.

Stay tuned for Part 2…

Avoiding The High Cost of Mindlessness: Part 3

As a real estate professional you spend roughly half of your waking hours working at or thinking about your business, which often carries over into the weekend.  How much of that time would you say you spend in relaxed, focused concentration-the quiet state of mind of the archer we referred to in Part 2 of this article series

Be honest with your answer. Do not be judgmental because there is no contest here! You are not competing with anyone to get an award for “most time in the zone”. In fact, one of the greatest sources of distraction in life is looking outside of your self for approval or feeling that you are not living up to some standard imposed by others.

Being in the state of Mindfulness while you are working is immensely pleasurable and life-giving because present time, the here & now, IS LIFE! It is where life happens, not in your head. Relaxed, focused concentration in the present is the “pre-condition” for mastering the skills required for being an effective real estate professional and also for enjoying frequent moments of peak performance. 

In this state, fresh inspired ideas flow. Opportunities present themselves that you heretofore would miss for lack of relaxed, focused concentration.

The alternative, Mindlessness, IS A DEGREE OF DEATH because you are not present to live your life.  Most people traipse through their lives in a somnambulant state that Rodney Dangerfield referred to in one of his movies as “the dance of the living dead”.

But, once you acknowledge that there is a high price to be paid (in wasted time, wasted money and wasted life) for being Mindless FOR ANY REASON, you can regain more control of your life. It is matter of training your attention to be focused more often in the present moment. 

Yes, it takes practice. But, it is a lot easier than you think because the answer is literally right under your nose! It is quite simple and can really be fun, if you make a game out of it and do not take yourself too seriously. Do not think of this as a discipline. It is a matter of LIFE OR DEATH! What more motivation do you need?

Many have advocated meditation to achieve the state of relaxed, focused concentration more often. We do practice meditation and deep breathing, but that is part of our yoga practice for overall health and vitality.  The real breakthrough that Alexandra and I discovered is the astonishing ABUNDANCE OF OPPORTUNITIES throughout the entire day to practice relaxed focused concentration in everyday tasks. 

Everything from washing dishes, to taking out the trash, to brushing our teeth, walking our cat, Quincy, on and on, has become an opportunity to practice relaxed, focused concentration.  Practicing while we are not working and reminding each other to do so has been a blast!  Suddenly, we discovered SO MUCH MORE LIFE AND MORE QUALiTY TIME, time that was always available to us had we understood the magnificent freedom that results from hanging out more often in present time!

We encourage you to try this and even find a buddy with whom you can practice.  Whenever you find yourself distracted, or get sucked into the soap operas, the counterfeit lives in which so many people participate, just find something that you can do with relaxed focused concentration and that will bring you right back into the here and now.  If you find that one thing does not do the trick, keep looking for more items, until you break the spell of mindlessness.

In the movie, Auntie Mame, Mame says, “Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death!”  We sincerely hope you discover, as we have, the abundance of opportunities to enjoy more of your life in a state of relaxed, focused concentration and avoid the high cost of Mindlessness.

Develop Mindful Eyes: Look Beyond The Obvious!

My (A) art professor took the class out to the grasslands that surrounded the campus for a plein air class (painting outdoors).  It was spring time and everything was green.  As we were getting ready to paint, he asked us, "What color is the grass?"  "Green" everyone answered.  "Look again," he said.  "Are you sure it is just green?  We sampled this succulent plant photo for the range of greens, and this is the result.

From that point on, I have been inspired to look beyond the obvious. In the color spectrum of light the color green is between yellow and blue. As you look closer at any green object or plant, you may see dark green, or a yellow green, a pale white green, or even a blue green.  The same green may look different depending on the light, or the background.

Develop mindful eyes by looking beyond the obvious!

Avoiding The High Cost of Mindlessness: Part 2

To avoid the high cost of Mindlessness in your real estate practice here is the place to start:  1) Deliberately set up the conditions of your “game” so that the odds are in favor of your winning, and; 2) Consistently reach for a state of relaxed concentration in your daily activities and stay focused. That state is also known as Mindfulness.

Stack The Odds In Your Favor

Our primary job as strategic branding consultants in the luxury real estate arena is helping our clients stack the odds in their favor to consistently win at their game. We use the word game here on purpose because we believe that you should have fun doing what you love most.

We help our clients to identify under served or uncontested niches that they can dominate and do so with passion. Selecting a particular niche that has the potential to realize their financial goals also stacks the odds in their favor.

The exciting thing about stacking the odds in your favor is that it allows you to concentrate all of your attention and energy on a singular goal and not feel like you are being torn in many directions. This is how you set the stage for mindfulness.

Consistently Reach For A State of Relaxed Concentration

Once you are CERTAIN that your game conditions are stacked in your favor the key is to TRUST YOURSELF and not to second-guess yourself, which is one of the primary sources of mindlessness.  Then, all you need is the right message to reach your target market, a message that communicates your unique promise of value.

Imagine that you are an archer. You place an arrow in your bow, aim at your target and you pull back the string. Suddenly, you wonder if you forgot to lock your car door. Your attention then drifts off to a conversation that you had with a client that did not go well. You think of all of the things you need to do before your return home.  What are your chances now of achieving a bulls eye with this degree of mindlessness?

It is the same with any sport. You need a quiet mind; you need relaxed concentration to win.  The same applies to your real estate practice. 

In Part 3 of this article series we will cover some techniques that you can practice to quiet your mind and achieve this state of relaxed concentration more frequently.  That way you can avoid the high cost of mindlessness-the waste of time, the waste of money, the waste of life-your life!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

How to Avoid The High Cost of Mindlessness In Your Real Estate Practice - PART 1

Mindlessness is the opposite of Mindfulness. When we are Mindful we are in a state of relaxed concentration, in present time. When we are Mindless we allow our thoughts to drift. We become distracted by negative emotions and put our motions on autopilot. Essentially, when we are unfocused we evade the here and now and we become automatons.  But, rarely, do we calculate the high cost of mindlessness in our lives.

This is Part 1 of our series on Mindfulness, called “How to Avoid The High Cost of Mindlessness In Your Real Estate Practice”.

Recently, we were driving on Highway 101 along the Santa Barbara coast heading to town to do some errands. Alexandra had two important letters in her hand, a reminder that we needed to stop at the post office in time for the 11 am pickup.

We began talking about something controversial in the news and mindlessly missed the exit to the post office.  This distraction cost us an additional 10 minutes of driving time, which may seem inconsequential.  But, it made us wonder how many 10-minute units of wasted time we accumulate in a week, a month or a year of our lives, due to Mindlessness.

This time could have been spent in Mindfulness.   We could have used it to enjoy, savor and discuss the magnificent view of the Pacific Ocean, the beautiful Channel Islands just beyond our coastline and all of the lush greenery in our mountains that resulted from our much-needed recent rainstorms.

Later that morning, I (Ron, here) purchased some dental floss that Alexandra needed from a pharmacy that I vowed never to patronize again due to its unpardonable customer service.  I was again mindlessly on autopilot; my thoughts were elsewhere. I ignored my vow because it was more “conveniently located” than the alternative pharmacy, which meant an extra stop.

I wound up buying the wrong product because I was too much in a hurry to ask Alexandra which one she wanted (she was next door and that would have taken two extra minutes to do).  I used Apple Pay and did not bother with a paper receipt. 

In the car on the way home, Alexandra informed me that I bought the wrong floss. So we stopped at the location of that pharmacy closer to our house to return it and get the right product that was less expensive.  But, without a paper receipt they could only give me a partial credit for the wrong product. This policy was more proof of that I would never step foot again in one of their stores. This additional incident of Mindlessness (I was fuming) happened literally within15 minutes of the original purchase and cost me $6.17.

These experiences and others like them were wake-up calls for the urgent need for more Mindfulness in our lives! Suddenly, Mindlessness had a price tag in wasted minutes of our wonderful life and actually represented quantifiable lost dollars.

Please join us for Part 2 of this article series as we shine the spotlight on what we have identified as the most important topic of our lives, today: Mindfulness!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

 

 

Win More Listings Through the Power of Relaxed Concentration

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, once you identify an opportunity to dominate an uncontested or underserved niche your primary job is giving your undivided attention to that niche. You will win more listings than your closest competitors because you are harnessing the Power of Concentration, and they are not. If you price those listing correctly you will out-produce them all.

Focus and concentration of action are the key ingredients for the “secret sauce” that everyone is looking for but few actually implement. One of our clients in Northern California became the market leader and earned over $1M in gross commissions per year by applying this important principle.

Our client only listed homes that had been owned by only one owner. Thus, they were relatively new homes. This significantly reduced the frequency of thorny inspection issues and virtually eliminated title issues. 

With her stellar reputation as the niche market leader she was in the position to refuse taking listings that she could not price at market value. Time on market was thus kept to a minimum because she did not waste time with unrealistic sellers ratcheting down the price. She put systems in place to handle a high volume, high-trust practice while maintaining excellent customer service.

All of these factors reduced the stress of the transactions, which allowed her to concentrate on getting more listings. That is a balancing act that can only be accomplished with total concentration, the same kind of relaxed concentration that a potter must have when throwing a pot. 

P.S.  She was a single mom!

Embrace the Power of Relaxed Concentration!  You will win more listings if you do.

Branding Moment: Make An Indelible First Impression with Great Packaging

Packaging is a “mighty” important component of personal and company luxury real estate branding.  If your packaging is spot on you can leverage the sense of touch as an additional experiential means of making an indelible first impression. Great packaging can give you a competitive edge by helping to gain instant brand recognition and also by rapidly securing brand retention (being unforgettable).

Recently, we visited our local supermarket in search of Organic African Nectar tea that we enjoyed several months ago.  We stood in front of all of the teas on display and could not find it. And, we could not remember the brand name.

Finally, after looking closer we discovered that Mighty Leaf created completely new packages for their teas. Sure enough we found what we were looking for, but only out of sheer determination.

Like coffee, tea is one of the most commoditized products on the world market. That is why brand recognition and brand retention is vitally important.  We almost gave up and switched to another brand and a different type of tea.

What is so great about Mighty Leaf’s new offering is their clear plastic packets for the tea bags themselves.  They open absolutely EFFORTLESSLY!  No ripping or tearing the paper off.  That visceral experience is a branding moment that makes the competition seem old fashion.

The teabags are extraordinary as well.  They are pyramid shaped pouches, which allows the hot water to penetrate from more angles. That allows for better steeping and a richer flavor. They are biodegradable, commercially compostable and no staples or glue is used. The carton is also recyclable.

Mighty Leaf does an excellent job with their messaging. They emphasize that the organically grown herbal blend has a “honeyed sweetness” of rooibos infusion (a bush in S. Africa). They use Fair Trade Certified rooibos, a touch of vanilla and a handful of hibiscus to “heighten the experience”. Nectar means, “drink of the gods”

These words engage the mind and the emotions making this Mighty Leaf tea a “must taste”.  But, it is the very first experience of their packaging that “seals the deal” to be loyal Mighty Leaf fan.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Are You Marketing To Labels Or Core Values?

Many luxury real estate marketing professionals are often trapped into directing their marketing efforts to labels and concepts. Here are some examples of labels: millennials, baby boomers, generation X, Y, Z, and so on and so forth.  These labels are indicative of trends only. Some marketing pundits feel that marketing to different labels is what attracts them to buy from you.

We wholeheartedly disagree. We find that many core values apply to all those labels. The photo above states the core values of Green Star coffee roasters, where we buy our coffee beans.   These core values are true for many, regardless of their generation label.  Core values are the guiding principles that dictate our paths in life and in business .  It explains why we choose one product over another, or one real estate professional over another.

Marketing to a label is the lazy solution, however, it is not as effective as marketing to core values.   Marketing to core values involves research of the target market.  That research will determine the marketing effort needed to attract the right buyers and the right sellers in your real estate target market.

Are You Marketing To Labels Or Core Values?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Are You A Big Fish? Or Just Another Fish In Many Ponds?

Just because you have a real estate license does not mean that you should sell everything in the category.  What is important is to position you (your brand) in the minds of your target market by choosing a real estate niche that you love, and can satisfy your income goals. The idea is to become the big fish in that little pond.  

Brand positioning is one of the most misunderstood concepts in marketing.  Yet, it is, by far, one of the most important concepts for you to understand as a luxury real estate marketing professional, if your quest is market leadership.  

To accelerate word-of-mouth advertising, you need to make it clear to your target market exactly what category of services (or market niche) your brand stands for. The goal is to be the first brand name that comes to mind in your chosen category or niche.

Positioning your personal or company brand in the minds of your target market enables YOU to establish the brand category with which YOU want to be associated in their minds. If you do not make your brand position abundantly clear by staking a claim to a specific category, or if you try to be all things to all people, they will undoubtedly pigeonhole you in the wrong category.

We know a very talented real estate agent who dabbles in many categories including investments, single family homes, condos, REOs, fractionals, foreclosures, international, commercial, industrial, etc. She hops from pond to pond. To her credit, she makes a decent income by most standards.  But, she does not even come close to realizing her full potential as a market leader, which is easily within her reach if she were to focus on a single profitable category or market niche

In marketing luxury real estate you already have narrowed your category in the overall real estate field.  Now, narrow your category further. Position yourself or your company as the expert in that niche! 

Become the big fish in a smaller pond. Go for the lion’s share of a smaller category and “own” the category in the minds of your target market.  Only then can you capitalize on the amazing economic benefits of word-of-mouth advertising, because your brand comes to mind first in that category.

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

The Advantage Of Deep Listening or Listening With Compassion

Except in rare occasions, real estate transactions are stressful to both buyers and sellers. Often they can be life-changing events. If you can understand this one fact and sharpen your skill as a deep listener your practice will flourish. Deep listening helps to relieve the stress of your clients and even your competitors.

Whenever we notice a remarkable coincident we take heed, pay close attention and listen to the “message” that the coincident is trying to tell us. This morning Alexandra mentioned that Benedict Cumberbatch had narrated a documentary, Walk With Me about the 90-year-old Buddhist monk, Thich Nhat Hanh. It is a cinematic journey into the world of mindfulness.

When she was telling me about it (Ron, here) I glanced at my computer and saw a You Tube video of Oprah interviewing Thich Nhat Hanh. Under the caption it said, “Recommended for you”.  So, I jumped on it!

Oprah Winfrey calls Thich Nhat Hanh, “one of the most influential spiritual leaders of our time”. He has been instrumental in helping to popularize the concept of mindfulness, living in the present moment.

What do you think would happen if more people simply listened deeply, with compassion to the fears and concerns of others who disagree with them instead of fighting fire with fire? It certainly could reduce the stress of real estate transactions and increase your value as a concerned professional.  But, in general, it could help to reduce the tensions in the world so we could work together, rather than as adversaries, to create solutions where everyone could win.

Are You Talking to Me?

When working with our clients on their brand strategy, one of the most important parts of our project is to get their messaging right.  We identify the personality and lifestyle of the people they are trying to reach, and then we craft the message in the “language” and even the “dialect” of their target market.  In order to do that, we delve into the community’s lifestyle, habits and mindset (also known as psycho-graphics). 

A few Saturdays ago at the Farmers Market in Santa Barbara, we noticed a videographer following two men.  One of the men was dressed in a chef’s coat, and the other was playing the role of interviewer and promoter.  The interviewer began by introducing the chef in glowing terms, to the farmer, and proceeded to ask the farmer’s name.  He continued on explaining that the chef would be buying at their stand, and how lucky the farmer is to have Mr. Illustrious Chef (most likely from out of town) buying from them. 

It was funny to see the lukewarm reaction of the farmers.  One of the farmers noticed us waiting (impatiently and thoroughly unimpressed) to buy, walked away from the camera and helped us. The trio moved on and out of the market.

Had they done their homework, they would have known that the majority of the chefs in town already buy direct from the Farmer’s Market. Farm-to-table here in Santa Barbara is the norm. Shopping chefs is a common occurrence given that we have 6 local Farmer’s Market each week. They would have realized that their intended message did not fit the profile of those who sell at the Santa Barbara Farmers Market, nor our community.  

Make sure that whatever message you craft is going to be well received and understood.  If you miss the mark, you can count on the question: “are you talking to me?”

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Branding Moments: Unforgettable Advertising

We were enchanted by this sculpture of a sewing machine on one of the avenue sidewalks in Milan leading to the new cool Brera neighborhood where the store is located. Camicissima is a hip luxury men's clothing store with locations in Italy, Asia as well as on Madison Avenue in New York.  What a great way to make an unforgettable impression!

Wishing you all a great weekend!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Branding Moments: Who Is Virginia Dare?

You have a nanosecond to communicate your brand name and what it means. Make sure that the name communicates your essence and is easily understood by your marketplace.  Unless you are in the brand strategy business, your audience would not embark on the journey we took in order to understand the Virginia Dare brand.

We learned that Virginia Dare was the first English child born in the Virginia Colony (present day Roanoke, North Carolina).  She was born to British colonizers on August 18th, 1567. The only reason her existence was documented is that her grandfather, the governor of the Colony, left for Great Britain to bring back supplies. When he returned three years later, the whole colony had disappeared. No one knew what happened.

Photo in Public Domain/Bureau of Engraving and Printing

To explain the disappearance of the colony, all kinds of theories were offered, from magical deer spiriting her away, to Indians capturing the colony. She became part of American folklore. She was featured as a character in books, songs and films. Towns, counties and streets were named after her in North Carolina. In marketing, her image appeared on a tobacco label, flavoring extracts, a stamp, and Virginia Dare Winery Company (recently acquired by the Family Coppola). 

What was the Coppola family thinking?  What does Virginia Dare mean as a wine brand? What we have here is a "failure to communicate"!

In naming your business or your company, be sure that what you choose for a name can be understood in a nanosecond and attracts your intended target market.  

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Branding Moments: What Is the Core of Your Brand?

Photo by © Thinglass | Dreamstime.com

Photo by © Thinglass | Dreamstime.com

In a previous post we asked the question, “Does Your Unique Promise of Value Have An Expiration Date?” We indicated that features such as using drone photography in your luxury real estate marketing basically have a shelf life because it can be imitated, but your core, your uniqueness is inimitable.  That is, if you continue to innovate around your core.

We recently were awestruck by an interview with Angela Ahrendts, who is currently the Senior VP of Retail at Apple (previously the highest paid CEO in the UK at Burberry-$26.3M).  In 2014 she earned $70M at Apple as the highest paid executive in the company!  Basically, she said that every great brand has a core.

Rediscovering, revivifying and reinvigorating Burberry’s core, enabled her to increase the value of Burberry from £2 billion to over £7 during her tenure there.  She shifted the company from 75% wholesale to 75% retail by opening Burberry stores worldwide and developing a strong online presence.

The waterproof gabardine trench coat, which was originally created in 1856 for the military, is at the core of the brand. Angela was able to rally the troops (over 10,000 employees) around her vision of making the Burberry trench coat “cool” again.  She empowered them to passionately communicate the company’s core values (“to protect, to explore and to inspire”) directly to the consumer instead of relying on resellers to represent them.

What is the core of YOUR brand? What are you doing to continuously innovate around your core?

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

Does Your Unique Promise of Value Have An Exipration Date?

Articulating your unique promise of value is one of the trickiest aspects of personal branding in the luxury real estate arena. Sadly, many agents mistake features, like the latest and greatest website design or the best market reports, as their unique promise of value.  The difference between a unique promise of value and a feature is that features have expiration dates. Intrinsic value endures.

Today as we were driving on the freeway, we spotted a CVS truck.  What was remarkable was the claim on the loading door. It proclaimed that they are the only pharmacy with more 24-hour stores open than any of their competitors.  How long will that be true?  Their competition can easily surpass them by opening extra stores.  What will they use next

We researched this further and found that CVS closed over 70 stores in 2016, as a cost cutting measure.  Many of those stores were 24-hour stores, and some of the remaining stores no longer offered 24-hour service. Essentially, the feature of extended hours as a differentiator expired in 2016.

In the competitive wine industry, the true promise of value can be the very dirt in which the vines grow.  That is known as “terroir”. The best example of this is Chateau d’Yquem famous for its Sauternes.  They have 310 acres of the best dirt for this grape with the perfect micro-climate and have been commanding the highest prices since 1477. The wineries next door cannot duplicate the taste of those 310 acres, and sell their wine for less. 

In real estate to find your unique value proposition you have to dig deep to discover the essence of what you stand for, what no one else can duplicate. If your unique value proposition can be duplicated, it a feature with an expiration date.  If you can find your essence and value in this business you will find the lasting elixir of longevity!

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.

 

 

 

The Sweet Sound of Clients Singing Your Praises

There is nothing more gratifying than hearing the sweet sound of a client singing your praises after a job well done. It makes you want to share it with the world.  Please take a moment to watch this 2-Minute Video Case Study of luxury real estate broker, Pamela Frey, in Naples, FL and see the testimonial below.

After setting out to build my dream website, I burned through 3 web developers and threw thousands of dollars down the drain. I felt overwhelmed, even ashamed, of my failures. I concluded that my dream site was unrealistic.

Then, after a long reprieve, I discovered Ron and Alexandra Seigel of Napa Consultants, Int’l. Much to my delight, they listened intently to my story and seemed to intuitively know how to cure my missteps. I made the frightening decision to trust them.

They got me! Ron’s mind is like a finely tuned violin. I can remember practically feeling him construct my site in his mind as he navigated how we would get from A to B to C seamlessly. Alexandra’s presence is like an enduring hug. I am in awe, even humbled by her depth of world knowledge, pulse on the human spirit and unshakeable faith in their design and marketing prowess.

They inspired me to rise to the occasion. From concept to the launch of my site, Ron and Alexandra provided service on par with The Ritz Carlton- always there for me, as they masterfully put my vision to form, holding me tight to a clear eyed schedule of to do’s. My “dream” became theirs. I felt nurtured and cared for throughout the process.

I just want to break out into song! With praise, celebration and my abiding gratitude,
— Pamela Frey, REALTOR ®, P.A., Platinum Properties, Naples, FL
 

 

NaplesWest.com

Written by Ron & Alexandra Seigel-

ABOUT:  Napa Consultants, International specializes in the art of local niche marketing in affluent communities and they are the leader in brand strategy for the luxury real estate industry.  Working exclusively with entrepreneurs and professionals who are passionate about gaining or sustaining market leadership, they help their clients become the breakaway brand in their marketplace.