Do You Speak “Ubuntu”? A Defining or Branding Moment

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Recently, we came across the term “Ubuntu”.  It was a defining and inspiring moment for us. It reveals another aspect of the wisdom of kindness.

Ubuntu is a word in the Bantu language of the Nguni tribe in Africa.  In the broad sense of the word, it translates as humanity, human kindnessHow I treat you defines me. I am not defined by what I have, but how I interact with you

Ubuntu in the broader sense also refers to the awareness of our inherent connection with each other.  It is akin to the ripple effect, that if one is rude to another, the rudeness will be passed on to the next person and will continue to escalate.  It is so easy to observe in every day life. 

Ubuntu is part of South Africa’s Interim Constitution created in 1993.  “There is a need for understanding but not vengeance, a need for reparation but not for retaliation, a need for Ubuntu but nor for victimization.”

Desmond Tutu wrote a wonderful definition for Ubuntu in his book No Future Without Forgiveness,

    “Ubuntu is very difficult to render into a Western language. It speaks of the very essence of being human. When we want to give high praise to someone we say, ‘Yu, u nobunto’; ‘Hey so-and-so has ubuntu.’ Then you are generous, you are hospitable, you are friendly and caring and compassionate. You share what you have. It is to say, ‘My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours.’ We belong in a bundle of life.

Next time, you feel like insulting or getting even with anyone (no matter how much you think they deserve it), take a moment and think about Ubuntu.  Is this how you want to be defined or branded?

How To Achieve Market Leadership In An Emerging Luxury Market: Case Study


Many real estate agents, teams and independent companies have asked us this questions:

"How can you help me (our team or company) get a foothold in the luxury end of the business and ultimately become the market leadership in a top-tier price range niche?" 

Here is the 2-Minute "Brand Makeover" Video Case Study of Front Porch Realty that answers this question. We help Laura Moody, the broker/owner position her firm to be the dominate player in her North Carolina emerging luxury marketplace. We can help you get there too!


Here is what Laura had to say about her experience of working with us:

From my very first phone call to Napa Consultants, I knew I had made the right choice for my growing independent real estate company! Ron and Alexandra inspired and awed me every step of the way with their knowledge and expertise in the field of real estate marketing. Their visit across the country to my town was spectacular and I felt like we were friends before they even got here. They not only elevated my brand, they gave me so much insight discovering my niche. I truly gained so much more from them than I ever imagined I would.

Ron and Alexandra were super patient with me and throughout our entire process made me feel like their desire was to meet and exceed my expectations. Thank you Ron and Alexandra, from the bottom of my heart!
— Laura Moody, Owner Front Porch Realty

New Trends In Natural Fabrics: Shoes, Bags & Coats Made From Phellinus Ellipsoideus!

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According to Life Materials.EU site, this parasitic mushroom is the new vegan leather!

"MuSkin is a 100 % vegetable layer alternative to animal leather.
It comes from the Phellinus ellipsoideus, a kind of big parasitic fungus that grows in the wild and attacks the trees in the subtropical forests. The total absence of toxic substance makes Muskin ideal for the use in close-to-skin applications and thanks to its very natural origin it limits bacteria proliferation."

Bolt Threads, a San Francisco based biotech company focused on created sustainable fabrics from nature is working with these mushrooms also. "We developed Mylo™ from mycelium cells by creating optimal growing conditions for it to self-assemble into a supple, sustainable material that looks and feels remarkably like animal leather. Mylo™ can be produced in days versus years, without the material waste of using animal hides.." 

It has been reported that Stella Mc Cartney is collaborating with Bolt Threads  and will be designing bags, shoes, and clothing with this material.  It takes a month to grow 59 square yards of this mushroom fabric.  In the photos on the Bolt Treads site you can see a photo of the ersatz leader. It is good for the trees and good for those who are vegan minded.

Will You Sell Your Email Address For $10?


Pictured above is the postcard we recently received from Staples.  They have $10 for us that they are willing to exchange for our email address. What is in it for Staples? 

When a company wants to be this generous, it must mean that their reward is so much greater than the $10 they are offering to each customer on their snail mail list.  This $10, plus the cost of printing and mailing, will save them much more than this offer cost. 

We can surmise that they are hoping to reduce their printing costs by pushing catalogs and all kinds of other digital advertising our way.  They most likely will have online promotions (not available to others who withhold their email addresses). For those those of us who cannot stand the thought of another email arriving daily, we will just have to miss out. 

If you are experiencing a FOMO moment (a fear of missing out moment), let us assuage your fears.  Our research revealed that the in-store kiosk has those same promotional items, without burdening your digital mailbox. If they don’t have a kiosk in a store near you, one of their 61,500 employees (2016) can do the job of ordering that item for you.

Will you sell your email address for $10?

Sing For Your Supper: Out Think, VS Out-Spending Your Competition

 Paris Opera  House, Grand Staircase Photo by Nicole Brown. Dreamstime

Paris Opera  House, Grand Staircase Photo by Nicole Brown. Dreamstime

Perhaps one of the most important principles that luxury real estate marketing professionals need to understand about personal branding for real estate agents is this: Out-think, not out-spend your competition. If you want to out-smart your competition find something, some niche that you can do better than anyone else in your marketplace. 

Choose an arena in which you can become the brand that matches your personality, and where you can express your passion. Finding that niche/brand may take time, however in the long run it will pay dividends, and make work fun. Don’t waste your time or your money becoming a “me-too” in a niche that your competitor dominates.

Here is an example.  One of the agents we spent time with had graduated from a prestigious university with a Master in Fine Arts in Opera.  Opera was her passion although she knew that her voice was not of the caliber that would catapult her on stage as a star.  In our conversations with her, we suggested that she investigate the opera community in her marketplace.   This metropolitan city is known for its passion for opera. 

She started volunteering both back stage and in fund raising.  The majority of the donors lived in the exact market place she wanted to dominate.  By volunteering she became known as the go to real estate agent for that opera loving community and their sphere of influence. She also was given chorus parts in some of the productions.  

As a luxury real estate marketing professional, the size of your advertising budget does not guarantee your success if you fail to form a strong emotional connection with your target market, whether it be consumers or referring real estate agents from outside of your marketplace. Win the hearts and minds of your target market by having them identify with who you are.  Remember, people like doing business with people like themselves!

And in the immortal words of Richard Rodgers, Lorenz Hart,

Sing for your supper, and you'll get breakfast;
Songbirds always eat
If their song is sweet to hear.
Sing for your luncheon, and you'll get dinner -
Dine with wine of choice
If romance is in your voice

Now is time to sing for your supper, and you'll get breakfast.
Songbirds are not dumb;
They never buy a crumb of bread,
It is said...
So sing, and you'll be fed, oh yeah -
Just sing and you'll be fed.


Get Real With Your Luxury Real Estate With Pull Marketing VS Push Marketing!

If you are tired of unwanted digital ads and unsolicited email marketing, join the crowd. Most of us do not like having advertisements or information “pushed” at us.  

The ideal marketing relationship between a customer or subscriber to a digital newsletter is “pull marketing” vs. push marketing”.  Keep this in mind when you think of sending out your own luxury real estate e-newsletter.

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Pull marketing is information with advertisements that is sent to you because you are asking for it.  Sometime you ask for a “free report” and then you are bombarded forevermore with a daily, automatic “drip” campaign (as in Chinese Torture) chock full of unwanted information, products and services.  Where is that Unsubscribe button?

Can you think of an e-newsletter that you actually look forward to receiving regularly?  Here is an example of our favorite pull marketing e-newsletter from Santa Barbara Fish Market (pictured above). 

Every week we discover what has recently been caught right off our coast or what has been flown in fresh from around the world. There are always weekly specials and great recipes.



We absolutely love to go down to our Harbor, breathe in the sea air, hear the sounds of the ocean and also pick up some seafood for dinner. Included is a recipe link for Black Cod with Swiss Chard, Olives, and Lemon, (pictured above).

Recently, we were thinking of going out for lunch and opted to purchase a couple of Maine lobster tails, instead. It may sound extravagant, but each tail was only $10 with our “members” discount of 10%.  We made a delicious lobster salad for a fraction of the price of going to a restaurant for a delicacy like lobster salad with tax and tip. 


Another “hook” that keeps us coming back is the “Fresh Catch Wish List”. We cannot wait to get our “wish fish”: Fresh Alaskan King Crab and lump crabmeat flown in from Louisiana. We are blissfully on the hook and we do not feel like we are “caught”.

The moral of the story is: get real with your luxury real estate email marketing. “Reel” us in with pull marketing!


Bridging the Imagination Gap In Marketing New Construction


In Part 1 of this article series we noted that one of the biggest challenges that luxury real estate professional face when marketing new construction, whether it is a single-family residence or an entire master planned community is bridging the imagination gap. Most prospective buyers need to see the finished product before they are willing to hand over dollars to reserve a home or a condominium unit. 

You may recall that people were lined up to reserve a Tesla Model 3 way before actual production. But, the Model S and the SUV already were on the road. To make it easy for buyers to imagine what it would be like to live in the Residence Club in Ocean Reef Florida we collaborated with an award winning videographer and also one of the top international 3D animation firms to create a very compelling visual experience. See the 3D video on this page:

Interactive Floor Plans

To help make the experience even more immersive we also created two interactive floor plan maps. The first one allows prospective buyers to see and compare the floor plans for each unit. See the interactive floor plan on this page:


The second interactive feature enables them to see photos of the each of the lifestyle features incorporated in the18,000 square foot Concierge Clubhouse, such as the spa, the theatre, and the bistro. See the interactive floor plan on this page:

Together, the interactive floor plan maps and the 3D video create a method for bridging the imagination gap. These elements are a necessity, if you plan on marketing a new project prior to completion of construction. 

Brand Strategy Involves Using The Right Colors Like A Sunflower Does!


The importance of communicating with color when it comes to your brand identity should not be underestimated or taken lightly. It is part of the brand strategy. Just because you love a certain color does not necessarily mean, it should reign supreme in your brand color scheme.   Take a lesson from the Sunflower pictured above.

There is so much more to learn in terms of color.  The photo above clearly illustrates the many yellow hues in a sunflower.  It is not just one yellow, it takes so much more to fully communicate its essence.  The brand, sunflower, is a combination of yellow-based colors in varying hues.

Colors trigger emotions. When we look at a sunrise or sunset, the range of colors displayed evokes a feeling of joy, of awe, romance or even a sad or happy memory.  Colors communicate texture, smooth or rough through proportion or a different hue of the same color.  Colors evoke attraction or repulsion depending on the perception of the viewer.

When expressing reliability, most companies rely on the families of dark blues, navy, gray, and blue toned reds to communicate genuineness, solidity and reliability. You have no doubt heard the expression “true blue”.  For instance, there are three different real estate company signs side by side in a townhouse development in town.  From a distance, it is hard to distinguish one from the other.

Two of them are big box companies. It is not uncommon for big companies to use the colors of “reliability.”  One is an independent broker who wants to look like the other two, or a “me too” look.  All three have different hues of blue and white as part of their signage.  

However, that combination by itself also says stodgy, old fashioned, slow to embrace change because of the usual layers of bureaucracy. Although the independent broker is progressive in nature, he has done himself a disservice in our opinion by mimicking the big boxes and confusing his potential clients.

What should be taken into account when it comes to color selection are the environmental color signals in your real estate market place. You also choose the colors that would attract the clients to your style of doing business. 

In selecting a combination of colors to work with, take a lesson from the sunflower. When all is said and done, take time to explore the range of colors to match your brand strategy, and communicate your essence. 

Branding Moment: Is Your Brand Name Easy to Recall?


The selection of your personal or company brand name is extremely important in the real estate game.  The idea is to make it as easy as possible for people to recall your name. If you can get your target market to make the association of your brand name with your brand category, your strategic differentiator and the benefits your brand provides in just one impression, you can accelerate your word-of-mouth advertising.

One of the biggest branding mistakes that real estate agents and companies make in selecting their brand name is to use initials. Unless you already are very well known with your full name, it is wise to steer clear of initials because they are very easy to forget. Kentucky Fried Chicken spent millions of advertising dollars over years to get their brand to top-of-mind status in the fried chicken niche before they distilled it down to KFC. The same applies to IBM, 3M and JFK!

Here is an example of a brand name that sticks in your mind after just one impression, which is the ultimate goal of picking the right name: Howell’n Good Doggie Dentals.  The ad depicted above is a perfect example of outstanding branding and advertising, one of the best we have ever seen.

Why this ad works perfectly:

Brand Name: First, the brand is a take off of the owner’s name Charmaine Howell.  A howl is a cry of pain or fear or amusement. The brand category is also cleverly conveyed in the name: Doggie Dentals. It rhymes, which makes it fun and easy to remember.

Strategic Differentiator: Clear communication of the strategic differentiator:  Veterinarian Supervised and No Anesthesia

Benefits: Clear articulation of benefits: Safer and More Affordable. Visual results: Before & After photos.

Logo:  Name and strategic differentiator distill in a well-designed symbol and/or font that conveys the brand’s personality.

Do you want to accelerate your word-of-mouth advertising? Make your brand name easy to recall! 

The Power And Luxury of Laughter!


Having a sense of humor and being able to laugh easily is a must for a luxury or any other real estate marketing professional.  Given the nature of the business which often involves a life changing decision and the myriad of emotions that accompany this decision, it is important to sometimes bring relief to a tense situation by introducing a lighter side.  The importance of laughter cannot be underestimated.

"The most wasted of all days is one without laughter." e. e. cummings

When something is both rare and desirable it becomes a luxury.  Laughter is a luxury regardless of economic conditions. Being joyful is the state of abundance. That is why we love the idea of emphasizing LOL (a.k.a. laugh out loud) as the abbreviated version of the Language of Luxury.

Your sense of humor is one of the most powerful tools you have to make certain that your daily mood and emotional state support good health.” ~ Paul E. McGhee, Ph.D. 

Laughter also creates bonds in teams.  Teams who share a familiar joke (“you had to be there, to appreciate how funny it was!”) perform better in stressful situations.  Emotional laughter releases beneficial hormones which help you maintain a positive attitude.

“Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. Mark Twain

As grownups, we tend to be serious, and even those who feel they have a great sense of humor are not laughing enough.  A recent study revealed a startling fact.  Children up to pre-school age laugh about 300 times a day.  Adults on the average laugh about 15 times a day. 

"Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors." Norman Cousins

Wishing you all an abundance of laughs today...

Branding Image: Curiously Compelling, Daring, Mysterious & Eccentric!


Using mystery and whimsy as part of a brand identity and image in luxury real estate, any other real estate niche or for any other business is bold and daring. It may leave some shaking their heads and walking away from it, others intrigued and wanting to know more.   One thing for sure, it is memorable and not easily forgotten.  It will attract those who identify with it.

We salute it as a departure from the steady hum of bland that has plagued and  characterized so many brands.  They can be described as: "careful not to offend or differ" brand images and identities.  Gucci,  the most valuable Italian fashion brand, has embraced "mystery" as part of its expanded new image. (Pictured above at Gucci's window in Beverly Hills).

Ever since Alessandro Michele, was appointed creative director of Gucci in January 2015, the Gucci store windows have been a sight to stop, look and contemplate. He has reconfigured the look and feel of the Gucci Collections and global brand image. The print ads are equally creative and mind boggling. Below is part of the cover fold in the Spring issue of Porter Magazine.

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Vogue Magazine described him perfectly,

"Gucci's new creative director, the unknown Alessandro Michele, is a lot like the woman he champions: daring, curiously compelling—and with a streak of mystery and eccentricity."

We have noticed that some of the other luxury brands have been influenced to go beyond their ordinary safe limits.  Is it time for real estate to embrace a touch of mystery, whimsy or daring?  It is one way to stand out!

Branding Moments: An Example of An Underserved Market Niche

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If you are bound and determined to be the go to luxury real estate marketing agent or company or any other segment of the real estate markets, you must find a way to stand out or suffer the consequence of blending into the great bland of business.  One of the best ways to do this is to find the underserved market niche.  Here is an example:

This morning, we spotted this new store in Beverly Hills (pictured above), What Goes Around Comes Around.  The principals, Seth Weisser and Gerard Maione began collecting vintage luxury in the early 90’s.  They had noticed that existing vintage stores had lost their luster when it came to merchandising and collecting vintage clothing and accessories. 

In 1996, they opened their first vintage luxury store in New York, followed by the second in the Hamptons, and the third in Los Angeles. In order to  better serve their clientele  they  relocated the Los Angeles store to Beverly Hills.  


In an interview we read, it was obvious that they understood the psychographics of those who shopped in each store and stocked it with the right merchandise. Here is what they said to Amuse Magazine, “Our NYC clientele is chic and trend-driven,” Gerard says. “The Hamptonites are into more classic pieces and prints, and our LA clientele is primarily high-profile, so they like pieces that are extremely rare and unique.”

Have you spotted an underserved market niche?

Branding Moments: The Story Charmed Us Into Buying!


If you have followed our blogs, you probably are aware that besides creating brands and brand strategy for our real estate clients, we study brands day in and day out.  One of the best areas to examine brands is in the wine industry.  Competition in the global wine industry is even fiercer than in real estate. Whether selecting an agent or a bottle of wine without a direct referral, you have very little time to make a great impression and stand out from the crowd.

One way to make a great impression besides having a brand that stands out is to also have a great brand story or be  charmed into buying.  The close-up of the label pictured below is of wine made with native "cruvino" grapes. The red fox on the label also a native lives in the hills.  The fox is waiting for a berry or two to fall. Because of their low yield and tendency to drop the fruit when ripe, vine growers in the Ligurian area of Italy have uprooted the grapes.    


In the hills of a tiny village of Varigotti on the Mediterranean are terraces of cruvino that date back to the Etruscan times.  The Ruffino family has been making cruvino wine for over 500 years.  When asked if the family follows "organic methods?" here is their reply: "We're not organic.We just do everything the same way as our ancestors have for hundred of years".

Here are wine expert, Anthony Lynch, remarks:

"medium-bodied red. With notes of fresh berries, pepper, and a sweet spiciness, it will wonderfully complement homemade pasta dishes and roasted poultry and meats."
We were charmed into buying this wine.  We had ours with   pasta.  We made a sauce with tomatoes, spinach and shitake mushrooms.  It was perfect. This was a delightful addition to our wine knowledge, and we will keep it on our list of favorites.

Do you have a brand story that will charm someone to work with you?



Are You Missing The Mark With Your Marketing Campaigns?


One the most important requirement of effective marketing in luxury or any other segment of the real estate field is researching the priority values of your target market before spending time or money. Do your homework and understand what makes your audience “tick”. Otherwise, you will miss your mark.

Here is an example of how a major company has misjudged the local values. This is reflected in their recent direct mail campaign.  Is convenience a priority value?  In some congested cities, home delivery of meal kit services is highly valued especially if they have limited access to fresh fare. This is not true in Santa Barbara from our perspective. 


Pictured above is the identical third marketing piece we received in the last 6 months from Blue Apron.  Blue Apron is one of several subscription based meal kit services. The brochure lures you with a $30 off card for 3 two-person dinner meals, ($9.99 per person) which would ordinarily run $59.94. This is a beautifully produced mini brochure.

We threw the first two out, and kept the last because it would illustrate the importance of knowing the people in your marketplace when planning a snail mail campaign. Whoever created this marketing piece did not do their homework, when it comes to the Santa Barbara County target market. 

Our County has Farmers Markets, 6 days a week on the coast.  In the inland wine country, there are several Farmers Markets each week, as well as farm direct stands.  This includes grass fed beef, poultry and lamb.  Our fishermen bring in fresh seafood daily.

The majority of the chefs shop at those venues, or have direct delivery from the farmers.  Our chefs focus on the farm to table concept, and locally sourced produce, meats, and seafood. One of the chefs in nearby Buellton limits his buying radius to 50 miles.

In the Blue Apron brochure, they emphasize their value with these words: “Get fresh, seasonal ingredients delivered right to you door.”  There is a big freshness differential between picking up vegetables that have been picked in the wee hours of that morning, versus those that have been delivered to a warehouse, put into a box and then sent to the customer.

Just for fun these last few months, Ron and I have been calculating our dinner meal expenses, and we keep paying less than the $19.98 price tag on average. Both of us are capable of reading a recipe.  There is an abundance of recipes on line.   We have also checked out one of the newest grocery stores with their ready fresh meals (organic and locally sourced). Like Blue Apron, they are “chef-designed, step-by-step recipes for each meal,” and their price tag is less than Blue Apron’s.  Thus far, we have not seen a single Blue Apron box delivered to our neighborhood, or in any other area in the county.

Are You Missing The Mark With Your Marketing Campaign?


Do You Have A Social Currency Account?


Social currency is fun and interesting facts that can be exchanged with others to break the ice, add value to a conversation, engender conviviality, and also build rapport. Sellers and lessors looked forward to our scheduled meetings, because we would exchange tidbits of information that we all had come across since we last met.  Then, we talked business. In our commercial real estate practice, we found that our social currency account generated listings and referrals.

In Europe, a lunch/dinner business meeting begins when the coffee is served at the end of the meal.  The Europeans feel that meals should be savored and enjoyed with fun light conversation, and we heartily agree.  It is also good for one’s digestion.  

When we were managing a residential real estate company, one of the sellers asked to meet with us.  He was planning to have his 50th birthday party in the home he had listed with one of the top producers in the office.  He was inviting friends and relatives to this party as well as the two of us. 

He did not want to let his listing agent know about the party, because on previous social occasions he had seen her “work” the room.  She passed out her cards, and talked to everyone who would listen about “real estate”.  His guests were upset and he was embarrassed. We told him to invite her, and we would take care of the problem.

The trouble with this agent was that she had not developed her fields of interests, and did not have a social currency account.  We sat her down and discussed the sellers concerns.  She had a month to develop a range of conversation before the party, which she did. She was a success as a guest at the party.  She did not volunteer her profession, she talked about the upcoming wine harvest, education, the film festival in town, and the latest restaurant she had been to with her husband.  And, she was asked for her card and set up a meeting for a potential listing.

Life is not about real estate 24/7.  It is however, about relationships and great rapport with everyone you meet.  You will be surprised at how many dividends   your social currency account will bring.  How is your social currency account doing? 

The Perils of Marketing Speak: Will You Disclose Vegan Leather?


In marketing, real estate agents are expected to accurately and truthfully describe a home and the materials found in the home.  It is too easy to put a spin in your descriptions that are not accurate. This becomes “marketing speak“. For instance, an agent describing flooring should refrain from using the broad term “hardwood”, and instead use “engineered” hardwood.     

Marketing speak often astounds us especially when it comes to naming a new fabric.  That has been the fate of fabrics that look like leather and feel like leather. As technology evolved, the fabric imitating leather has improved, so much so that many have trouble distinguishing between the fabric and the real leather.

The naming of the fabric has gone through a journey of aliases.  At first it was christened Naugahyde.  Since then it has been called: leathertex, pleather, and lastly, (what had us laughing) “vegan leather.”

The two words do not go together.  Vegan defines a person who does not eat or use animal products.  Leather is defined as a material made from the skin of an animal by tanning or similar process.  The same can be said about “faux” fur, and all other “faux” materials bearing the word “faux”.

In the luxury fashion industry, imitation leather fabrics has been referred to as the “trickle-up” fabric, because plastic is not a material associated with luxury. The fabric is made from layering plastic/polyurethane and polymers on fabric, until the desired leather feel and texture is achieved.

Stella McCartney in staying true to her vegan lifestyle pioneered the use of pleather in her fashion offerings of purses, belts and shoes.  Other high-end designers, like Tom Ford, are lauding the practical aspects of pleather being waterproof, lighter than the natural, wrinkle free and it can be adapted to designs and textures not found in animal hide.

For those of you who sell fully furnished homes with an inventory list describing the furnishings you may need to ask your sellers, if what looks like a leather couch is really leather, or pleather or vegan leather.  You must disclose!

How to Get Your Marketing Message Across with 3D Video Technology – Part1

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One of the biggest challenges that luxury real estate professional face when marketing new construction, whether it is a single-family residence or an entire master planned community is bridging the imagination gap. Most prospective buyers have difficulties envisioning the completed project and picturing what it would be like to live there. Getting the right marketing message across with 3D animation with advanced lighting and motion tracking solves this problem by bringing architecture, interiors and landscape to life.

We are excited to introduce you to this new video technology that became part of our brand strategy for the marketing of an ultra-luxurious condominium community in Ocean Reef, Florida. This video below was a collaborative endeavor between three companies. We were responsible for developing the brand, writig  the script, i.e., the marketing message and we oversaw the editing, that was artfully executed by an Emmy Award winning videographer who also narrated the video and selected the music. An international firm who specializes in 3D animation provided the video footage.

Utilizing this technology allowed our marketing message to be heard because we were able to bridge the imagination gap.  We are delighted to report that the project is preselling even before breaking ground.

In Part 2 of this article series we will demonstrate other ways we were able to bridge the imagination gap on the project’s website.

How To Excel In Marketing And Flourish With High Trust Relationships


Marketing today is one of those complicated subjects, which has now become even more incomprehensible in the age of the Internet. The simple and fundamental truth of the essence of marketing has been forgotten and ignored. One of our favorite marketing authors, Peter Drucker, said it simply:

"The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well, the product or service fits him and sells itself." Peter Drucker

We would add that in order  to excel at marketing one must to know who they are as an individual and if they are a good fit in their chosen arena of real estate.   Here is an example:

When I (A) joined Ron in his commercial real estate practice, I suggested listing large high-rise office buildings. My logic was based on the knowledge that we could service these accounts just as well as any other company.

After meeting with several of the owners or managers, we understood that these Class A high-rise buildings were owned by pension funds, or unions. These institutions specified that their buildings were listed by national commercial real estate brands. These people made their decisions by committee. The bottom line was: we were not a fit for them, nor were we committee fans.  This was not the place for us to flourish and bloom.

We would not characterize this or any other marketing attempt that did not yield the intended results as a failure. We were both raised with the philosophy that what others may refer to, as “failure,” is in fact a stepping-stone to success and not an opportunity to make less of oneself.

"Follow effective action with quiet reflection. From the quiet reflection will come even more effective action."  Peter Drucker


The winning marketing strategies come from honestly examining and strengthening what is working and dropping what is not working. What has always worked for us in life and in business is developing high trust relationships both personal and in business.

The formula is simple. Find out what is needed and wanted by the individual or company. Then  express what you need and want. If your needs match, the relationship blooms and becomes a high trust relationship.  If not, part amicably.  Both of you are in the wrong soil!

There are no hard feelings, no bridges to burn. It makes life so much simpler.  And one day, you just may be a match. It happened to us.  When the high rises ran into difficulty in leasing their now empty opulent bank spaces on the ground floors of their buildings, they reached to us to lease them.  Even their committees agreed, we were the best for the job.

The future in successful marketing will continue to be about developing high trust relationships. The person who has the most high trust relationships will be the most successful and will flourish and bloom. 

It really is that simple. Marketing is about meeting someone’s needs and wants as well as meeting your own.

Thursday Thoughts: Kapok, Crab & Writing Great Real Estate Narratives!


It is amazing how much more you see when you walk.  Yesterday we had a late breakfast at Joe's Café in Santa Barbara.   We had to pick up some fresh crab for our crab cakes dinner last night, which we had ordered the day before.  

We decided to walk over there (12 blocks round trip) instead of drive.  It was a beautiful day, and it had rained the night before, the air was fresh and intoxicating.  On our way back we noticed this tree. 

Those avocado shaped bulbs will open up as you can see on other branches into a form of natural stuffing known as Kapok.  Kapok is also the name of the tree.  At one time it was used for pillow stuffing, however with the introduction of polyester/polyurethane foams, its use has declined. 

And for those of you who love crab cakes filled with crab and not breading, we recommend Pat Conroy's recipe.  Pat Conroy was a great American writer and authored, The Great SantiniPrince of TidesBeach MusicSouth of Broad and many others.

We have often recommend that our clients read South of Broad, just for the way he describes the city and the homes of Charleston, South Carolina.  You feel like you are there with him and everything comes alive.  Here are a couple of sentences that made us want to book the next flight there:

"You can be moved profoundly by other vistas, by other oceans, by soaring mountain ranges, but you can never be seduced. You can even forsake the low/country, renounce it for other climates, but you can never completely escape the sensuous, semitropical pull of Charleston and her marshes."

It is a great lesson for writing community and home descriptions!  In one of his books, he describes San Francisco.  Have been there many times before and after we lived in Napa, we were enchanted by his description of the city.

Wishing you a delightful Thursday!