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Branding Moment: A Name Out of Context?


In the last few years, there has been an explosion of craft beers on the market.  The branding of these beers have been creative and the visuals beautiful in many instances. Pictured above in one form of naming a product or service.  This is known as using a word out of context to the product.  

The word "mischief" is defined as; playful misbehavior or troublemaking, especially in children.  However, this is not a children's product, as the law requires that one is of legal age to buy or drink the beer. The accompanying colorful image is also out of context.

What is your impression? Do you like the name? The graphics? Would you be moved to buy, if you were a beer fan, or buying for someone who is? 

Branding Moment: The Intention Is Good, & the Message Confusing!


The whole intent of luxury real estate branding and marketing is to have a clear cut message. In order to have the desired impact this message should be easily understood. This is the primary way to achieve visibility and recognition in your market place.

Pictured above is a kiosk and a plexiglas sign from the Squire Foundation. This is located near the entry door to the Santa Barbara Public Market which is a large warehouse one story building that is home to various restaurants and a wine bar. It caught our attention, as did the claim that this was an unplugged moment to enjoy.  We found it ironic that the whole thing faced the sports bar/restaurant with 10 big screen TV's covering the sporting events around the world.

I chose a 3 minute short story.  I know that my high school English teacher would have labeled it as "purple prose".  It means,  "text that is so extravagant, ornate, or flowery as to break the flow and draw excessive attention to itself."  And I did not get the story at all.

Then, I asked the guys at the wine bar about this story/telling machine.  They told me that it has been there for three months, and it came from somewhere in England. They have tried the stories and thought, they were "just OK".  Clearly they were underwhelmed by the whole idea. That brought to mind a quote by George Bernard Shaw commenting on the fact that the British had a hard time understanding American English and vice versa:, "The United States and Great Britain are two countries separated by a common language."

Given that I was going to write a blog about this, I went on line and discovered that the foundation was located in Santa Barbara and not in England.  Here is their mission statement, "the Squire Foundation is a non-profit empowerment foundation, dedicated to civic and educational programs for artist, curators and all manner of creative people."

As I watched people filing in for lunch, no one looked at the kiosk or helped themselves to even a one minute story.  They were focused on that TV screen....It brought to mind another quote," the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Branding Moment: Analysis of a Real Estate Brand Personality


On our travels through Santa Barbara, we often see this ad on the back of our buses, for this local real estate firm. This is what we refer to as "brand personality."  By expressing on their ad, that their real estate agents are attorney trained,  they have positioned themselves as having competence

competence personalityis defined as:
Reliable:hardworking, secure efficient trustworthy, careful, intelligent and successful.
Intelligenttechnical, corporate, serious.
Successfulleader, confident, influential.

In the corporate world, IBM as an example of a brand with a competence personality. Like IBM,(aka Big Blue), this brand uses Blue as its  primary brand color.  The expression "true blue" means dependable, reliable, stable, and the shade of blue is generally associated with these characteristics.

Keep in mind, that this real estate company’s unique promise of value is that they are owned by a practicing real estate attorney.  The brand personality is a subset of the unique promise of value, and is part of the overall brand identity, as is the color choice.

This brand will attract those who can identify with its personality, because it is a reflection of how they see themselves.  Remember, people like to do business with people like themselves.

Do you know your brand personality?

Branding Colors: Can You Hear The Sound of Color?


We are always fascinated by color combinations can work together and catch our attention.  We both have often remarked that certain colors speak to us.  And in our real estate related branding work we research the colors that our clients like that speak to them.   

As we delve into working with color combinations, we will ask our clients: "does this speak to you?"  It has to resonate, or as defined in the dictionary to relate harmoniously to that client or company.

Recently I read a book about people who actually hear in colors.  This is called synesthesia.  Not all those individuals are necessarily musicians, some are artists, and some are not.

People with synesthesia related to music may also have perfect pitch because their ability to see/hear colors aids them in identifying notes or keys. The colors triggered by certain sounds, and any other synesthetic visual experiences, are referred to as photisms. (Wiki)


Wassily Kandinski, a Russian artist, was known for his abstract paintings and the use of bright colors as pictured above in this photo of the Church of St Ursula (public domain photo).

Although he was not a musician, he talked about the sound of color.

"The sound of colors is so definite that it would be hard to find anyone who would express bright yellow with base note, or a dark lake with the treble."

"Color is the keyboard, the eyes are the harmonies, the soul is the piano with many strings. The artist is the hand that plays, touching one key or another, to cause vibrations in the soul."

And here is my favorite quote,

"Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and... stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to 'walk about' into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?"

Can you hear the sound of color?

Branding Moment: The Unique Value Proposition Hooked Us In!


We rarely follow guidebooks when choosing a restaurant when we travel.  Most of the time, we will ask a local, or our hotel concierge, or we more often than not, we let our intuition or branding nose guide us.

After several hours of walking in Paris, it was lunch time.  We walked into Lavinia, a wine store just to explore.  As we looked up, we noticed they had a restaurant, on the second floor. (pictured above) When we got up there, the host told us they had great food, and showed us the menu which we liked. 

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As I (A) looked up I saw this sign on a blackboard pictured above.  Translation: We serve all our wines at the store price.  In other words, unlike other restaurants, there is no markup on their retail price. And there it was their unique value proposition which hooked us in.  And you can also see that same statement on their red wall in the restaurant.

Here is the unique value proposition defined:
Also known as a uniqueselling proposition(USP), your UVPis a clear statement that describes the benefit of your offer, how you solve your customer's needs and what distinguishes you from the competition.

Of all the restaurants we have eaten in globally, nationally and locally, this was a first. Some had a wine store as part of their premises and they had the usual mark-up. 

By the way, our lunch was delicious as promised as were the wines our waiter suggested. We were so glad we arrived early, because within 10 minutes of us sitting down, the place was full with the local business people.  Next time we are in Paris, we look forward to having another meal there. 

Will your unique value proposition hook your market in to do business with you?

Branding Moment: Not so Puritan Taboo Slogan near Hot Springs Rd!


Ron and I spotted this truck from Puritan Bakery with its slightly racy slogan of "Best Buns In Town". The word "puritan" means: one who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevails.  The slogan can be interpreted in so many ways. We leave that to your imagination. 

The juxtaposition of the truck with the exit of Hot Springs Road was a moment of synchronicity.  We were wondering if they were going to take the Hot Springs Exit to deliver best buns to the Von's grocery store there...They did not!

According the their website, which has an image of a man in a Puritan costume and slogan, this is the secret to what makes best buns:

Puritan Bakery is committed to baking our bunsand breads the old fashioned way -- the way you would if you were making bread from scratch at home. Because of this commitment, we still use a sponge and dough process, rather than the faster and cheaper brew dough, straight dough or modified sponge systems. The sponge and dough process takes 7 hours, but we believe that the best things are still worth waiting for.

This brand caught our attention and gave us a chuckle.  We will remember the name, no doubt about that.  The bakery started in 1930, and they are still going strong. The right market is still buying.Just like in Real Estate, there are many brands and markets for each one as long it lasts.

We would definitely mention them if someone asked us what kind of hamburger or hot dog buns to buy. Their baking method is impressive.

However, we are not their customer.  If we are going to indulge in bread of any kind, we would buy artisan bread made locally.  

Branding Moments: The Importance of Heritage vs High Tech Auto Pilot!


In branding a company or an individual in luxury real estate or in any other real estate field, the concept of heritage is an asset and a  great differentiator. Brand heritage (something handed from the past: experience or a way of doing business). There is plenty of merit is high touch (incorporating the old fashioned) versus high tech (auto pilot) real estate.  

This can inspire confidence when a consumer is making a choice of which agency or agent to pick when buying or selling a home.  It can also imply great service or what is often referred to as high human touch or white glove service. Here is an example of a trend we have noticed in wine-making that is applicable in real estate.

In the world of wine production, which is even more competitive that the world of real estate, we are noticing heritage as a differentiator. Pictured above in the window of a wine store in Paris is the lePuywine brand.  They have been in existence since 1610.  Their slogan "authenticity reflected in their terroir, (terroir is the composition of the soil that gives the wine its unique flavor)."  

The authenticity is the illustration of the horse and the plow, which means that their wines are produced bio dynamically. They are still using horses to plow the soil around the vines, because horses are lighter than tractors and do not damage the vine roots.  They also use natural fertilizers, as they did in the old days of wine making, which contributes to the health of the vineyard.

More wine producers are reverting to bio-dynamics.  "In a blind tasting of 10 pairs of bio-dynamic and conventionally made wines, conducted by Fortune Magazine and judged by seven wine experts including a Master of Wine and head sommeliers (wine stewards), nine of the bio-dynamic wines were judged superior to their conventional counterpart. The bio-dynamic wines "were found to have better expressions of terroir, the way in which a wine can represent its specific place of origin in its aroma, flavor, and texture."(Wikipedia)

We have often preached the importance of high touch in all real estate whether it is luxury or industrial real estate.  Not a day goes by when a new technology is offered to bypass the human touch, essentially being on auto pilot as the end all be all.  The clients and companies we work with are known  and praised for their impeccable customer service which software will never replace.  

Branding Moments: Is This a Case of Brand Identity Crisis?


In branding, it is of paramount importance to define who you are as a real estate agent, or company, what you do, as well as who your intended target market is.  A brand identity becomes the core foundation of your strategy and marketing.  

Pictured above is a building that we drive by frequently.  Clearly based on the description, we are not their target market.  We have plenty of tools we may need, and if we needed something in the tool world, we would stop at Ace Hardware, which is around the corner...


Recently, we noticed a new bright yellow banner sign on the back of the building.  It reads, "We Are Not Just A Tool Store".  So what are they besides a tool store!  This sign adds to the confusion. No explanation is given?   

Is this a case of brand identity crisis?

Branding Moments: Do Your Brand Colors Reflect Your Marketplace?


The colors of a brand are part of its identity.  It is the first thing, people notice.  Colors are impressions and they are associated with feelings, impressions and experiences, that the onlooker identifies with or does not.  Pictured above is a scene from Carpinteria State Beach at low tide a week ago.  If we were to do a brand for Capinteria real estate, this would be a palette of colors we would draw from if appropriate.  

In real estate, brand colors should  include and reflect the marketplace of the real estate agent and or company.  These colors can be dominant or subtle.  It depends on the overall strategy and the personality of the agent and the marketplace.  Pictured above are anemones on the reefs which are only visible at low tide.  Their color reminds us of the Tiffany blue.


In real estate, brand colors should  include and reflect the marketplace of the real estate agent and or company.  These colors can be dominant or subtle.  It depends on the overall strategy and the personality of the agent and the marketplace.  Pictured above are anemones on the reefs which are only visible at low tide.  Their color reminds us of the Tiffany blue.


Although we have Pantone color swatches in our arsenal as well as software to help us get the right hues, we find that nature's colors are one of the best sources of inspiration when it comes to getting it right. This is one of the reasons we take so many photos of different flowers, trees, vegetables, landscapes, seascapes when we travel of our client's marketplace.   Pictured above is another rich palette of colors to choose from.


Pictured above, that section of orange red is part of a sea star (formerly known as starfish) that has tucked itself in among the mussels and other crustaceans.  In our area, we have seen burgundy sea stars, yellow ones and these reddish orange ones.

Whether one uses just one or two colors depends on the overall strategy.  For one of swho sells land as his niche, we tested the dirt color and used it as one of the brand color with an accent of orange (his favorite color). We added a hand drawn illustration of the California Oak which is the signature tree on those large ranches, vineyards, and estates he sells throughout the tri-county area.

Using brand colors that reflect the marketplace is another way to communicate your authenticity.  Remember colors are a form of perception that people identify with and are attracted to.  Do your brand colors reflect your marketplace?

Branding Moments: Lost In Translation in Beverly Hills!


When it comes to branding strategy, creating a mystery can sometimes work and be a point of attraction for one's target market.  Here is an example of a new brand we saw, that created a mystery for us. No doubt, plenty of creative thinking went into this, however for us (who live and breathe branding), this was lost in translation!!

This past Tuesday, we drove down to Beverly Hills for our monthly visit. After enjoying a cappucino, we decided to scope out the other side of the Golden Triangle to see what was new and interesting.  

Pictured above is a new large corner store painted dark gray. Was the dark gray mimicking the granite walls of El Capitan at Yosemite National Park? Is that why the store is named Y/OSEMITE!


We parked on Brighton Way side to get a closer look. Here is the Brighton Way side continuation Y/OSEMITE side of the store.  The fire engine red building with the black awning reveals the answer with an actual store front and a door to come in (pictured below). Now that red could not possibly refer to our National Park.  

It was hard to read what to expect within.  Pictured below is the answer to what Y/OSEMITE is selling.




Jame Perse's new performance brand is what is being sold in this store.  Or simply put this is another name for a luxury athletic clothing brand!  We solved one mystery!  And if we were not students of brands, we would have simply moved on and not given a hoot about this store.  

We knew we would be leaving Beverly Hills before the store would open, so we checked out the website.  The clothing was nice comparable to Lululemon, and AloYoga in pricing.

When it comes to clothing, we both prefer window shopping, rather than walking into the dark unknown.  Although we both are fond of the mystery genre when it comes to books and movies, this approach left us cold.  We still don't know why Yosemite was chosen as a name.  And why was the letter Y separated with a forward slash from the rest of the word?   For us, this was definitely lost in translation in Beverly Hills!

Branding Moments: Is Your Message Lost In Translation?


When it comes to branding and marketing strategy in luxury real estate, or any other real estate niche, we have always preached that your brand has to be so clearly defined that it is easy to understand and remembered by anyone in your marketplace. This fundamental aspect of branding applies, even if your potential buyers/sellers are not at the moment interested in buying or selling a home.  Branding done right needs no explanation, let alone translation.

Pictured above is a business advertisement we spotted while strolling in the small wine producing village of Gevrey-Chambertin in France (population 3084 in 2015).  There is no need to translate what this business does, and who they cater to.  

Is Your Message Lost In Translation?

Branding Moments: Are Kangaroos Cuter Than Boars?

One of the rules of brand strategy in any business especially real estate is to speak the language of your  target market.  In order to that, research comes into play.  Research takes time, and discussion in order to decide on an approach.  This leads to a branding strategy which includes a graphic, a name, a reason to exist, and be of value in the marketplace.


We spotted this brand of wine at Trader Joe's recently.  The etching of the boar on the label is beautiful done.  This is a red blend from the Central Coast called Raucous Red Blend.  The winery is called RunRiotWine.  Their slogan is "no rules when wine rules".  Their claim to fame is that unlike other wineries, they don't chase the boars way who roam in their vineyard.  It was initially priced between $22 to $18.  


Our knowledgeable wine friend told us, this wine is very, jammy, fruit forward, not for you.  The reviews were mostly favorable: not a very high rating and not a very low rating.  It is evident they were going for that Kangaroo wine Label (Yellow Tail) market.  This market is for those who just want a good inexpensive wine worrying about the finer points of wine making.  

Judging by the "new" price, it is evidently the brand did not attract their target market...Perhaps Kangaroos are cuter than boars to those folks. What do you think?

Branding Moments: Does This Brand Have an It-Factor ???

Last week we wrote a post discussing the “it Factor” . Today, as I was perusing the wines at Whole Foods, I was drawn to take another look at this bottle.  The brand name is J N S Q. This brand represents the first letter of theFrench phrase for the It-Factor, "Je Ne Sais Quoi."

In researching this wine, I was amused by the press release for it, and I quote:

"Introducing the first rosébrand created for millennial women that doesn’t talk over them, or down to them. JNSQRoséCruis an easy-to-enjoy luxury wine created in the classic French style and crafted from premium California grapes, giving it both a timeless elegance and a modern attitude. This unprecedented approach to winemaking– and the name gracing the beautifully curvaceous bottle – were inspired by today’s young women setting the world on fire on their own terms, with a certain jenesaisquoithat’s hard to describe but undeniably irresistible."

“Millennial women and older Gen Z’ers are bringing back an appreciation for quality, craftsmanship and functional beauty,” said Lynda Resnick, vice chair and co-owner of The Wonderful Company. “JNSQwas created specifically for these women and the milestones they are celebrating in their blossoming and exhilarating lives. It’s a wine made with that same shared quality of jenesaisquoithat makes each of these ladies unique, memorable and unstoppable.” 

It is priced at $29.00.

If you have followed our blog, you know that both Ron and I enjoy wine.  I cannot recall one instance, when someone (male or female) has talked down to me, either in a wine store locally, worldwide or at any winery  I have visited. 

Before reading this press release, I was very sure that wine was a non-gender libation.  I enjoy drinking wine with my husband, and my friends of all legal drinking ages, genders, denominations and political affiliations. The concept of a his/hers wine would never enter my mind!

When I read this post to Ron, his response was that he felt this was an insult (perhaps unintended) to women in general of all ages, women wine makers, sommeliers, growers and all the women who are involved in the wine industry.  And I agree. 

What is your opinion?

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Essentials: How Colors Matter in Branding!


Choosing the right colors for/and with our clients in our real estate brand strategy and marketing practice is of paramount importance. We have a five page exercise/questionnaire that our clients fill out in order to find and determine the colors they are drawn to.  The colors have to also be harmonious with the lifestyle of the community/their market place.

There are infinite hues for each of the basic rainbow colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.  The combination of colors is endless, and often surprising. Colors can convey a mood or a feeling.  This is one of the reasons we focus on Nature's combination as pictured above with the Rex begonias.  Nature's colors resonate with all of us, because they are natural.  There is no artifice in nature!

For instance, many think that black and gold is the end all be all for a luxury brand.  Black also connotes formality.  If our individual client's market is a resort community, it sends the wrong message. People have second homes in resort communities, they are there to relax and enjoy the lifestyle of golf, water sports, etc...Black is the color of formality!

However, black can work for a real estate company brand in that same community with a pop of color, because a company wants to convey solidity, heritage and tradition.  Their market is not the location or the lifestyle.  Their market focus is the agents who  work, or may want to work with that firm.  

Just because one loves a color does not mean it has be the dominant color for their brand.  We worked with an agent whose favorite colors were red, brown and green.  This was a mountain community.  We used a pleasing combination of browns and greens to represent the mountains.  We also added a subtle pixel of the right red hue, similar to the dark red that outlines the leaf pictured above.

Take time to look at Nature's output.  There are so many outstanding examples to be inspired by.  The possibilites are endless!

Luxury Real Estate Marketing Essentials: Defining Your Brand of Integrity!


In our luxury real estate branding strategy and marketing practice, we work with real estate companies and individuals to identify their brand.  In order to create a brand, we work with our clients to define the core values of the company or of the individual real estate marketing professional.  This is what defines the brand or as we refer to it, the "integrity of the brand."  

We also discourage the use of the word “Integrity” as an attribute of the company or the individual. The true meaning of integrity is the state of being whole and undivided.   Unless one describes the whole of what integrity means to that real estate company or that individual broker/agent, the word is useless. 

Integrity for a company or an individual in business is a body of values.  Companies and individuals who have integrity adhere to principles (also known as core values) that define them as well as characterize their brand of doing business. It also means that the company/or the individual work to stay true to their principles.  

A company or an individual is better off listing their core values instead of saying: “We or I have integrity!”.  Stating one’s core values is a demonstration of integrity.  It states exactly what can be expected of the company or the individual and honesty and ethics should be a given.

Here are two examples of a few of Whole Foods and Zappo’s core values.  Whole Foods has their values spelled out on the wall of their stores in plain view of their shoppers.

  •      "We sell the highest-quality natural and organic products available" (Whole Foods core value)

  •        "We satisfy, delight, and nourish our customers"

  •        "We support team member excellence and happiness"

  •        "We create wealth through profits and growth 

Here are Zappo's 10 Core Values, which are displayed on their web site:

  •        Deliver WOW Through Service.

  •        Embrace and Drive Change.

  •        Create Fun and A Little Weirdness.

  •        Be Adventurous, Creative, and Open-Minded.

  •        Pursue Growth and Learning.

  •        Build Open and Honest Relationships With Communication.

  •        Build a Positive Team and Family Spirit.

  •        Do More With Less.

Our experience with both companies is that they live up to their core values.  Neither one mentions honesty, ethics or integrity. 

Companies and individuals who live up to their core values are easy to refer. We know exactly what to expect each time we do business with them.

Have you defined your brand of Integrity?


You Have the Listing!: AKA The Importance of Knowing Your "It Factor"


As a luxury real estate marketing professional in any aspect of the real estate field, it would be wise to take time to discover your “it factor.” On several occasions we have asked sellers why they chose one agent over another with excellent track records, presentations, etc. Their response falls into the intangible world of charisma: Agent X was something else, someone special, someone who resonated with us, someone we could trust, and made us say: "you have the listing!"

Charisma is a point of attraction. It is someone who can turn heads when entering a room, not because they are looking for attention.  It is because they exude a genuine confidence of being comfortable in their own skin. Embracing your "it factor" will make you stand out in any situation.

The “it factor” refers to an indefinable quality a person has. Charismatic people exude confidence, that attracts the perfect match. Charisma is defined as “personal magnetism, the ability to inspire enthusiasm, interest, or affection.”We are all born with an "it factor."  

Whether or not, we are taught to nurture our uniqueness or conform to the norm; is what makes the difference between it being visible or invisible.  Many of us were raised in the league of conforming to be attractive to all, whether or not it suits us. 

Keep in mind that not everyone will be attracted to your brand of charisma. Those who are a match to you (the right people to work with or be with) will be. Embracing your “it factor” will create compelling attractiveness, (as the label in the photo states)). This will translate into “You Have the Listing!”

Real Estate Websites & Curb Appeal Gucci Style: More Than Meets The Eye


As part of our brand strategy services, we design websites to be consistent with the brand and for curb appeal, we do not develop them.  In other words our concern is with the aesthetics of a site  and not the codes needed to make it work. 

As part of our brand strategy services, we design websites to be consistent with the brand and for curb appeal, we do not develop them.  In other words our concern is with the aesthetics of a site  and not the codes needed to make it work. 

This past Tuesday morning, we took time to walk along Beverly Hills famed Rodeo drive to study the latest remodel revealed of the flagship Gucci store (pictured above) which began in May of 2018. 

We focused on studying the design. The extensive use of marble combined with a green metal for the brand name and support emphasized the longevity of this luxury brand (founded in1921, in Florence) as well as it new progressive era combining it with metal as part of the design.  

The marble is cut in pieces in "trompe l'oeil," style, and precisely placed in a geometric pattern to create the 3D illusion. This translates from French as optical illusion or something that fools the eye.  To the touch the surface is flat.


The entry way to the store is a curved wall of trompe l'oeil inviting you into the store.  The other side of the entry is a curved glass wall giving you a peek of their merchandise.  It gives the shopper a feeling that there is more than meets the eye, a sense of surprise and excitement, wanting to see more, (pictured below).


Does your website have curb appeal?

Branding Moment in Beverly Hills: Balenciaga & Frank Lloyd Wright Building!

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We mentioned in many of our previous posts,, how the City of Beverly Hills requires a beautiful façade of a store that is being remodeled.  The facade can be used to promote the brand.

We liked the black and white photo which in our view recalled the history of this luxury brand.  Having a store next to the  three story, Frank Lloyd Wright building, (known as the Anderton Court Shops) which was finished in 1952.  This added to the "gravitas" defined as: Gravitas is associated with ideas of weight, influence, or authority, and also sobriety and seriousness.   This is what we refer to as "borrowed landscape" one historical landmark lending credibility to a brand steeped in historyr.

Pictured above is the new store that Balenciaga is opening on Rodeo Drive.  Cristobal Balenciaga founded the store in 1917, in San Sebastian, Spain.  He later expanded his locations to Barcelona and Madrid.  His innovative designs led him to Paris, when he had to close the Spanish stores during the Spanish Civil War. 

During the WWII people risked their lives by traveling to Europe just to see his fashion shows.  In 1972, he closed his stores and the brand lay dormant until 1986.  One of his many students or protégés was famed designer Hubert de Givenchy, (favorite designer of Audrey Hepburn).

Branding Moment: 8 Basic Ways to Analyze the Power of a Brand Name


As confirmed chocoholics, we noticed this chocolate selection in the chocolate aisle of our market.  And because we love the branding process, the brand name also caught our attention.  Here are some basic ways we analyze a brand:

1. The name is a play on the phrase "alter ego" defined as a person's secondary or alternative personality.  Is it distinctive enough or memorable?

2.  Does the name address the market it intends to reach?  It does focus on attracting thosewho are ecologically minded and prefer organic products, and they are proud of it.  The slogan under the name, "enlightened indulgence" is intended to have the buyer feel good for buying it..

3.  Can the name be used on other products if the company were to start another related business?  In designing real estate brands we often think in terms of "exit strategy", when the company or agent decides to sell the business or start another business.

4.  Does the brand name have any negative connotations? Based on the definition of alter ego: (the bad side of a person that may come to life at anytime, switching your personality—this is fantasy, though some people may believe they have an alter-ego), it may be construed as such.

5.  Is the name original?  It is important to do a trademark search.

6.  Is it a name the marketplace will remember?

7.  Will it have word of mouth power, or social media power that will last? 

8.  And most important is the product delicious to those who are tempted to buy it?

When I (A) pointed it out the brand to Ron, he reminded me that dear friends who are also chocoholics had sent us a bar to try.  I had forgotten, the name and the experience.  Ron remembered the name.   Neither one of us thought that the taste was memorable enough for us to buy again.  

Keep in mind that tastes differ.  Perhaps some of you who may have tried this brand will disagree with us. Again, this a basic guideline to analyze a brand name!

How to Turn Glitches, Hitches, Hiccups & Problems into Opportunities to Build Customer Loyalty


All highly successful real estate marketing professionals understand the high cost of client acquisition and the importance of maintaining customer loyalty over time. But clients can be fickle. The same applies for broker-agent relationships. The slightest unresolved or ignored problem or hiccup in an otherwise flawless relationship can set the stage for customer disloyalty and cause agents to jump ship to your competitor. 


The way you handle glitches, hitches, hiccups and problems, and the timeliness in which they are addressed is where the rubber meets the road in remarkable client (and agent) service. This last week provided us with an amazing study in contrast between remarkable customer service and extremely poor service. One company lost us as a customer before we received our first online order. The other company strengthened our customer loyalty to a brand that we have been raving about for years. 

The Missed Opportunity 

I ordered an assortment package of various perishable food items online, inspired by the brand story of this start-up that we heard about on TV, i.e., by word-of-mouth advertising.  On their website it states, “We ship via Fedex on Tuesdays. Your order will arrive on your doorstep Wednesday – Thursday”.

When the package did not arrive as promised, I notified the company by email and made a phone call to their customer service number.  I got a recording that they would answer the call within one day. 

But there was no email reply, nor was the phone call returned. When the package finally arrived on Friday, we refused it. I notified the company asking for a refund.  “No refunds or returns. See our return policy on our website.” was the answer that came back! After politely reiterating that the delivery came one day later than what was promised on their website, I then had to call my credit card and stop payment.  I also stated that we would alert the credit card company if they changed their mind about the refund, which they finally did. This glitch was an opportunity to turn us into raving fans. But it was too late.

The Golden Opportunity

Ron accidently broke his sunglasses, for the second time that we bought from our favorite brand. When we contacted them for the repair the estimate was going to cost as much (including postage and previous repair) as we had paid for this item in the first place. When I questioned the sturdiness of the glasses and the expense in an email, I received a long lecture explaining how we should use the itemassumingwe had misused it. In other words, this was clearly our fault. 

We had praised this company in blog posts and also to our friends for years.  Just as we were about to give up on this brand, the company sent another email to ask us if we were satisfied with their responses.  I wrote back saying, I felt lectured rather than helped, and realized that this may be company policy.  I also added that my brand loyalty was shaken.  The next response I received was that they would take care of the repair at no charge to us. Loyalty restored!

Missed opportunity or Golden Opportunity?  That is the question when it comes to handling glitches, hitches, hiccups and problems in your real estate practice or in your company.