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Context = Clarity = Trust = Attraction. Read Why and How.



Contex and ClarityContext Sharpens Clarity.

Clarity Creates Understanding.

Understanding Creates Trust.

Trust Attracts.

Attraction Leads To Employment and Referral Recommendations

Blah, Yada!  If you’ve been around the block, you know about the importance of sharing the benefits of all your features.  It’s wise.  Do it!

If you want to pogo to the pro level, you’ll want to focus your brand, marketing, presentations and conversations with the clarifying lens of context.  First features, then context, then benefits.

Context Sharpens Clarity

Minus context, our messages are recieved as fuzzy, out of focus and either uncertain, untrue or BS.


Fuzzy: Mortgage rates are at an all time low.  Mortgage rates are at 5%, buy now.

Focused:  Mortgage rates are at an all time low, can you believe they’re interest rate is only 5%?  That means for every $1,000 dollars borrowed on a 30 year loan, the monthly payment would be a mouse sized $5 per month.  A $300,000 mortgage payment would only be $1,500 a month in principal and interest.  People can afford to buy homes they only dreamed about when rates were higher and appreciation soared.

Fuzzy: We sell homes for Top Dollar.

Focused: We sell homes for Top Dollar.  That saying is cliche’.  To separate the bullshit artist from the performers, take a look at the track record for the Original List Price to Sold Price Percentage.  Our firm is averaging 96.5%, which is higher than our competitors and the MLS average of 94.5%.   Take a look at this graph.  What this means is that with an average sold price in our market of $332,094, a 2% difference would equal over $6,000 in net proceeds for the seller.  Take a look at this chart*.

Fuzzy: The Federal Bailout only costs $700 Billion.

Focused: The Federal Bailout only costs $700 Billion. If paid back at a hefty rate of $1 Million per day, it would take 1,923 years to pay it back. That’s with no interest.

Fuzzy: Today we’re going to look at 8 homes.

Focused: I spent yesterday afternoon doing research for our house hunt.  There were 38 homes that fell into your price range and general criteria.  I eliminated 8 of them because they backed to a busy street, which you didn’t want. I whacked 7 of them because you want a master-up and these were down.  12 didn’t have a pool and 4 have dated kitchens, which you hate.  So that leaves us with 8 homes that closely match all the things you want.  I have these two here I wasn’t sure about, take alook at this information and see if you’d like to include them. [For added context, I’d show them the individual printouts of the eliminated homes, with a big red Sharpie slash through them.*]

Fuzzy: We sell homes fast.

Focused: We sell  homes fast, with favorable terms.  The Average Number Of Days On Market (DOM) for all Active Listing Inventory in The Woodlands is 127 days.  In our market, The Woodlands TX, the DOM for sold listing average 87 days.  Our average is 79 DOM.  Here’s a  printed chart comparing our Average DOM to our competitors*.

*NOTE:  Generally speaking, we believe less about what sales person “tells us” and more about what a sales person “shows us”.  Anytime we can use third party proof, we should.

Clarity Creates Understanding

Including context makes an otherwise featherweight message heavywieght with meaning.  Meaning leads to understanding.

Understanding Creates Trust

When we understand, we’re more likely to trust the message or the messenger.

Lack of trust blunts our ability to connect and retards progress.   In some cases, lack of trust prevents progress completely.  In worst case scenarios, lack of clarity and trust causes people to runaway from, avoid and or, ignore the messenger.

Trust Attracts

Our subconscious radar is keenly tuned to detect bull-shit, we ping constantly for suspicion, cynicism, doubt and uncertainty.  We are bombarded with thousands of marketing messages a day.  Generally we ignore the common, avoid the uncertain and shun the unsafe.  As sales people, if what we share is perceived as common, uncertain or unsafe, we’re in BIG trouble.

We’re attracted to people and things that ring safe.  We’re attracted to people and things we trust.  We buy things and hire people we trust.  We also share, refer and recommend trustworthy things and people to other people we trust.

Context Conversion

Including context in your marketing messages isn’t that difficult.  Don’t get me wrong, it takes effort and commitment, but it’s not hard, it a matter of execution and habit.

Here’s A Simple 5 Step Process

  1. Evaluate your marketing messages.  Examine what you write, what you say, how you present, how you market and advertise.
  2. Look for the loosely defined and fuzzily described.
  3. Figure out how and where to add context.
  4. Add context.
  5. Re-create, Re-Launch, Re-Engage and reap the rewards Context > Clarity > Understanding > Trust > Attraction > Employment and Referral Recommendation.

Get Crack’n & Share

Good luck.  Get started today.  Share this with a friend and if you have some tips on how you sprinkle your marketing message with Context, we’d love you even more if you’d leave you gift in the comments.

Cheers and thanks for reading.

Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. egoldre

    December 21, 2009 at 8:05 am

    Good Stuff as always Ken. I’m sharing this with the other agents in my office!

    • Ken Brand

      December 21, 2009 at 8:21 am

      Thanks. Glad you found it helpful. Cheers and Happy Holidays:-)

  2. Missy Caulk

    December 21, 2009 at 10:22 am

    Ken, cliches don’t make money or explain a darn thing. They are passed over. You gave some great illustrations on how to build trust.

    • Ken Brand

      December 21, 2009 at 2:33 pm

      Good point Missy, TRUST is the straw that stirs the drink, and the ice cubes and the mixer and the al-ka-doll, I guess we’re the glass and our SOE is the party. Who’s thirsty? Thanks for the compliment and cheers for a Merry Christmas.

  3. Fred Glick

    December 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm

    Your problem is you are correct!

    I only say that because there are too many people that believe the simple things out there and get bamboozled by bad agents.

    But, we have to keep on pushing the truth!

  4. Ken Brand

    December 21, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Amen Fred, the “truth” will set you free, the days of BS, sucking up, posing and generally being faux are bye-bye, if you want to succeed anyway. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

  5. Ken Montville

    December 21, 2009 at 4:10 pm

    I love the post and the concept. Now, Ken-to-Ken, your mission, if you choose to accept it, is to explain how you can get from Context to Trust in 60 seconds. That’s about how much time any of us have to get through to someone before their eyes glaze over and they get bored.

    Oh, can I really use words like “bullshit” and “whacked”. I’d love to.

    Merry Christmas, Ken!

    • Ken Brand

      December 21, 2009 at 4:34 pm

      60 seconds from Context To Trust. You know what? I think it happens that fast. The in-between stuff; clarity and understanding is the subconscious connecting the nano-dots. Add context, not just the good, but the bad and ugly, people will respond positively.

      As for bullshit, whacked, WTH, crap sandwich, douche bag, etc., most definitely use the correct words (sparingly), it’s surprising and therefore attracts interest and makes you Top Of Mind Awareness sticky.

      Of course, avoid overuse and unnatural adjectives, verbs and nouns, doing so is viewed as crass-punk-ass-grand-standing and generally being a “dick”, which of course is counter productive and self destructive.

      Merry Christmas to you too Ken.

      PS. Have I ever told you what a cool name you have?

  6. Gwen Banta

    December 21, 2009 at 8:04 pm

    Well said, Ken. Educating clients with facts and clarity is as important as educating ourselves. Too many people in sales spew so much bull they can no longer discern the truth themselves. My grandfather used to say, “If you are going to throw around a lot of bull, you’d better wear galoshes.”

    • Ken Brand

      December 21, 2009 at 8:27 pm

      Ha, yeah, sometimes the galoshes need to be hip-waders. Cheers Gwen;-)

  7. Ryan Hartman

    December 22, 2009 at 11:22 am

    Damn Ken. This was solid solid. Thanks. As more agents become content creators posts like this message should resonate stronger and wider…

    I’m gonna plug it to me list 🙂

    [Plus “bullshit” and “douchebag” certainly make for a more trustworthy read imo… Who can trust anyone who doesn’t use these words regularly?]

    • Ken Brand

      December 22, 2009 at 4:22 pm

      Thanks Ryan. And, Damn-Straight, when someone is pristinely correct and poofy-proper…you gotta wonder?

      Cheers and Merry Christmas

  8. Houstonblogger

    December 22, 2009 at 5:04 pm

    I enjoy it whenever I can use the word “douchebag”. ‘Tis one of my faves.

    • Ken Brand

      December 22, 2009 at 5:15 pm

      Yeah, me too. It sorta rolls of the tongue and makes you laugh-inside when you say it. I think the same thing when I call something a crap-sandwich.

      Merry Christmas to you. Cheers

  9. Joe Loomer

    December 23, 2009 at 6:47 am


    You peggged this 21-year Navy man between the eyes with your bullshit, woke me up, got me FOCUSED!

    I certainly liked: “Anytime we can use third party proof, we should.” This solidifies your place as the market expert, especially when you show cause and effect…. As you can see (from the chart provided), the increasing inventory of homes in that area has pushed prices down, and Days On the Market is up, if you want to sell, you’ll have to price ahead of the market….

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  10. Terry

    January 4, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    I am going to start reading what you have to say not sure I understand everything. Have to get into this blogging and twitter stuff.

  11. Paul

    February 7, 2011 at 5:43 pm

    Holy Shit Ken,
    That was awsome stuff. I see it to be a far reaching problem in our world. I like to call it completing an idea or one’s thoughts by including the context for clarity purposes. Anytime I proof someone’s writings it is almost always my number one message to the writer and that is to finish the idea, thought or complete the sentence. Don’t leave the reader hanging and or make the assumption that the douchebag reader has any idea what it is you are trying to say. Leave nothing to chance and make sure you spell it out for them. Only then will they get it and you.

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Business Marketing

10 must-listen-to podcasts for business owners

(MARKETING) If you’re a business owner and want to learn something…anything…give one (or all) these podcasts a listen.



headphones listen podcasts

As podcasts grow more and more popular, it has become increasingly difficult to sort through the sea of excellent options out there.

From interviews with business leaders to industry-specific advice from experts, podcasts are an incredible free and convenient way to get a small dose of inspiration and knowledge.

This short list offers just a taste of the myriad of business podcasts available. Whether you’re an aspiring entrepreneur looking for some tips on breaking into a new industry or a seasoned vet hoping to get some new inspiration, we hope you’ll find something here worth listening to.

How I Built This, hosted by Guy Raz.

Podcast fans will recognize Guy Raz’s name (and voice) from TED Radio Hour. While that show can be a great source of inspiration for businesses, one of the most consistently inspiring shows is his new project that shares stories and insight from some of the biggest business leaders in the world. In just four months, Guy has talked to everyone from Richard Branson and Mark Cuban to L.A. Reid and Suroosh Alvi. While there are plenty of excellent interview-driven shows with entrepreneurs, if you want to hear about the world’s best known companies, this is your best bet.

The Art of Charm, hosted by Jordan and AJ Harbinger.

The Art of Charm is a business podcast by definition, but the advice it provides will definitely help you in other parts of your day-to-day life as well. With over three million listens a month, the incredibly popular show provides advice, strategies and insight into how to network effectively and advance your career and personal life.

StartUp, hosted by Alex Blumberg and Lisa Chow.

If you’re an entrepreneur, there is no excuse not to be listening to StartUp, the award-winning business podcast from Gimlet Media. The show’s talented hosts come from incredible radio shows like Planet Money and This American Life and bring a top-notch level of storytelling to the show, which provides behind the scenes looks at what it is actually like to start a company. Now on the fourth season, StartUp is one of those business podcasts that even people not interested in business will get a kick out of.

The Whole Whale Podcast, hosted by George Weiner.

One of the best things about podcasts is the wide variety of niche shows available that go in-depth into fascinating topics. One of those shows is the Whole Whale Podcast, which shares stories about data and technology in the non-profit sector. You’ll get detailed analysis, expert knowledge and can hear from a long list of social impact leaders from Greenpeace,, Kiva, Teach For America, and more.

Social Pros Podcast, hosted by Jay Baer and Adam Brown.

Navigating the surplus of social media guides online can be a nightmare, so look no further than Social Pros. Recent episodes talk about reaching college students on social media, the rise of messaging apps, and making better video content for Facebook. Plus, there are great case-studies with companies doing social right, like Kellogg’s, Coca Cola and Lenscrafters.

Entrepreneur on Fire, hosted by John Lee Dumas.

One of the original entrepreneurship shows, Entrepreneur on Fire has logged over 1,500 episodes with successful business leaders sharing tips, lessons and advice learned from their worst entrepreneurial moments. Sometimes humorous, sometimes heartbreaking, always inspiring, this show is sure to have at least one interview with someone you can learn from.

The $100 MBA, hosted by Omar Zenhom.

Think of The $100 MBA as a full-fledged business program in snack-sized portions. The daily ten minute business lessons are based on real-world applications and cover everything from marketing to technology and more. Cue this show up on your commute to or from work and watch your knowledge grow.

This Week in Startups, hosted by Jason Calacanis.

This is your audio version of TechCrunch, Gizmodo, or dare we say The American Genius. Each week, a guest entrepreneur joins the show to talk about what is happening in tech right now. You’ll get news about companies with buzz, updates on big tech news and even some insider gossip.

The Side Hustle Show, hosted by Nick Loper.

This is the show if you want answers for the big question so many entrepreneurs face. How do I turn my part-time hustle into a real job? Featuring topics such as passive income ideas, niche sites, and self-publishing, host Nick Loper is upfront and honest about the tough world of side hustles. The show features actionable tips and an engaging energy, and may just be that final push you need to grow your gig.

Back To Work, hosted by Merlin Mann and Dan Benjamin.
Focused on the basics that you don’t think about, Back To Work looks deep into our working lives by analyzing things like workflow, email habits and personal motivation. Somewhere between self-help, and business advice, Back To Work takes on a new topic relating to productivity each week.

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Business Marketing

Why your coworkers are not your ‘family’ [unpopular opinion]

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…



family coworkers

The well-known season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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Business Marketing

Market your side hustle with these 6 tips

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.



side hustle paperwork and technology

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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