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THE NEW POLITICS OF REAL ESTATE

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oppressedrg.jpgOver the past seven years, we’ve watched our nation become polarized on many political levels. Liberal or Conservative, we are a nation divided, and it appears that some in Real Estate have taken a strategy directly from the political playbook of a particular party.

POLITICAL STRATEGY:

  • Create a monster (the President)
  • Find polarizing issue (beat the President over the head with it, repeatedly, true or not)
  • Attack the monster with a revolution (attack everything the monster says or does, loudly)
  • Create a perception of oppression (confuse the voter)
  • Raise money (use every financial means necessary to multiply your message)
  • Spin the media (a sympathetic media breeds sympathetic votes)

POLITICAL REAL ESTATE STRATEGY:

  • Create a monster (the N.A.R.)
  • Find polarizing issue (beat the NAR over the head with it, repeatedly, true or not)
  • Attack the monster with a revolution (attack everything past or present, loudly)
  • Create a perception of oppression (confuse the consumer)
  • Raise money (use every financial means necessary to multiply your message)
  • Spin the media (a sympathetic media breeds sympathetic consumers)

The idea is simple.  You want to create one solid structure to attack, one that is tangible that will represent the larger group.  Whether it is the Republican Party or The National Real Estate Industry, you must be able to lob verbal bricks at it to attract the attention of the five second sound bite.  President Bush (agree with him or not) and The NAR are the ideal targets. 

Warp the public trust of the monster by any means necessary by making sure as many voices are speaking so-called truth to power at one time.  This will polarize some and galvanize others.  In the case of the Real Estate Industry (the establishment), we’re talking about many who pay even less attention to RE than to politics, so it takes very little to plant the seed when an entity is attacking everything it does and stands for.

Whether you’re part of either political party matters not.  The point is, the strategy is obvious and it works.  The problem for those in Real Estate that choose to practice this stratagem is that they run the risk of alienating their own base over time.  It is not a matter of if; it is more of a matter of when- if there is no simple logical answer to who is right and on what issue, then the argument is too broad and too vague. The audience tunes out and turns off, but the message is deep into the bloodstream.

When you attack an entire industry with doublespeak and double standards on every level at one time, you confuse consumers to the point that they will indeed take more time to sort it all out.  Real Estate is a lot more complicated than the political Top 10 kitchen table issues- foolishly attacking anything and everything leaves no white or black area; you’re left with all gray, inevitably affecting the consumer confidence in every market.  Markets that had no problem could suddenly perceive there is one. 

My prediction if this strategy continues in its current clumsy state: the polarization of consumers could have devastating consequences for real estate markets and our overall economy.  chess11.jpg

The main difference between marketing a new (or recycled) product or idea and politicizing it are very different.   Marketing is very focused as a rule, it has a particular audience; politicizing is very broad, and uses a tone of “by any means necessary” with the voice of the oppressed (Not oppressed? Tell them they are until they believe it). Recent examples in the national media only spotlight what has been happening in smaller, more controlled markets for many months.

It is too soon to see the real effects of this style of Politicizing Real Estate, or if those who are guilty of said tactics will continue such a broad, dull, unfocused challenge of the Real Estate Industry.  Even they must realize oversimplifying the nuances of real estate can and will have a negative economic impact on the larger segment of the market, including their own- and I do not mean in lower commissions.  

It takes time for such a strategy to work or be measured; but the slow drumbeat of repetition will eventually win out.  One must wonder whose drumbeat will be the loudest as the so-called revolution marches on… who will the consumer trust when the dust settles? Look no further than the public confidence of either political party on Capitol Hill for your answer. 

….BR 

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Jonathan Dalton

    May 21, 2007 at 2:54 pm

    Interesting theory. I’m not sure anyone needed to work hard to portray NAR as the monster. The group’s general approach to PR is a train wreck. That leaves a lot of agents attempting to defend the industry on their own when, frankly, not everything involved in the industry can be defended.

    Redfin’s greatest appeal is it’s singular PR focus. What the company is doing is nothing particularly original – flat-rate real estate models have been in existence for years. But by adding the technology angle (also not a new idea to many), they’ve made it appear they’re looking for a revolution when instead they’re trying to exploit a particular consumer niche.

    The new world of blogging, along with the cover of anonymity it provides, has allowed many to shoot at any sacred cow they choose without concern for the possible repercussions. And many choose to follow just to be heard. Sad, really.

  2. B. R.

    May 22, 2007 at 8:28 pm

    All large entities have a big bullseye on their back, they are all clumsy, and slow. Thats how it works- thanks for the trackback and comment-BR

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

7 ways Instagram Stories get people pumped about your brand

(MARKETING) Instagram stories are widely used, so why shouldn’t marketers get in on the Insta-story action?

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Instagram

Instagram Stories long ago surpassed Snapchat at it’s photo-sharing joy, and has found to be a great place to build brand awareness and build your customer base.

Here are a few ways that you can use stories to get people excited about your brand, products, and service.

1. Share the story of your business

Showcase the creation of a product or service, or share something (legal and fun) that your team is working on. These behind the scenes productions humanize your brand and can really get people excited about it. Check out what Union Fare does!

2. Preview live broadcasts

Are you doing a Facebook Live or WebEx demonstration? Use Instagram Stories to tease and generate some excitement or pull attendees from one social media platform to the other.

3. Showcase your stuff in action

Whether it’s demonstrating an application, showing off a recipe, or showcasing an outfit, you can use stories to show what the end result of a product is and help them generate ideas on how to use that stuff! Because Instagram Live can be done spontaneously, you can show authentic, non-scripted demonstrations easily.

4. Brag time

When you support a brand, you get excited that you are a part of their wins. Share relevant milestones (subscriber counts, new products, new revenue, new contracts, new products, etc.) with your base. This helps build connection with your base.

5. Countdowns and giveaways

You can use stories to facilitate ways to get people excited about upcoming giveaways or new launches. Unlike static marketing, the use of countdowns can really get people emotionally excited and build anticipation for new products or services. You could also use stories to give special sales or unique giveaways that give a more “exclusive” feeling.

6. “Takeovers” from influencers or partnerships

If you are working with a promoter or influencer, you can have them generate content to send them over to you to use their voice to target your audience. The influencer can send you pictures and videos that you upload yourself, rather than handing over your account username or password (like with Snapchat). This is a great way to work with someone who already has a following that can help you expand your service or product reach.

7. Create unique content

Odds are, especially for smaller businesses and new entrepreneurs, you don’t have a lot of time to invest in production value for other advertising. Instagram Stories with the use of stickers, paintbrush, and text can be a great place for raw, but still polished content that has a one of a kind feel. Familiarize yourself with the tools, and don’t be afraid to get artsy.

Make Instagram work for you

Instagram is constantly adding new features, so make sure you stay tuned for updates and play around with those features often. For example – Instagram stories can rewind or being hashtagged. Or use the eraser brush to do slow teases or product reveals.

Given that users can now bookmark content as well, you can create demonstrations or examples and give your audience a quick reference to your content. Get learning, check out stories, and start building those unique, intimate, and creative engagements with your consumers.

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Business Marketing

Half of all Instagram users buy immediately after seeing an ad

(MARKETING) If you’re advertising on Instagram and yielding no results, read on – it’s a gold mine for *some* types of brands.

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instagram

If you’ve been on Instagram you’ve likely fallen victim to the algorithm’s knack for showing you advertisements for something that seems exactly suited to your tastes. Or, someone you follow on the app tags their post with the name of the brands that make up their cute outfit and you decide to see what else they might offer. I’ve ended up with more than one pair of sneakers this way.

Instagram’s popularity and effectiveness have made it a marketing powerhouse. Over 130 million people look at product tags on the app each month.

Recently, Facebook commissioned a study asking users to explain what their interaction with companies and brands on Instagram was like. A whopping 66% of people said that the used Instagram to interact directly with brands — and 54% of users said they purchased something immediately after seeing an ad in their Instagram feed. Ads that are in the “stories” feature, independent of users’ feeds are especially effective.

After it was acquired by Facebook, Instagram has grown to account for over 19% of the tech-giant’s advertising spending — nearly double what it was in 2018.

Facebook is planning on continuing to capitalize on Instagram. They announced that soon users won’t need to navigate out of their feed to the retailer’s website purchase items, but rather have the ability to buy things in-app.

Instagram will take a cut of these in-app purchases and partner with PayPal to process payments, adding a new revenue stream to the growing platform.

As part of expanding its foray into shopping, Instagram is also partnering with its most popular influencers.

These people will be able to directly sell the products that their sponsors are offering through their accounts, rather than direct them to their sponsor’s account. At the beginning, only major accounts belonging to celebs like Kylie Jenner or Gigi Hadid will have this option, but it seems like after its initial launch more sellers will be to take advantage of the feature.

So, be prepared to have even more sneakers in your future, friends. It looks like those Instagram ads are going to get even more powerful.

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