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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

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.

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Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.

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Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.

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Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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