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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

How one employer beat an age discrimination lawsuit

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Age discrimination is a rare occurrence but still something to be battled. It’s good practice to keep your house in order to be on the right side.

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Jewel age discrimination

In January, the EEOC released its annual accounting for reports of discrimination in the previous year. Allegations of retaliation were the most frequently filed charge, which disability coming in second. Age discrimination cases accounted for 21.4% of filed charges. As we’ve reported before, not all age discrimination complaints rise to the level of illegal discrimination. In Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores, Inc., the federal court dismissed the claims of age discrimination, even though seven (7) plaintiffs made similar claims against the grocery store.

What Cesario v. Jewel Food Stores was about

In Cesario, all but one of the seven plaintiffs had spent years with Jewel Food building their careers. When Jewel went through some financial troubles, the plaintiffs allege that they began to “experience significant pressure at work… (and) were eventually forced out or terminated because of their age or disability.” Jewel Food requested summary judgment to dismiss the claims.

The seven plaintiffs made the same type of complaints. Beginning in 2014, store directors were under pressure to improve metrics and customer satisfaction. Cesario alleges that the Jewel district manager asked about his age. Another director alleges that younger store directors were transferred to stores with less difficulties. One plaintiff alleged that Jewel Food managers asked him about his retirement. The EEOC complaints began in late 2015. The plaintiffs retired or were fired and subsequently filed a lawsuit against their company.

Age discrimination is prohibited by the Age Discrimination in Employment Act of 1967, (ADEA). The ADEA prevents disparate treatment based on age for workers over 40 years old. However, plaintiffs who allege disparate treatment must establish that the adverse reactions wouldn’t have occurred but for age. Because none of the plaintiffs could specifically point to age as the only determination of their case, the court dismissed the case.

A word to wise businesses

Jewel Food was able to demonstrate their own actions in the case through careful documentation. Although there was no evidence that age played a factor in any discharge decision, Jewel Food could document their personnel decisions across the board. The plaintiffs also didn’t exhaust all administrative remedies. This led to the case being dropped.

Lesson learned – Make personnel decisions based on performance and evidence. Don’t use age as a factor. Keep documentation to support your decisions.

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Business Marketing

in 2021 the EU will enforce ‘right to repair’ for phones and tablets

(BUSINESS NEWS) The EU says NO to planned obsolescence by…letting you fix your own stuff? The right to repair has started to make headway again.

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Right to repair

Not to be a loyalist turncoat about it, but sometimes the European Union comes out with stuff that makes me want Texas to go back to being Mexico, and then back to being Spain.

The latest in sustainability news from across the pond is that in 2021, the Old World is saying no to Euro-trash, and insisting on implementing:

Right to repair laws
Higher sustainable materials quotas
Ease of transfer for replaced items (ie: letting you sell your old phone without the need for jailbreaking anything)
and Universal adaptors for things like phone chargers, and connection cables

Hallelujah!

Consumers worldwide have been feeling the pinch of realizing their (cough cough, mostly Apple brand) technology not only breaks easily, but either can’t be fixed afterwards, or requires costly branded repairs.

The phenomenon has given rise to rogue mobile repair shops, Reddit threads, and renegade fix-it philanthropists like Louis Rossman. And while they certainly HELP, the best thing for a problem is to cut it off proactively. Since companies were making too much money not picking up the slack, the EU’s decided to take the steps to force their hands.

I’m always on my soapbox, but I’ll stack another one on top for this: Planned obsolescence and the assumption that a company has any right to tell you you can’t repair, restore, revamp, or re-home your own possessions are obscene. And to be fair to Apple fans, it’s not just in tech—it’s in damn near everything that’s not meant to be EATEN. Literally.

I bought a STAPLER for a volunteer gig I had. A good, sturdy Staedtler one that I figured would serve the project and continue to stand me in good stead for a while. After a few dozen price tags attached to baggies, the stapler jammed, as staplers do. No worries, you find a knife and wedge out the stuck staple…except I couldn’t. Because the normal slot for that was covered by a metal plate literally welded in place so that I couldn’t perform a grade-school level fix on something I paid for less than 24 hours prior.

Rather than stand behind a product that’s supposed to last, companies, even down to simple office ware, have opted to tinker away to force consumers to trash their current products to buy newer ones. Which I did in the stapler case. A rusty second hand one that didn’t HAVE that retroactive BS ‘Let’s create a problem’ plate on it, meaning no company but the resale non-profit I was helping out in the first place got any more money from me.

Consumers are wising up, and fewer lawmakers are still stuck in the fog of the 90s and 2000s surrounding our everyday machinery. The gray areas are settling into solid black and white, and SMART smart-businesses here stateside will change their colors accordingly.

Now while we’re all still quarantined and hoping for these laws to wash up onto American shores…who has craft ideas for the five-dozen different chargers we all have?

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Business Marketing

Uber Eats waives delivery fees during COVID-19 quarantine

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Uber eats has decided to take a friendly helpful step forward while everyone seems to be quarantined, they have started to waive delivery fees!

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Uber eats

With everything canceled, including dining out for social distancing’s sake, food delivery service Uber Eats is waiving delivery fees in an effort to lessen the financial strain local restaurants are experiencing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the company, Uber Eats has more than 100,000 independent local restaurants on its app. In addition to Uber Eats, Grubhub said it will waive commission fees up to $100 million for independent restaurants across the country.

“As more people stay home, local restaurants need your business more than ever. That’s why we’re waiving the Delivery Fee for all orders from every independent restaurant on Uber Eats—more than 100,000 local restaurants on the app,” the company said in a news release earlier this week.

To find the local independent restaurants on Uber Eats, just look for the EAT LOCAL banner. Delivery fees will automatically be waived, according to this story on Tech Crunch.

Uber Eats is also making it easier for locally run restaurants to get paid faster, offering daily payments rather than the normal weekly payouts, according to Endgadget. Also, the company is giving back saying it will provide 300,000 free meals to health care workers and first responders in the US and Canada.

Not only will waiving fees help restaurants and customers, it’s sound business for food delivery companies. Local restaurants drive roughly 80 percent of business on Grubhub.

“Independent restaurants are the lifeblood of our cities and feed our communities,” Grubhub Founder and CEO Matt Maloney said in a statement published on Endgadget. “They have been amazing long-term partners for us, and we wanted to help them in their time of need. Our business is their business — so this was an easy decision for us to make.”

To limit human interaction Uber Eats and other food delivery services, including Grubhub, Postmates, and Instacart, are encouraging users to select the no-contact delivery method. According to Uber Eats, as is the norm, once packed at the restaurant food items are not touched or opened.

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