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Why we need to BE like Kick-Ass iPhone App Creators

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Passionate people – those iPhone App developers.  After they create and share their magical App with the world, they don’t sit on their asses admiring their handiwork.  Or take vacation. Hell no.

Raise Your Hand If You Love Presents

They guzzle even more Mountain Dew, scarf more Skittles and back to work they go.  Like snarling rabid dogs, they attack the task of finishing their next even-cooler version.  They fix the glitches, simplify and sweeten-up everything they can.  It’s a race to impress, Velcro connect, delight and create a culture of equally rabid fans.  It’s a never ending cycle of refinement and innovation.

For us customers, it’s Presents every day.  I smile every time I download one. Don’t you love it?

It’s becoming a minimum expectation.  We’re beginning to expect frequent and free upgrades and enhancements.  And not just with iPhone apps either.  We expect the same special treatment from all product and service providers and experience creators.  When a personal or business product or service is slow to improve (upgrade and enhance) we begin to think them dull and replace them with something sexier.  It’s natural human behavior.

What Does This Have To With Real Estate Agents?

I was thinking, hey, I’m in the real estate business and I’m a service provider and experience creator. How often do I roll out this-is-an-even-cooler-version of what I was offering and sharing before?  Or, do I mostly roll with the  tired tried and true?

If our clients are culture is becoming conditioned to expect Presents and I don’t have any to give, and others do, what will happen to me and my real estate business?

This line of thinking led me asking these questions:

  1. Is our listing photo quality any sharper or attractive than it was back in June?
  2. Is the quality of our connections and conversations within our networks, tribes and niches the same as it was last October?
  3. What about our primary prospecting methods?  Are they the same tried and true methods or are we including new tools and tactics?
  4. What new things have we learned about marketing, trust and sharing? Are we doing any of them?
  5. Are we still blah-blah bragging and boasting harder than we listen?
  6. Are we using new tools like Rapportive.com to expand our social solar system empires?
  7. Are we sharing our knowledge and expertise in new ways? (SlideShare.net/Scribd.com/GoogleDocs/Dropbox.com)
  8. Are we responding to requests and unexpected opportunity any faster?
  9. Is our online presence and any mightier or than it was last August?
  10. Have we made the stressful process of selling and buying any easier, faster, simpler or less stressful?  Or is it the same pain in the ass hassel it was a year ago?

You get the picture.  If everyone everywhere expects more and I continue to deliver what I’ve always delivered, how long before my sexy-offering begins to shrink?  How long before it dims and disappears altogether?  We gotta make sure this doesn’t happen to us.

Better yet.  Wouldn’t it be nice if we changed some things for the better.  Instead of losing customers we would keep them smiling and referring us.   At the same time we we would attract people who are in search of something better?

Here’s My Plan Man.

My first step is awareness.  Now I’m aware – everybody expects Old-Faithful like upgrade-enhancements.  If I don’t for them, they won’t for me.

To lock in success, I need to act like a Mountain Dew fueled, insanely motivated to Dent-The Universe iPhone App creator.  I can’t sit on my ass and admire my past.  I gotta work like a rabid dog to create and deliver upgrade-enhancements – over and over.  No easy feat, eh.  No worries though.

I have a 4 Point Plan:

1.  Every time I download my daily dose of Presents, I’ll be reminded to ask myself, “Hey Ken Brand, what Presents are you delivering today?  What unexpected cool-things have you done for them lately?”  These daily self reminders will keep me aware, focused and quasi-accountable.

2.  I’ll make a list of areas that need upgrade-enhancement and prioritize my list. Areas with the most bang-for-my-attention will sit at the tip-top.

3.  Each week I’ll focus on the top three priorities. Underneath each of my listed items I’ll briefly describe the action steps required to upgrade and enhance whatever I’m currently doing.

4.  I’ll Do It.

Well that’s my plan.  I was wondering if you felt like I do about what it takes to create at culture of delighted clients who want to hire and refer you?  If you do. . .

What Will You Do Next?

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Cheers.  Thanks for reading.

Photo Credit

PS.  Ok.  All you Smart Phone,  Droid, Berry and only God knows why, Windows mobil users, your App developers are passionate too.  No disrespect.  I love Apple, so I wrote what I know.  XO

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 BrandCandid.com. 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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25 Comments

25 Comments

  1. Benn Rosales

    February 28, 2011 at 10:46 am

    Ken, for me this puts into perspective some things I’ve seen in you lately. I get it. I love your list, and am certainly happy you’re the first thing I read on a Monday morning. If I may add one slight twist to your title and beyond – don’t “act” … but rather … be. You are or you are not.

    I doubt we have one reader at AG who isn’t passionate about their business, but beyond passion, I love that you road map the next level, the next step, and not allowing yourself to slide backwards or sit still.

  2. Rachel Vanderveen

    February 28, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Some really good points in there. Despite your closing comment, I’m still going to say that Blackberry is better 🙂 But I won’t deny that I’ve been drawn to the general sexiness of the Iphone for many months now, and there have been moments of weakness where I almost bought one. The presents ARE better with apple, I admit, but Blackberry makes business simple. But I’ve been diehard Blackberry for years, so I can’t REALLY say which is better forsure 🙂 What presents can I make for my clients today? Good question! Even better post!

    • Ken Brand

      February 28, 2011 at 1:01 pm

      Thanks Rachel, the best tool is the one you like. So rock what you love. Cheers..

  3. Sherri Loomer

    February 28, 2011 at 11:43 am

    I’m just waiting on my contract upgrade date to go to a Droid platform, this post will probably expedite my decision. Life as we know it has changed in the Facebook era.

    Augusta GA Homes

    • Ken Brand

      February 28, 2011 at 1:03 pm

      Yeah, gotta be able to share stuff on run for sure. I hear the Honeycomb iPad killer is pretty cool. Should make your Droid approach even mightier. Thanks for the comment.

  4. BawldGuy

    February 28, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Always wanting to improve your results is why you’ve been successful wherever you’ve been.

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Business Marketing

The checklist every company needs when redesigning a website

(MARKETING) Web design is deceptively complicated, and failing to meet the proper criteria can leave you with the cyber equivalent of a ghost town. Here are some crucial steps to take before you publish (or republish) your website.

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Web design can be a huge pain in the rear even for seasoned veterans, and the arduous list of things that can go wrong all but guarantees that you’ll miss something crucial before going live. If you need to update (or create) your company’s website, make sure you’ve met the necessary criteria before you click that “Publish” button, even if it’s a revamping done through a firm.

Your initial steps should involve determining the purpose of your website and cleaning up the website’s copy to match that purpose. For example, if your website’s primary goal is to serve as a call to action for customers looking to purchase your products, any additional information or services listed on the site should be appropriately categorized and removed from the landing page.

You’ll also want to ensure that your website’s copy is clean, easy to understand, and thoroughly proofread. Nothing pushes potential customers away more quickly than misspelled messages or overly technical explanations.

The importance of optimization cannot be overstated, and that concept applies doubly to your website’s mobile performance. If you don’t have an accessible mobile version of your website, you’re kissing a huge amount of revenue goodbye. Remember that, while your mobile site should stand out, it should also endeavor to mirror your desktop site as closely as possible to facilitate a sense of continuity.

Accessibility is actually a pretty complex issue in and of itself, so you’ll want to make sure that your website meets all of your country’s standards for basic web design in addition to meeting — and, if possible, exceeding — the standards for disability-related challenges such as those faced by blind or epileptic visitors. This can include anything from making sure your links are functional to creating a spoken version of your site for the blind.

While important, the above is not an exhaustive list of your website’s crucial criteria. Your website should also include some form of the following:

  • Reviews or links to social discussions about your goods or services
  • Relevant, high-quality photos and videos
  • Standard web conventions including having your website’s logo in the top-left corner and the search bar in the top-right corner

Once you’ve checked off these requirements for your site, it’s not a bad idea to have other people go through the website with the same criteria in mind. Peer review — especially from both a professional developer and someone on the consumers’ side of the process — will be a substantial aid in allowing you to find and plug the holes in your website’s design.

Mindfulness is only the first step in creating a flawless website. As long as you adhere to the above requirements and recommendations, your website should stay relatively active and frustration-free.

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Business Marketing

Study finds cancer care centers using illegal deceptive marketing tactics

(MARKETING) A new study alleges deceptive marketing practices rampant with cancer care centers, leading to FTC complaints.

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cancer care centers

When my uncle passed away from colon cancer last year, I was ready for it – that is, as ready as you can be to lose a loved one to a terminal illness. Although his death was deeply sad, I was spared the shock because his doctors had always been honest with our family about his prognosis. Once he received the diagnosis, we knew we’d be lucky to have two more years with him.

When it comes to fighting a serious illness, it’s important to have hope – but it’s also important to have realistic expectations. Unfortunately, some cancer treatment centers are luring patients and their dollars by selling them an unwarranted belief that they can beat the odds. Truth in Advertising (TINA.org), calls it “the deceptive marketing of hope.”

TINA.org has published the results of a year-long investigation into the marketing of cancer treatment centers. One study focused on Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA), the cancer center that spends more than any other on marketing – an estimated $110 million over the last three years. The other study analyzed 48 big-spending cancer care centers, including Sloan-Kettering, Dana-Farber, and NYU.

The results were disturbing.

TINA.org found that many of the biggest names in cancer care use deceptive practices in their marketing. Specifically, 43 out of 48 (yes, that’s 90 percent) used anecdotal patient testimonials that show atypical care results without disclosing what the “generally expected results for a patient in a similar situation would be.”

Testimonials featured patients with types of cancer that, more than half the time, result in death within five years. By showing unusual and rare recoveries, these cancer care centers give patients the false impression that, by choosing their care center, they will have “a therapeutic advantage, allowing them to beat the odds and live beyond five years.”

Testimonials also featured atypical results from new treatments and clinical trials, without disclosing that these treatments are experimental and that success is far from guaranteed.

TINA.org also conducted a specific investigation of CTCA, who in 1996 entered a consent agreement with the FTC that barred them from using deceptive testimonials. This agreement is near expiration, so TINA.org decided it was a good time to review CTCA’s marketing practices. They found 130 examples of deceptive testimonials in CTCA’s marketing.

This week, TINA.org sent a formal complaint to the FTC asking them to re-open their investigation of CTCA. They also sent notices to 42 cancer centers warning them that using atypical testimonials is illegal.

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Business Marketing

What the YETI “cult” can teach you about marketing success

YETI has built a cult following for their 300 dollar cooler. Confused? Don’t be. This story isn’t rocket science; just good old fashioned product innovation and saavy marketing at their finest.

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The rise of YETI

Here at The American Genius, we feel the term “cult” gets a bad name. In fact, we find it beautiful. It’s the product of keeping promises and delivering remarkable experiences to consumers time and time again until they have no choice but to love a product or service unconditionally. That’s not just gold for your business, but it’s a grand human experience to build a relationship founded on trust and loyalty (and a leeeeeetle bit of fanaticism).

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We’ve written about cult followings before, like the Crossfit craze. However, we can understand if you’re a bit skeptical when we tell you that a company making coolers is cultivating a similar craze amongst consumers. However, the facts don’t lie. In six years, YETI sales grew from $9 million to $450 million. Sales are so strong, they can barely keep certain products in stock.

All this over a 300 dollar cooler. Yep, 300 dollars for something you usually pick up for no more than 50 bucks at any no-name Walmart.

Confused? Don’t be. This story isn’t rocket science; just good old fashioned product innovation and saavy marketing at their finest:

YETI didn’t just make a better cooler; they made a luxury product

Those janky, $50 Walmart coolers don’t cost much for a reason; their functionality is a bit limited. So, there’s plenty to improve on. But a Yeti Cooler isn’t just an improvement; it’s damn near perfect.

It’s practically indestructible. So indestructible that it’s grizzly proof. It also keeps ice frozen for a long-time. Long enough that you will still have ice after a long weekend trip in many cases. Combine those things together, and it’s not hard to believe that when a fire engulfed a vehicle, the YETI Cooler and the ice inside it survived the inferno.

Excessive? For most, maybe. However, there’s a beauty in its utilitarian luxury. And they have expanded this utilitarian luxury beyond coolers to products ranging from tumblers to soft-side coolers to bottle openers.

It’s not uncommon to find brands that succeed on a platform of relentless perfection of their product; Apple, Harley Davidson and Ferrari come to mind. Consumer trust in the quality of the product, be it durability or user-friendliness, forms a strong foundation for a relationship with your customers. Here, Austin-based YETI is no different, and more than ever, it’s necessary to be remarkable to achieve the business success you want.

Marketing to aspirations

YETI Cooler’s marketing focuses intently on the ideal outdoorsy lifestyle, and it has kept that focus throughout the product’s lifetime.

yeti

“The aspirational use and the actual use don’t always have to be the same thing,” said YETI’s VP of Marketing Corey Maynard. “We want our communication to stay as absolutely authentic to the hardcore user from the hardcore user as we possibly can.”

Influencers aren’t just Instagram yoga girls

From the beginning, YETI has marketed the cooler to people like the founders; passionate and respected outdoorsmen whose passions drove them to own the latest and greatest gear.  To do this, they hired influential guides and fisherman as brand ambassadors. They also sponsored programming on hunting and fishing TV stations. All of these early efforts earned the trust and recommendation of “influencers” and “prosumers.”

“Those commercials didn’t reach millions of people, but the people that they did reach were the most serious hunters and fisherman,” Maynard said. “So it would reach 100,000 or so hardcore hunters and fishermen who would be the person within their circle of friends who their buddies would ask about the latest gear.”

When they did land the sale, YETI made sure they could advertise that too. In the beginning, the company handed out stickers and hats with each cooler sale as a way to kick start conversations about the brand.

All of these factors created a “grassroots marketing goldmine,” where word-of-mouth made a lot of difference. That, combined with the aspirational messaging, creates a tribe where consumers feel included as a part of something bigger than themselves. So, as you go about marketing your business, consider these key concepts in your model. It could be just what you need to take your business to the next level.

This story was first published on May 6, 2016.

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