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Three Geniuses Walk Into a Bar…

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Redhead Piano bar 

Folks, I have compiled the first in a series of helpful discussions between three leaders in our industry…and moi – the court jester. This first installment includes the following illustrious crew: Brandie Young, Ken Brand and Paula Henry. They were directed to answer my questions in ten words or less. These respected business persons can teach you a lot about real estate and marketing. The other one is an idiot, but she can show you where all the bodies in Hollywood are buried.  This may have been an online discussion, but I want you to imagine all four of us sitting in our favorite pub discussing sales, real estate, and the economy. Ken, of course, is outnumbered, but as a result, he is enjoying all the attention. I am head down in a bowl of beer nuts…but you probably already knew that: 

GBB: What is the best way to get new clients?  PH: Internet leads BY: From current or past clients. KB: … Find fun people, mix-mingle-interact-converse-listen-share-ask questions-discover-solve problems. GBB: You broke the ten word rule Ken. Kindly put a dollar in the jar. Okay, so we were talking new clients – well, I do pretty well down at Hollywood and Vine. Oh wait, we’re talking real estate… In that case, blackmail is an effective tool. That’s what makes L.A. work – just ask the National Enquirer. Oh, puh-leeze, don’t pretend you never do that! 

GBB: What characteristic do you most like in a client? BY: Engaged, enthusiastic… KB: A funny, friendly good looking, whip smart, recently homeless person with a million dollars cash and no where to live, until we find them a home. GBB: Gimme another buck, Ken.  PH: Sense of humor GBB: Duh! Lakers Tickets! 

GBB: What characteristic do you least like in a client? BY: Nit-pick, whiny. PH: Micro managing a process/project they know nothing about.  Oh, and when they can’t pay. GBB: Why are you looking at me when you say that, Paula? Lani is paying for this.  KB: If people are disrespectful, I dump them. GBB:  I hate ankle monitoring bracelets. I’m just saying… 

GBB: What can an agent do to assist with an appraisal now that we have the new HVCC guidlines? BY: Make certain the appraiser actually knows the area. PH: Not sure anyone has this figured out. GBB: I concur. Another chili in your Bloody Mary, Brandie?  KB: We provide our appraisers with an appraisal package.  Updated comps and a laundry list of any and all improvements… GBB: If the appraiser is a woman, I bring a Prada bag full of chocolates. If it’s a guy, I bring Pamela Anderson

GBB: What is your opinion of Real Estate reality shows? KB: They’re stupid.  Put me in one, I’d sell circles around those clowns.  Actually, I find some of the negotiating stuff interesting. GBB: Ken, for a genius, you sure can’t count. But that’s okay, I’m an idiot savant myself. Gimme another buck. PH:  [Reality Shows] are so not real. BY: [Reality Shows] crack me up!  That one in LA is so far out of reality, it’s hysterical.  GBB: Actually, all of L.A. is beyond reality, dahling. I was on “Flip That House,” and all I got out of it was a stalker. Matter of fact, he looked a lot like you, Ken. Uncanny resemblance… I’m packing pepper spray, Ken! 

GBB: What is your opinion of bus bench ads? BY: We don’t really have buses in my area.  I think this is community specific. PH: Only Teresa Boardman’s virtual bus bench is worth the price. I don’t want anyone sitting on me.  GBB: I’m confused. Who’s Teresa Boardman? Did I miss something when I was in the rest room? Bench ads to you, Ken.  KB:  Generally speaking, “Lame.” Unless it’s an enormous picture of me and someone else paid for it. GBB: Love ‘em! When someone carves gang signs in my paper forehead I consider it a sign of deep affection. Ken, you REALLY look familiar… Is that a restraining order in your pocket or are you just happy to see me? 

GBB: What do you like best about your job? BY: I don’t work for a__holes any longer.  I get to pick and choose with whom I work and I can fire clients when our agency isn’t a good fit. GBB: You said a bad word, Brandie. Put a dollar in the jar. No, I’ll hold the jar. Let go, dangit – the cash is mine! KB: Being the boss of my self.  Picking and choosing who I work with.  My raise is effective as soon as I am. GBB: That’s clever, Ken. You really should consider a bus bench ad.  PH: No two days are alike.  Getting to the closing table; not because I get paid, but the sense of accomplishment. GBB: I like happy hour. No, Ken, I don’t work here, and stop bogarting the peanuts! Who’s buying the next round? 

GBB: What is your most successful means of advertising? BY: I am very interested to see what people say here.  Would love to see a mix of very small town/community answers vs. others. GBB: You are a regular brain trust, Brandie. Will you take my brokers’ exam for me please?  PH: Internet GBB: Paula, I love how you are both brilliant AND succinct. You are the only one who followed the ten word rule. …Paula? Somebody wake her up so she can tip the waitress.  KB: Traditional advertising is like earning a fast nickel.  Personal relationship building, on-purpose and in-person contact is a slow dollar.  Go for the dollar. GBB: Nice. I have business card with a hologram of myself. I tell people I am virtually there whenever they need me. Also, bad publicity is a real pay-off in my town. Hence my desire to jump up on this table and start dancing. 

GBB: What subjects other than real estate would be advisable for prospective agents to study? KB:  How to write and speak persuasively.  Social Media marketing and relationship building strategies.  How to live in the now… GBB: Right! Where were we? PH: How to interpret data as it applies to the likelihood an area will thrive.  BY: Appraisal GBB: Man, I’m outta my league here – I was going to say “animal husbandry.” Why are you all taking away my car keys? 

GBB: What will your real estate tombstone say? KB: Cheers Friends.  It was FUN.  I’ll be back. GBB: Brandie? Brandie? (Brandie didn’t answer this one.) Did we offend her? Don’t look at me, Ken. It was your idea to put half a jar of chilies in her Bloody Mary. Maybe she’ll forgive us before our next get together. So, what will your real estate tombstone say, Paula? PH: She sold her last home. GBB: I like that. I guess mine will say, uh…’Good till the last drop?’ No, no…make that, ‘This escrow closed on time.’ No, No, I don’t like that one. How ‘bout “Death by Hollywood?” Now back to you, Ken…you look strangely familiar – even with that party umbrella tucked behind your ear.… 

Thanks to my colleagues for their valuable input and their willingness to participate in the fun. Ken Brand, a veteran in real estate, is the Real Estate Sales Manager of Prudential Gary Green Realtors  in Woodlands, Texas. Paul Henry is the dynamo leader of the top notch Henry Group at Red Door Real Estate in Indianapolis. Brandie Young is a San Francisco marketing guru, trail blazer and founder of consulting firm MarketingTBD. Host Gwen Banta is the L.A. based realtor who is only allowed out of Sunnyside Home for the Demented on weekends and holidays. (Lani, did you pay our bar bill yet?)

I wear several hats: My mink fedora real estate hat belongs to Sotheby’s International Realty on the world famous Sunset Strip. I’M not world famous, but I've garnered a few Top Producer credits along the way. I also wear a coonskin writer's cap with an arrow through it, having written a few novels and screenplays and scored a few awards there, too. (The arrow was from a tasteless critic.) My sequined turban is my thespian hat for my roles on stage, and in film and television, Dahling. You can check me out in all my infamy at LinkedIn, LAhomesite.com, SherlockOfHomes, IMDB or you can shoot arrows at my head via email. I can take it.

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Business Marketing

How Nestle’s emotional branding converted a nation into coffee drinkers

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Nestle hired a psychoanalyst to convert a nation to coffee with long term, science backed strategies connected to why we like what we like.

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nestle japan coffee

When Nestle first attempted to market coffee in Japan in the 1970s, it did not go well. Though their products tested well with audiences and was priced affordably, sales never took off. Nestle was committed to break into the profitable Japanese market and embarked on research that would inform an innovative new strategy going forward.

Nestle hired French social psychologist, Dr. Clotaire Rapaille, who specialized in the emotional bonds people form with objects. Dr. Rapaille conducted various experiments with participant groups to better understand why people were not buying coffee in the Japanese market. In one such experiment, Dr. Rapaille played calming music while participants lay on the ground. He asked them to talk through early childhood memories. He then asked participants to share experiences and emotions they associated with various products from their childhoods.

Participants did so, except when it came to coffee. Most had no memories of coffee and therefore no emotional bond to it. Japan had long been a tea drinking society, very few sections of society included coffee drinkers. Sales reflected the lack of cultural familiarity with coffee; it was not part of Japanese life. This understanding from Dr. Rapaille’s research sparked a bold marketing move with a long-term strategy in mind.

Nestle created coffee-flavored chocolate and marketed them to children. Introducing the flavor of coffee to Japanese youth while at an early age would not only imprint the flavor profile on them, but they would associate the flavor with positive emotions. Nestle tested, manufactured, and sold their coffee-flavored chocolate in Japan. They were immediately popular with youth and eventually with their curious parents who wanted to give the flavor a try.

A reentry into the coffee market by Nestle years later was met with a different response than the first attempt. The kids that grew up with coffee-flavored candies were now a part of the workforce and ready to become coffee drinkers. Today, Nestle imports nearly 500 million tons of coffee per year.

What began with a failed attempt at entering the coffee market resulted in a long-term strategy that proved that strong emotional bonds with customers can build strong sales.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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work week rush

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and…hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care…that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well…probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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Business Marketing

Snapchat’s study reveals our growing reliance on video

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Snapchat released a report that shows some useful insights for future video content creation.

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Snapchat's video

Snapchat is taking a break from restoring people’s streaks to publish a report on mobile video access; according to Social Media Today, the report holds potentially vital information about how customers use their mobile devices to view content.

And–surprise, surprise–it turns out we’re using our phones to consume a lot more media than we did six years ago.

The obvious takeaways from this study are listed all over the place, and not even necessarily courtesy of Snapchat. People are using their phones substantially more often than they have in the past five years, and with everyone staying home, it’s reasonable to expect more engagement and more overall screen time.

However, there are a couple of insights that stand out from Snapchat’s study.

Firstly, the “Stories” feature that you see just about everywhere now is considered one of the most popular–and, thus, most lucrative–forms of video content. 82 percent of Snapchat users in the study said that they watched at least one Snapchat Story every day, with the majority of stories being under ten minutes.

This is a stark contrast to the 52 percent of those polled who said they watched a TV show each day and the 49 percent who said they consumed some “premium” style of short-form video (e.g., YouTube). You’ll notice that this flies in the face of some schools of thought regarding content creation on larger platforms like YouTube or Instagram.

Equally as important is Snapchat’s “personal” factor, which is the intimate, one-on-one-ish atmosphere cultivated by Snapchat features. Per Snapchat’s report, this is the prime component in helping an engaging video achieve the other two pillars of success: making it relatable and worthy of sharing.

Those three pillars–being personal, relatable, and share-worthy–are the components of any successful “short-form” video, Snapchat says.

Snapchat also reported that of the users polled, the majority claimed Snapchat made them feel more connected to their fellow users than comparable social media sites (e.g., Instagram or Facebook). Perhaps unsurprisingly, the next-closest social media platform vis-a-vis interpersonal connection was TikTok–something for which you can probably see the nexus to Snapchat.

We know phone use is increasing, and we know that distanced forms of social expression were popular even before a pandemic floored the world; however, this report demonstrates a paradigm shift in content creation that you’d have to be nuts not to check out for yourself.

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