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2010 Edelman Trust Trends. 7 Destiny-Accelerators and YOU.

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Social Media Doesn’t Work As Well As Some Think.

For real estate agents, it’s even better or worse! Read on to find out who’s doomed and who’s charmed.

Is Social Media A Hope Hoax?

Ad Age Headline

In The Age Of Friending, Consumers Trust Their Friends Less

Edelman Study Shows That Only 25% of People Find Peers Credible, Flying in Face of Social-Media Wisdom

Who Do You Trust?

Ad Age Article pull quotes…

“If consumers stop believing what their friends and the “average Joes” appearing in testimonials say about a product or company, the implications could be significant not just for marketers but for the social networks and word-of-mouth platforms selling themselves as solutions to communicating in a jaded world.

Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter have allowed people to maintain larger circles of casual associates, which may be diluting the credibility of peer-to-peer networks. In short, the more acquaintances a person has, the harder it can be to trust him or her. Mr. Edelman believes the Facebook component has “absolutely” played a role in diluting trust levels.”

“Richard Edelman, President and CEO of Edelman, believes it’s a sign of the times — and the lesson for marketers is consumers have to see and hear things in five different places before they believe it.”

What’s Really Going On?

The 2010 Edleman Trust Barometer reports that people who trust their friends and peers as the source for trustworthy source of information about companies has swooned from 45% in 2008 to 25% in 2010.

Oddly, the publicly released report does not have the chart above, but, there is lots of interesting information in the report. It’s worth reading.

The survey reports that people like you and me, we’ve lost trust in just about everything; companies, politicians, banks, etc.  In times of trouble, we look for safety, leadership, certainty and expertise.

Here’s a quote from Mr. Edelman…

“The events of the last 18 months have scarred people,” Mr. Edelman said. “People have to see messages in different places and from different people. That means experts as well as peers or company employees. It’s a more-skeptical time. So if companies are looking at peer-to-peer marketing as another arrow in the quiver, that’s good, but they need to understand it’s not a single-source solution. It’s a piece of the solution”

“Consumers are a distrustful bunch in general — the credibility of TV dropped 23 points and radio news and newspapers were down 20 points between 2008 and 2010.”

I believe it’s true!  Recent cataclysms cause us to trust less in general.   Specifically, we trust companies, government and corporations less than ever.  But (Behold the Underlying Truth), I believe these troubled times make social media more important than ever, for real estate agents.  Here’s why, in the yellow box above Edelman shares…

“People who say their friends and peers are credible information sources about companies is down from 45%.”

I bolded two words, “about companies”.  The survey question and answer is about companies, not an individual REALTOR®.  I believe that citizens choose their real estate agent 180 degrees differently than choosing a company/corporation/institution.  As you know, in real estate, citizens generally choose the agent first, not the company.  That an agent is partnered with a brand name company enhances the odds of being chosen.  Company brand can be an important consideration, it’s rarely the defining factor in choosing the agent.  An agents personal brand is the most important factor, and, correctly using Social Media enhances an agent’s personal brand.

Plus, Social Media is not a Money-Getting-Machine, it’s a Destiny-Accelerator. If a person sucks, Social Media accelerates their downfall.  If a person is remarkable, Social Media will accelerate their success.  Since Social media accelerates your destiny, here’s…

Seven Destiny-Accelerators For The Charmed

  1. In troubled times, people clamor for expertise – use social media wisely to demonstrate your expertise.
  2. In troubled times, people need to see it a few times to believe it – use social media to share and show what other experts say and how it supports what you believe. Don’t TELL!  Do SHOW!  Use 3rd, 4th and 5th party proof.
  3. Long term success in real estate is dependent upon healthy relationships – for business, use social media primarily to stay in touch, share, conversate, educate and entertain.  Go slow on the selling.
  4. In troubled times life, trust is a differentiators – beam trustworthy behavior in all your social media efforts.
  5. Use Social Media to strengthen Top of Mind Awareness – Relevant, Remarkable, Repetition.
  6. Social Media accelerates the inevitable.
  7. Use Social Media to position yourself for what’s MOST IMPORTANT:   In-Person, On-Purpose Contact > Conversation > Discovery > Connection > Service & Help.

Here’s What Others Have To Say About The 2010 Edelman Trust Barometer.

Consumers Trust Friends Less? I don’t agree

Mark Twain & Benjamin Disraeli

Global Advertising: Consumers Trust Real Friends and Virtual Strangers the Most

A Pretty Cool Report from Razorfish

What Do You Think?

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

Thanks for reading.  Cheers.

Photo Credit.

Bonus: Edleman’s Digital Visions – 10 New Ideas For The New Decade (These may be new to some, perhaps you know this already.)

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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18 Comments

18 Comments

  1. David G

    February 15, 2010 at 1:31 pm

    Ever since the Walmart fake blog debacle I’ve been very weary of anything Edleman puts out in this space and this report is no exception; it really has my BS-filter on red alert. Why didn’t this chart appear in the original report? Maybe it’s because all of the trust metrics saw an equally major dip (i.e. undermining the insight they wanted to lead this news in the press.) It looks to me like Edleman is cherry-picking the juicy story when all the chart says is … “consumers trust companies less than they did 2 years ago.” Now that’s not nearly as big of a story … but there’s more here; the large and totally linear change in all of these measurements also calls the study into question for me. To me, it looks like they simply changed the way they asked or scored the trust question. Maybe Edleman should start measuring how much consumers trust their studies.

    • Ken Brand

      February 15, 2010 at 2:25 pm

      I’m with you David, I thought it was sorta lame. Ummmm, hear ye, hear ye, people are less trusting! No kidding. Thanks for sharing your take as well.
      Cheers.

  2. Karen Brewer

    February 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Rubbish. Social media is invaluable as a “keeping in touch” tool.What you do once a friend needs you is the key-where the rubber meets the road if you will. I could NEVER keep in touch with as many people as I do thru blogging, FB etc otherwise or have the opportunity to prove myself to them.
    So whats the converse in this cynical time….trust a stranger first? Nah……

  3. Ken Brand

    February 15, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    I’m with you Karen, I do believe it’s like oxygen for real estate agents, for companies and institutions, it’s a must, but not as powerful, not because Social Media doesn’t work, but because people connect with people not a logo. Cheers and thanks for sharing.

  4. Janie Coffey

    February 16, 2010 at 5:53 am

    Hi Ken – I think this is one of your masterpieces! Great info and I really like how you position SM not as a business MAKER but a relationship STRENGTHENER!

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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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