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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

Accessibility to your website could make or break your brand

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Some companies are making sure their websites have more accessibility, and are creating design tools that help simplify the process for other designers.

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accessibility design

In August, The American Genius reported that Domino’s Pizza had petitioned the Supreme Court to hear a case it had lost in the Ninth Circuit Court, in which the court ruled that the pizza chain was required to improve the accessibility on their website to blind and visually impaired users.

Last month, SCOTUS declined to hear the case, maintaining the precedent that the standards set forth by the American Disabilities Act (ADA) apply not only to brick-and-mortar business locations, but also to websites.

The decision was a major win for disability rights advocates, who rightly pointed out that in the modern, internet-based age, being unable to access the same websites and apps that sighted people use would be a major impediment for people who are blind or visually impaired. Said Christopher Danielson of the National Federation of the Blind, “If businesses are allowed to say, ‘We do not have to make our websites accessible to blind people,’ that would be shutting blind people out of the economy in the 21st century.”

Although legislators have yet to set legal standards for website accessibility, the Domino’s case makes it clear that it’s time for businesses to start strategizing about making their websites accessible to all users.

Many companies worry that revamping websites for accessibility will be too costly, too difficult, or just too confusing given the lack of legal standards. However, some forward-thinking companies are going out of their way to not only make their websites more accessible, but to create design tools that could help simplify the process for other designers.

A great example is Stripe.

If you have an online business, you may already be using Stripe to receive payments. Designers Daryl Koopersmith and Wilson Miner take to the Stripe blog to detail their quest to find the perfect and most accessible color palette for Stripe products and sites.

Color plays into accessibility for visually impaired users because certain color contrasts are easier to see than others. But making Stripe more accessible wasn’t as simple as just picking paint swatches. Stripe wanted to increase accessibility while also staying true to the colors already associated with their brand.

Our perception of color is quite subjective; we often instinctively have strong opinions about which colors go well together and which clash. To make matters even more complicated, existing color models can be confusing because there is often a difference between how a computer mathematically categorizes a color and how our eyes perceive them.

Koopersmith and Miner give the example that if the human eye compares a blue and a yellow that have the same mathematical “lightness,” we will still perceive the yellow as the lighter color.

To achieve their goal, Koopersmith and Miner created new software that would adjust colors based on human perception and would generate “real-time feedback about accessibility.” In this way, the designers were able to adjust Stripe’s pre-existing brand colors to increase accessibility without losing the vibrancy and character of the original colors.

Not every company can afford to hire innovative designers like Koopersmith and Miner to create new tools every time there is an accessibility challenge. But Stripe’s project shows gives us reason to be optimistic that improving accessibility will become steadily more … well … accessible!

Disabilities rights advocates and designers can work synergistically to set standards for accessibility and create comprehensive tools to achieve those standards. In our highly visual age, it’s important to ensure that no one is left behind because of a visual impairment.

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Business Marketing

10 inspirational print brochure examples

We believe that print is nowhere near dead, it is just changing as things go digital, and only the best stand out.

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Below are 10 inspirational print brochure examples that show print is not only alive and kicking, but when infused with a bit of creativity, can make an enormous impression. Gone are the days of horrid clip art and walls of text that overwhelm. Clean typography and design are the name of the game, and added flair can go a long way. Here are some ideas to get you started, click any of the images below to see more photos of each campaign and to dig deeper:

Craft Beer Field Guide

With this fold up brochure guiding Madison’s Craft Beer Week attendees, a vintage vibe is created through color and typography choices, with an emphasis on function and ease of reading. The guide is so enchanting, it is likely that most attendees kept the brochures, a dream for any designer or marketing team!

Italian Loft Brochure

In this Italian Loft Brochure, a classic Tiffany & Co styled blue and chocolate brown highlight the features of this luxury loft community, and is presented in a beautiful, heavyweight cardstock cover that keeps all additional papers that come along with tours. It’s more than just the brochure’s design, it’s the presentation, simplicity, and choice of materials that is eye catching about this print brochure.

Campaign for Freedom

Expressing the dire situation in North Korea, this campaign brochure uses simple to digest infographics and keeps to four colors – black, white, red, and yellow. It is effective for sticking to the point and using bold graphics.

Gourmet Natural Foods

Retailers often go overboard either by offering too many walls of words and facts, or by trying to be clever. Instead, this company’s design focuses on the simple ingredients that goes along with their streamlined, organic-looking containers. This brochure makes you want to go start eating hippie food, even if you’re a cow eater, just because it’s so aesthetically pleasing!

Graphic Designer Portfolio

When a seasoned graphic designer shows off, you can be sure that their presentation will never be an aged headshot of them with bullet points of their accomplishments. No, graphic designers show instead of tell, as below:

Typefamily Brochure

When introducing a typefamily to the world, a designer can choose to slap up a website, or go the traditional, and more elegant route of printing a type booklet explaining the type and giving buyers of the typefamily (font) a closer look at what they are buying. Brilliant.

Yahoo! Brochure

Yahoo’s brochure is a reminder that simple design elements can go a long way – a folding tab, white space, ditching clip art, and keeping consistency between pages all work in harmony to create a quality print brochure.

Antique News Format

In a very clever move, this commercial and residential space is being sold in the form of a large, folding antique- looking newspaper, complete with appropriate fonts and an antique layout, with surprisingly sharp and never cheesy images.

Architect’s Timeline and Story

Promoting an architect’s impressive timeline and story, this print campaign shows the power of red, black and white, making a dramatic impression at a quick glance. Using high quality photography and traditional movie poster tricks, the campaign is stunning.

Our Favorite: Lennar’s Old School Fun

Lennar’s new “Spencer’s Crossing” community brochures got a touch of old school, making the brochure a game that anyone can play. It’s more than a gimmick, it is consistent with their collateral that appeals to the youthful nature of the product and area.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?

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blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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