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Are You Bright, Focused and Distinctive? Or Delusional? Take this Scrape-The-Label test and find out for yourself.

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Generic Sucks In Real EstateIt’s important EVERYTHING…

How people perceive us…

Are we trusted?

Are we interesting?

Are we competent?

Are we attractive?

Are we memorable?

Are we referable?

Will we attract and hold attention?

Are we worth our price?

We’re in the business of being chosen.  Chosen to manage the successful sale or purchase of real estate and the everything in-between details.  In our markets, there are hundreds of choices, you and I are but one of them.

73% of  our competition is no competition, their quest for attention, relevance and selection in chaotic, haphazard and sporadic.  27% of our competition is most likely, bright, focused and uniquely distinctive.

Bright. Focused. Distinctive.

Bright:  The opposite of dull and boring.  Interesting.  Engaging.  Memorable.  Trustworthy.  Candid.  Surprising.  Generous.

Focused: Consistent in quality.  Consistent in design.  Consistent in intent.  Consistent in delivery.  Consistent in response and reliability.  Consistent in communication.  Consistent in execution.  Consistent in follow through and follow up. Consistently reinventing and evolving.

Distinctive: A combination of bright and focused, plus, unique in design, interaction, commitment, communication and delivery.

Intellectually, I believe we all understand the importance of creating and delivering Bright, Focused and Distinctive services and solutions. I believe that you and I press forward, daily, in our quest to do so.  I’m certain that how you and I might define and deliver Bright, Focused and Distinctive would vary, the more important question is, how do civilians define it and will others know it when they see it?  Would they know it was us if our labels and branding wrappers were scraped away?

To answer the questions, we can test ourselves. We can…

Take The Scrape-The-Label Test – If They Didn’t Know It Was You, Would They Know It Was You?

This article by Christopher S. Penn inspired this post.  Here’s a snippet…

Scrape off the labels, names, and brands in your marketing collateral and see if you can tell if the company/product/service is still unquestionably you, or if it could be anyone at all – maybe not even in your industry.

For me, the example that first pops into my pin-head is Apple.  Have you ever unpackaged an Apple product?  When I open the packaging for any Apple product, if the Apple logos were removed and only focusing on the clean, crisp and artful surprise of the packaging, I would know it’s an Apple package, not a Dell, or Toshiba or a Sony.  It’s the same thing with the Apple website. When I see other websites with similar features, design, layout, etc., I always think, “they are copying the Apple style”.  Apple is Bright, Focused and Distinctive.

To discern if we are truly, Bright, Focused and Distinctive, imagine that we’ve removed our logo’s, our smiley glamour shots and our contact information from all that we share, promote and broadcast.  If we did that, would our competitors, clients, friends, suspects and prospects know WE created what they are seeing, hearing, touching, tasting and experiencing?  Or, gulp, would our sharing, promoting and broadcasting be lost in a brown cesspool of average, ordinary, forgettable?

For example, if we removed our logos and personal identity…

  1. When buyers and  showing agents view our listings, would they know it was one of ours by how it was priced, by the artfully staged interior, the snappy quality and rich content of our interior marketing materials?
  2. When buyers, sellers, agents and prospects view our listings on-line, (remember, all identifying information is removed) would they recognize the listing as ours by the crisp quality of our photos, the engaging and persuasive copy and the wealth of information provided?
  3. Would our blog posts be identified and attributed to us by the style (voice), content and tone of our writing?
  4. Is our on and off the web advertising and marketing recognizable and memorable by the colors, the message, the design, layout and media chosen?
  5. On Facebook, Twitter, etc., if our status updates were broadcast naked and without our avatars, would our tribe know it was us?
  6. If 10 of our emails were included in a collection of 50, and all author identities were hidden, would our emails be distinguishable from the other 40?
  7. If the tone, content, confidence, courteous-delivery and on-timeliness of our conversations were heard among others, absent voice recognition, let’s say all the conversations were modulated to sound the same, would people we converse with be able to identify ours as unique from our competitors.
  8. If  one of our recently closed buyers was describing their home buying experience to a friend and didn’t reveal our name in the telling, and their friend had bought a home from us 3 months ago, would the listener recognize the real estate agent in the story as us?
  9. If someone googled us, would our absence be surprising or expected?  Would our presence be bright and reassuring?

I’d bet my on-order iPad, that if you and I consistently run our sharing, communication, promotion, presentation and broadcast through the Scrape-The-Label Test and made appropriate enhancements, we’d electrify our business.

When should we start?

Cheers, thanks for reading.

PS.  Warning!

I remind myself that it’s possible to remove all the labels and have people recognize your communication, sharing, promotion and broadcasting as crap.  This of course would be worse than being invisible.  Why?  Because people rarely talk about, hire or refer the invisible, average and ordinary, they love to talk trash and torpedo the lame, rude, disappointing and dangerous.

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. Jamey Prezzi

    March 22, 2010 at 9:50 am

    Good post. I need to read this a few times. I love this:

    “Bright. Focused. Distinctive.”

    • Ken Brand

      March 22, 2010 at 10:09 am

      It’s sorta detailed and takes some quite attention to digest it all. But if you do, and act on it, YES, if you aren’t already, you will be Bright, Focused and Distinctive. Thanks for the feedback. Cheers.

  2. Patrick

    March 22, 2010 at 10:11 am

    WOW…Ken, great post! You clearly put a ton of thought into this article! Between trying to digest the Health Care Reform Bill and this post, I have my plate full today!

    • Ken Brand

      March 22, 2010 at 1:37 pm

      War and Peace, The Health Care Bill and this “If They Didn’t Know It Was You, Would They Know It’s You” blog post….what’s the common denominator? Details and aspirations. Thanks for taking the time, hope it’s useful. Thanks for your comment Patrick. Cheers.

  3. Erion Shehaj

    March 22, 2010 at 10:14 pm

    This was a very distinctively “Ken-Brand brilliant” answer to “Why you?”

    > We’re in the business of being chosen.

    That’s gold, my friend. Thank you!

    E

  4. Kevin Baker

    March 27, 2010 at 9:35 pm

    Another brilliant post Ken!!! definitly is meant to get you thinking about yourself. Keep up the great work.

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Business Marketing

Is Easy Advocacy the tool your business needs for ad campaign reach?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Product claims to make employee advocacy easier than ever with a tool that’s designed to enlist employees to share campaign content online.

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easy advocacy welcome page

Ever wished you could get all of your employees in on your campaigns, enlisting them all to help make your digital content go “viral”?

No? To be honest, me either – at least not until I learned about a new program called Easy Advocacy, created by a company called Agora Pulse.

Easy Advocacy is a productivity and marketing tool geared towards harnessing the power of larger internal groups (employees) in order to make content sharing (campaigns, social media posts, etc.) as easy as possible. The product is listed on Product Hunt, which is essentially a tech geek’s paradise for new and interesting technology. This week, on February 19th, Easy Advocacy was listed as the #1 product of the day.

The website boasts features like:

• Quick campaign setups
• Making content easier to share
• Knowing the reach of your shares

In addition to making it easier for employers to have their employees share content, the platform also offers basic analytics pertaining to things like number of shares and website visits. Employers can also identify their top advocates through a leaderboard.

Their website’s description of the toolset says that the tool “dispels the hassle of the usual employee advocacy complaints and makes the process of sharing content with employees, who then share on their social channels, easy peasy.”
One way it does this is by emailing your employees the exact instructions and copy the company would like them to share, making it somewhat automated.

Now, while this all seems great, my biggest concern is who their market truly is. Are they going after small teams? Probably not as having a team of only 5 people sharing a campaign would be nearly fruitless – unless you happen to have a major social media influencer under your employment.

If they go after larger companies, like Apple, for example, I can see this tool being helpful. However, it’s a little bit of a double-edged sword. Larger companies typically are beyond the point of needing word-of-mouth campaigns. Let’s use Apple as an example here, too. They’ve been around for years, and according to Statista, 45.3% of smart phone owners in the U.S. go with Apple iPhones. Given this, and the fact that everyone already knows what an iPhone is (unless you live under a rock…), I really can’t see much need for a tool like Easy Advocacy for such a large company.

So, where does that leave the company? Only time will tell. My first bit of advice to the company is that the name definitely needs work. The name “Easy Advocacy” implies that there’s some kind of advocacy happening for employees, when in reality, this platform is meant to help employers. But given my points above, I think they need to think about their model some more and maybe make this tool something that’s more robust that companies of all sizes can use.

Full disclosure, this does not mean it’s not worth trying out. Give it a shot and let us know what you think.

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Business Marketing

The Body Shop’s new policy is first come, first employed

(BUSINESS MARKETING) An issue that has been on a lot of peoples minds recently is fair hiring standards, be from sex, race, or age discrimination to former prisoners.

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The body shop hires prisoners

Anyone who has tried to get a job in the last decade can tell you that hiring is getting near dystopian. Everyone has heard jokes about needing 5 years of experience for an entry level job or the combined skillset of 3 positions to get one job. Things have gotten to the point where even some large companies are wondering if maybe hiring (and getting hired) shouldn’t be so complicated?

The Body Shop is making a radical change in the way they hire their retail employees this summer. They will be hiring on a first-come first-serve basis. Employees must meet three criteria to apply, but beyond that it’s open season – or “open hiring” as they are calling it.

1. Must be authorized to work in the U.S.
2. Can lift over 50lbs
3. Can stand for 8 hours

The company will not be performing drug tests or background checks for this “open hiring” round. The goal is to remove some of the barriers to entry for people seeking employment. This move will be hugely beneficial to the formerly incarcerated and people who have minor offenses on their record.

The Body Shop’s U.S. GM, Andrea Blieden, said, “When you give people access to something that they’re struggling to find, they’re very committed to working hard and keeping it.”

This isn’t the first time The Body Shop has tested out this hiring strategy. In December 2019, the company ran a pilot program at their distribution center. According to them, their employee turnover rate dropped from 43% to 16% and productivity improved.

This change could be equally beneficial to both employers and employees. According to PrisonPolicy.org, formerly incarcerated people are unemployed at a rate of 27%. To put that in perspective, that is higher than the overall national average during the Great Depression.

When established brands make big moves, people pay attention. If they continue to report success, The Body Shop’s hiring practices could be used as a case study for other businesses looking to shake up their hiring process. Perhaps in a few years, this type of hiring could become more common place among retailers.

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Business Marketing

Stay ahead by decluttering your Instagram accounts with this new feature

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Get a head start on your spring cleaning with Instagram’s newest feature. It may become your favorite way to views others accounts.

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instagram accounts

In a plot twist you weren’t expecting this week, Instagram is looking to make your life a little easier. Their newest app update includes a feature that groups accounts you follow into curated lists such as most and least interacted with or earliest followed to latest.

If you’ve ever looked at the number of people you follow on Instagram and wondered, “who the heck are these people?” then this update will make your heart sing. Instagram has been around for 10 years now, so it’s understandable that some of our follower lists have gotten a little out of control. Your friends and interests shift over time and it can be difficult to find time to actively curate your social media accounts.

Working with this new feature is simple. To access it just head on over to your Instagram profile and click “Following.” You should see a couple of categories above the list of accounts you follow. As an added bonus, you can also change the sort feature on your follower list. It can be set to show oldest accounts followed first or latest accounts firsts.

instagram accounts

For entrepreneurs and freelancers who don’t have the luxury of a full social media team (or any team at all) small features like this can be a game changer. If this feature sparks you to finally clean up your Instagram, here are a few questions to ask yourself when you’re trying to decide who to keep and who to unfollow.

Why did you originally follow this account?

Does this account still serve your business interests?

What was your main purpose behind following this account? As a business owner you might follow an account on Instagram for any number of strategic reasons. Perhaps this account is a fellow business owner in your area, but they’ve since closed their doors. Chances are you’ll find more than one of these cases in your least interacted with group.

Were you looking for business advice or inspiration? When you’re just starting out with your business, you might have followed a few accounts that aimed to give advice to new business owners. Well, if you’ve been doing this for a few years, you probably already know the basic advice these types of accounts are pushing. It’s time to move on.

Do you know this account IRL? Maybe your business has moved locations or changed niche in the last few years. You might have made some great connections with fellow business owners back in the day, but you may no longer run in the same circles. If you know the person who runs the account IRL and you still want to stay connected there are two options. You can either go follow them on your personal account or you can continue following, but mute the account so it doesn’t clog up your Instagram feed.

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