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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

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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Business Marketing

A personalized daily digital marketing checklist

(MARKETING NEWS) For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an digital marketing strategy, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit. This app can help.

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clearpath digital marketing

There is no doubt that starting your own business can be overwhelming. Along with promoting your business at events, meetings and in person, digital marketing strategies play a key role in the success of a company. For all businesses, it is not only essential to develop an online presence, but also necessary to utilize it in order to gain customers, and ultimately make a larger profit.

Simply creating a website and Facebook page for your business is not enough. However, software tools can help simplify digital marketing. ClearPath is a tool that organizes and creates tasks to optimize your online marketing. By creating to-do lists for you based on your online marketing strategy, you can focus on the areas of marketing that improve your business, all the while receiving useful tips and advice.

Using ClearPath is pretty straightforward and only requires one prerequisite. Before beginning, you must have a website.

If you are already lost, don’t panic. ClearPath can help you develop an online presence. Once your website is linked up, you get to choose the marketing channels that you would like to focus on. These include Search Engine Optimization (SEO), email, social, content, analytics, local, pay-per-click (PPC) and Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). Again, if you are lost, ClearPath is there to help you strategize.

After ClearPath analyzes your site, they start sending you customized tasks based they believe can improve your online marketing.

As you finish each task, you can simply check it off and it will disappear. New tasks will appear each day, and some may even repeat as they need to be updated.

Whether you are well-versed in digital marketing or not, staying updated with the newest ways to optimize your business online is a constant struggle. Tools like ClearPath give people a place to start. Although I don’t think it can supplement an active and experienced digital marketer, it is a tool that can help small businesses that cannot afford to add to their team yet. At the end of the day, it aims to save you time. And since time is money, your business will hopefully be more profitable.

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