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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

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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