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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

Ghost Reply has us asking: Should you shame a recruiter who ghosted you?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Ghost Reply will send an anonymous “kind reminder” to recruiters who ghost job candidates, but is the sweet taste of temporary catharsis worth it?

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Stressed woman at a laptop with hands on head, considering if she should send a Ghost Reply.

People hate to get “ghosted” in any situation, personal or professional. But for job seekers who may already be struggling with self-esteem, it can be particularly devastating. Ghost Reply is a new online service that will help you compose and send an email nudge to the ghoster, sending a “kind reminder” telling them how unprofessional it is to leave someone hanging like that.

Ghost Reply wants to help you reach catharsis in all of this stressful mess of finding a job. Almost all of the problems and feelings are compounded by this confounded pandemic that has decimated areas of the workforce and taken jobs and threatened people’s financial security. It is understandable to want to lash out at those in power, and sending a Ghost Reply email to the recruiter or HR person may make you feel better in the short term.

In the long run, though, will it solve anything? Ghost Reply suggests it may make the HR person or recruiter reevaluate their hiring processes, indicating this type of email may help them see the error of their ways and start replying to all potential candidates. If it helps them reassess and be more considerate in the future and helps you find closure in the application/interview process, that would be the ideal outcome on all fronts. It is not likely this will happen, though.

The Ghost Reply sample email has the subject line “You have a message from a candidate!” Then it begins, “Hi, (name), You’re receiving this email because a past candidate feels like you ghosted them unfairly.” It then has a space for said candidate to add on any personal notes regarding the recruiter or process while remaining anonymous.

I get it. It’s upsetting to have someone disappear after you’ve spent time and energy applying, possibly even interviewing, only to hear nothing but crickets back from the recruiter or HR person you interacted with. It’s happened to me more than once, and it’s no bueno. We all want to be seen. We all want to be valued. Ghosting is hurtful. The frustration and disappointment, even anger, that you feel is certainly relatable. According to several sources, being ghosted after applying for a job is one of the top complaints from job seekers on the market today.

Will an anonymous, passive-aggressive email achieve your end? Will the chastened company representative suddenly have a lightbulb go off over their heads, creating a wave of change in company policy? I don’t see it. The first sentence of the sample email, in fact, is not going to be well received by HR.

When you start talking about what’s “unfair,” most HR people will tune out immediately. That kind of language in itself is unprofessional and is a red flag to many people. Once you work at a company and know its culture and have built relationships, then, maybe, just maybe, can you start talking about your work-related feelings. I believe in talking about our feelings, but rarely is a work scenario the best place to do so (I speak from experience). Calling it unprofessional is better, less about you and more about the other person’s behavior.

However, it’s unclear how productive Ghost Reply actually is. Or how anonymous, frankly. By process of deduction, the recipient of the email may be able to figure out who sent it, if it even makes it through the company’s spam filters. Even if they cannot pinpoint the exact person, it may cast doubts on several applicants or leave a bad taste in the recruiter’s mouth. It sounds like sour grapes, which is never a good thing.

There may be any number of reasons you didn’t get the job offer or interview, and they may or may not have something to do with you. Recruiters answer your burning questions, including why you may have been ghosted in this recent article in The American Genius.

Ultimately, you will never know why they ghosted you. If it makes you feel better or at least see the issue from both sides, the amount of job candidates ghosting recruiters after applying and even interviewing is equally high. Some people simply either have awful time management skills or awful manners, and at the end of the day, there’s not much you can do about that.

Focus on your own survival while job hunting, instead of these disappointing moments or the person who ghosts you. It will serve you better in the long run than some anonymous revenge email. There are other ways to deal with your frustration and anger when you do get ghosted, though. Try the classic punching your pillow. Try taking a walk around the block. If it helps to put your frustration into words, and it very well may, then do so. Write it on a piece of paper, then burn it. Or type it all in an email and delete it. For your own sake, do NOT put their email address in the “To” line, lest you accidentally hit “Send.”

The sooner you can let it go, the sooner you can move on to finding a better job fit for you.

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Business Marketing

Free shipping is everywhere… how can small businesses keep up?

[BUSINESS MARKETING] Would you rather pay less but still pay for shipping, or pay more with free shipping? They may cost the same, but one appeals more than the other.

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Person standing over pacakge, sealing with masking tape.

When it comes to competing with huge corporations like Amazon, there are plenty of hurdles that smaller businesses have to cross. Corporations can (and do) undercut the competition, not to mention garner a much larger marketing reach than most small businesses could ever dream of achieving. But this time, we want to focus on something that most people have probably chosen recently: Free shipping.

How important is free shipping to consumers? Well, in a 2018 survey, Internet Retailer discovered that over 50% of respondents said that free shipping was the most important part of online shopping. In fact, when given a choice between fast or costless shipping, a whopping 88% of those surveyed chose the latter option.

Part of this has to do with the fact that shipping costs are often perceived as additional fees, not unlike taxes or a processing fee. In fact, according to Ravi Dhar, director of Yale’s Center for Customer Insights, if it’s between a discounted item with a shipping fee or a marked up item with free shipping, individuals are more likely to choose the latter – even if both options cost exactly the same amount.

If you’re interested in learning more, Dhar refers to the economic principle of “pain of paying,” but the short answer is simply that humans are weird.

So, how do you recapture the business of an audience that’s obsessed with free shipping?

The knee jerk reaction is to simply provide better products that the competition. And sure, that works… to some extent. Unfortunately, in a world where algorithms can have a large effect on business, making quality products might not always cut it. For instance, Etsy recently implemented a change in algorithm to prioritize sellers that offer free shipping.

Another solution is to eat the costs and offer free shipping, but unless that creates a massive increase in products sold, you’re going to end up with lower profits. This might work if it’s between lower profits and none, but it’s certainly not ideal. That’s why many sellers have started to include shipping prices in the product’s overall price – instead of a $20 necklace with $5 shipping, a seller would offer a $25 necklace with free shipping.

This is a tactic that the big businesses use and it works. If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em, right?

That said, not everyone can join in. Maybe, for instance, a product is too big to reasonably merge shipping and product prices. If, for whatever reason, you can’t join in, it’s also worth finding a niche audience and pushing a marketing campaign. What do you offer that might be more attractive than the alluring free shipping? Are you eco-friendly? Do you provide handmade goods? Whatever it is that makes your business special, capitalize on it.

Finally, if you’re feeling down about the free shipping predicament, remember that corporations have access to other tricks. Amazon’s “free” prime shipping comes at an annual cost. Wal-Mart can take a hit when item pricing doesn’t work out. Even if your business isn’t doing as well as you hoped, take heart: You’re facing giants.

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Business Marketing

How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Working more for that paycheck, more hours each week, on the weekends, on holidays can actually hurt productivity. So don’t do that, stay efficient.

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Clock pointed to 5:50 on a plain white wall, well tracked during the week.

Social media is always flooded with promises to get in shape, eat healthier and… hustle?

In hustle culture, it seems as though there’s no such thing as too much work. Nights, weekends and holidays are really just more time to be pushing towards your dreams and hobbies are just side hustles waiting to be monetized. Plus, with freelancing on the rise, there really is nothing stopping someone from making the most out of their 24 hours.

Hustle culture will have you believe that a full-time job isn’t enough. Is that true?

Although it’s a bit outdated, Gallup’s 2014 report on full-time US workers gives us an alarming glimpse into the effects of the hustle. For starters, 50% of full-time workers reported working over 40 hours a week – in fact, the average weekly hours for salaried employees was up to 49 hours.

So, what’s the deal with 40 hours anyway? The 40 hour work-week actually started with labor rights activists in the 1800s pushing for an 8 hour workday. In 1817, Robert Owen, a Welsh activist, reasoned this workday provided: “eight hours labor, eight hours recreation, eight hours rest.”

If you do the math, that’s a whopping 66% of the day devoted to personal needs, rather than labor!

Of course, it’s only natural to be skeptical of logic from two centuries ago coloring the way we do business in the 21st century. For starters, there’s plenty of labor to be done outside of the labor you’re paid to do. Meal prep, house cleaning, child care… that’s all work that needs to be done. It’s also all work that some of your favorite influencers are paying to get done while they pursue the “hustle.” For the average human, that would all be additional work to fall in the ‘recreation’ category.

But I digress. Is 40 hours a week really enough in the modern age? After all, average hours in the United States have increased.

Well… probably not. In fact, when hours are reduced (France, for instance, limited maximum hours to 35 hours a week, instead of 40), workers are not only more likely to be healthier and happier, but more efficient and less likely to miss work!

So, instead of following through with the goal to work more this year, maybe consider slowing the hustle. It might actually be more effective in the long run!

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