Connect with us

Business Marketing

What Business Are We REALLY In? Are You Sure?

Published

on

If it's not "Magical" is it "Muggel"?Sizzling Steak and Magic

I love dinner.  I love eating out.  I love to eat dinner at Flemings Steak House.

I live in Houston Texas.  Steak Houses are everywhere.  They all cook Steak and serve cocktails.

What’s the real business of a Steak House?  Is it to cook steak and sling drinks?

NO.

Their real business, if they crave raving fans, Yelps and profits, is to serve “Emotionally Evocative Experiences”, “Visual Delights”, “Tongue Tease” and “Feel Good”.  It’s not ALL about cooking steak, it’s about the entire dining experience.

What Business Are We In?

[FYI: This share was inspired by content and comments contained in twos posts authored by Erion and Lani.  Check’m out:  E = ONE and L = TWO.]

I hear, ” I sell houses”.   I say, “WRONG”.

Selling a house is the result of what WE DO. A myopic focus on selling houses leads to survival, short term success and finally, Burn-Out.  Want to open a can of Break-Out Thrival?  Read on.

We live, work and play in a Trust (Consistent, Accurate, Timely, Honest, Safe), Experience (Evocative and Engaging) and Entertainment (Fun, Interesting, Unique, Provocative) society.

Serving true Trust, emotionally evocative Experiences and Entertainment leads to loyal fans, perpetual referral recommendations, closed sales, big-bank and Break-Out Thrival.

IMHO, Our Real Business Is Communication. Presentation. Solutions. Inspiration and Leadership.

Communication:  How we broadcast and share.

Is what we say Interesting or do we drone?

Are we believable, accurate and trustworthy or do we BS in broad generalities and frustrate with inconsistencies?

Do we roll rigid and old-school-antique or do we Watusi 2010 style with Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Email, Text, Blog, etc. (I remind myself, all this 2010 whiz-bang is simply a tool to create opportunities to meet, share, connect and conversate in person.)

Do we hope and opine for incoming contact or do we reach out, help out, engage, educate, serve and solve?

Do we shout and monologue  or dialogue and share?

Do we chase, capture and churn or attract, connect and loyalize?

Presentation:  How we create impressions and perceptions through our physical, verbal, digital and collateral actions and manifestations.

Are our marketing messages fresh, clean, bright, encouraging and professionally designed or Jurassic, aimless and amateur.

When our stomach’s in knots, our patience frazzles and our dauber’s down, do we host a pity party or RISE UP?

Does What, Where, How and When we present, position us as the authoritative Go To Icon or invisible, forgettable and broke.

Solutions, Hassle Prevention and Friction Free Convenience:

Nobody wants a pain in the ass experience.  Everybody enjoys, employs and referral recommends providers of convenience, speed and reliability.

How’s our track record for returning calls and emails?

When crisis and challenge flash-flame, do we solve and resolve with confidence and deliberation or do we melt into a squishy puddle of paralyzation?

Is it all about our schedule, our rules, our ways or is about client convenience, flexibility and custom-fit ?

Is it complicated or simple?

Do we follow a proven system or fly by the skid-marked seat of our underpants?

Inspiration and Leadership:

Hugh MacLeod, “The market for hope is infinite”.  Napoleon, ” A leader is a dealer in hope”.

Does our attitude attract or repel?

Are we stingy or generous?

Are we credible?

Do we surprise and delight or disappoint?

Does our physical appearance and demeanor ooze confidence?

Do we smile, encourage and support or discourage and criticize?

Do we complain, blame, gossip and spit excuses?  These traits are the opposite of attractive, which means they repel or are repulsive.

Do we listen and understand or plow forward and puke?

Are we passionate, candid and real or mercenaries, opportunists and posers?

Do we preach too much?  Ummmm, yikes, I’m feeling guilty.   I’m gonna wrap it up by saying, IMO, the most successful and happiest people don’t focus on selling real estate, they focus on delivering experiences worth repeating and sharing. Selling houses is just a slice of the over-arching business and lifestyle of a successful and rewarding real estate career.

My 27cents.  Cheers.

PS.  What business are you in?

PS.  On reflection, this is a long list of aspirational stuff.  Nobody can be all these, all the time.  For me, the goal, the fun and the surprise, is all balled up in the fizzy journey towards doing better.  Thanks for reading.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Photo Credit


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.

Continue Reading
Advertisement
17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Fred Romano

    September 14, 2009 at 11:45 am

    Reading your posts are like watchin a dubbed kung fu move. Whats the plot… reading the subtitles… trying to understand the storyline. Uggg! Still fun though 🙂

  2. Joe Loomer

    September 14, 2009 at 11:47 am

    Love what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life….

    Last week, at a new construction listing, my buyers asked for a minute to talk privately. I took the opportunity to take a short walk down the street and noted another home that fit their needs but had not been on the list of homes we’d worked hard to put together.

    When I went back to get them, I suggested we view the home they had previously excluded. They loved it and wrote a contract. I think it was because I like what I do and didn’t just go outside and stop being an agent while they talked. My professional interest was peaked by the exterior aesthetics of the other property, I liked it, and thought they would too.

    I like what I do, and the reasons have a lot more to do with the “Taking Care of Sailors” attitude I was taught as a young Chief than they do with making a living. Thank God for great leaders and teachers in my life that don’t let me take anything for granted – including my own attitude. You’re one of them, Ken – thanks for another hit.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

  3. Ken Brand

    September 14, 2009 at 12:03 pm

    Fred – Thanks for the feedback. Sorry it’s hard to read, hell half the time I’m not even sure what it is I’m talking about and I’m doing the talking. Seriously, thanks, I’m not trying to make it harder that it should be. I’ll work on simplifying. Cheers.

    Joe – Amen, you gotta love it or leave it. Rock on Joe.

  4. Ian Greenleigh

    September 14, 2009 at 5:34 pm

    Ken-

    Providers of experiences we all are. People like you are providers of GOOD experiences. Such are the kind that make it unnecessary to ask for referrals, testimonials, or introductions. Give someone a good experience and they want others to share it, and share it they will. It’s amazing what can be accomplished by treating people right, deviating from the “script” when needed, truly listening and being honest. You’ve got the right stuff, Ken. I love reading your observations.

    P.S. Thanks for mentioning texting in your 2010 toolkit.

  5. Bob Gibbs

    September 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm

    I agree that focusing on “Selling a house”, or “Lead Generation” comes from a place of lack. It is much more rewarding and fulfilling to actually help someone with that person’s best interest in mind. Even if it means no paycheck for us. I have found that keeping a focus on the clients best interest actually results in more business. I have received many referrals from people who have yet to have a transaction with me.

  6. Atlanta Real Estate

    September 16, 2009 at 8:46 pm

    I agree and good post.

    After the first meeting or two, my cleints and I are just having a GOOD TIME. Hey, why not.

    Laughing, joking, casually going through the showings, being candid, etc.

    Check out some of the feedback in which this resonates:

    https://www.atlantarealestateinfo.com/grgresults.php

    “Also, he was very fun to ride around with and we enjoyed his company. Use him! T&K”

    I’m not bragging on myself, just helping you prove your point, Ken….you’re RIGHT!

    Rob

  7. TomFerry

    September 17, 2009 at 7:57 am

    Ken-

    I challenge everyone who is reading your posting to honestly look at themselves and their business and answer the questions you’re asking. We have to get clear as to where we’re going and how we’re getting there in business.

    Thx for the posting Ken.

    TF

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Business Marketing

What we can learn & apply about branding from trendy startups

(MARKETING) What are the branding secrets of these new trendy startups and how can they be applied to your large enterprises?

Published

on

A set of wine from Craft Hugo, showing off pleasing branding in labels.

Think of your favorite brand. Is it the product they offer or the branding that you love? Exactly – brand ethos reigns supreme, especially with those trendy, aesthetically-pleasing startups (I never thought Glossier had good makeup, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t visit their website once or twice a month).

So let’s break it down.

Co-founder of Red Antler – a company that assists startups in creating successful branding – Emily Heyward believes in a few branding truths.

Firstly, you have to make sure not to market your brand as a single product or experience. Doing so, she says, will pigeonhole you and thus truncate your ability to expand and offer new products and services (she gives MailChimp, known almost exclusively for email marketing, as an example).

What Heyward does say to do is instead market an idea. For example, the brand Casper (one of Antler’s clients) markets itself as a sleep company instead of a mattress company. By doing this, they kept the door open to eventually offer other products, like pillows and bedding.

Heyward states that this “power of focus” is a way to survive – with countless other startups offering the same product or service, you have to position your company as offering something beyond the product. Provide a problem your customer didn’t know they had and offer an innovative solution through your product.

Ever used Slack, the app-based messenger? There were other messengers out there, so focus of Slack’s branding is that regular messaging is boring and that their app makes it more fun. And customers eat it up.

How can this logic apply to mid-to-large enterprises? How can you focus on one specific thing?

Again, placing emphasis on brand over products is essential – what is it about what you offer that makes your customers’ lives better? It’s more cerebral than material. You’re selling a better life.

Another thing to remember is that customers are intrigued by the idea of new experiences, even if the product or service being offered is itself not new. Try not to use dated language that’s colored by a customers’ preexisting feelings. Instead, find an exciting alternative – chat solutions are desperately trying move away from the word “chat”, which can bring to mind an annoying, tedious process, even though that is in fact what they offer.

Broadening the idea of focused brand ethos to a large company can be difficult. By following these tips and tricks from startups, your company can develop a successful brand ethos that extends beyond your best product or service.

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

7 low-budget marketing ideas for small businesses to grow their reach

(MARKETING) Marketing ideas are often expensive or ultra time consuming, but let’s talk about some proven tactics that won’t break the bank.

Published

on

Man leaning against wall on phone representing marketing.

The following marketing ideas are provided to you buy Threadsy:

No matter the size of your business, marketing matters! It’s important for small and big businesses alike to attract new customers, establish brand awareness, and to create buzz around products and services. But we know that not every business owner has tons of funds to devote to their marketing strategy. The good news? There are some highly effective marketing tactics that are also budget-friendly!

Here are seven low-budget marketing strategies for small business owners and side hustlers to grow their reach:

1. Sponsor Local Events

One of the best ways to get to know potential customers? Actually meet and talk to them! When you sponsor local events, you can be on-site to help people put a face with your business’s name. Sponsoring events is also a fantastic way to offer branded merchandise that can help you get your name and your logo out there.

Besides branded materials like signs, banners, or fliers, think about offering some fun items like wine bags to give away to attendees. Goody bags also make fantastic take-home options for local events. A branded canvas tote can be repurposed as an environmentally-friendly grocery bag, lunch bag for work, or a carry-all accessory for conventions and tradeshows. Print your logo on the outside and fill your goody bags with customized items like water bottles, notebooks, pens, and towels.

2. Let Your Colors Fly

Make some cool t-shirts featuring your logo! Wear them to the sponsored events mentioned above, out in the community, or anywhere you may encounter potential customers and can strike up a conversation. You can also offer t-shirts at a discount in-store or online, and turn your loyal customers into advertisers.

Quick tip: Purchase wholesale shirts to reduce manufacturing costs.

3. Social Media

If you’re not already leveraging social media to promote your business, it’s time to start! Think your customers aren’t using social networks? While certain demographics use various platforms more than others, according to fundera, 74% of consumers rely on social media to guide purchasing decisions. Plus, 96% of small businesses say they use social media in their marketing strategy.

So use your social media channels to level the playing field. To maximize your time and effort, determine where your audience members spend their time. Which platforms are they using? If you have a dedicated social media strategist on staff, they can perform audience research to tailor your approach to your existing and potential customers. If you’re running your own social strategy, spend some time digging into the demographics to determine which platforms make the most sense for your brand. From there, you’ll need to decide on the types of content you want to post, how to interact with your customers online, and create a social media calendar to plan your strategy.

4. Host a Giveaway

Once you’ve got your social media strategy up and running, why not host an online giveaway/sweepstakes to build some buzz, boost engagement, and attract followers? Pick a social media platform where you already engage with your customers. You’ll want to offer an item as the prize. This can be anything from a free product, a discount on an expensive product or service, or inexpensive swag like hats to help you promote your brand.

Once you’ve chosen the prize(s), decide on the terms for your giveaway. For example, an Instagram sweepstakes might look like this:

  • Create posts about the giveaway and explain the rules (multiple stories and 1 or 2 posts depending on the length of the contest)
  • These posts should specify the terms, for example:
    – In order to enter, potential winners must follow you
    – Encourage your followers to tag other people who may be interested. Each “tag” gets them another entry into the contest
    – You can also specify that contest applicants must share your post on their own profile
  • Once the contest has ended, pick a winner. Tag them in a post and story announcing what they’ve won and ask them to also share these posts to their own profile

Quick tip: You can also offer smaller or less-expensive items as consolation prizes. People love free swag and it’s an easy way to get your name out there!

5. Referral Discounts

Offering friends and family discounts on your products or services can help you establish loyalty and promote exclusivity. Offer discount codes or create a refer-a-friend program. You can also offer small incentives for customers who share about your brand on social media. Referral discounts are a great marketing strategy whether you use them in-store, online, or both.

6. Create or Update Your Blog

If you already have a website, you can put it to use to help build brand awareness and attract high-funnel customers. Blogging is a low-cost way to generate organic traffic (website visitors via Google or other search engines). If you don’t already have a blog, there are a number of free and inexpensive blog platforms you can use including Wix and WordPress.

You’ll want to write about topics that are related to your product or service and are of interest to your customers. For example, if you offer graphic design, you might want to create content about how to find an effective graphic designer online, or which projects you can do with an online platform like Canva vs. more complex projects where you should hire a professional designer.

Your website and blog are also great places to post “about us” content to offer website visitors an opportunity to learn more about you, your business, and your mission and values.

7. Update Your Google My Business Profile

Google My Business (GMB) is a free tool that allows you to share important information about your business like your address, hours of operation, and contact information. When your listing is optimized with this information, it’s displayed in Google Search and will also appear in Google Maps, which can help you attract local customers.

To get started, you need to create a GMB profile and verify your business information. This is a relatively simple but important step to ensure customers are able to find your business or service online. Make sure to keep your listing updated if you change any information like your website URL, address, or hours.

The takeaway:

When creating your marketing strategy, remember to stay true to your brand. Not every tactic will be the most effective for every business. Choose the tactics that make sense for your brand or product offering. Another way to prioritize is to consider the perceived impact and effort of each marketing strategy. Use the strategies that require the lowest effort but will potentially drive the highest return.

Once you have those in place, decide which of the other strategies make sense for your customers and your business goals. Also, make sure to keep track of all of your marketing expenditures and the sales from these tactics so you can assess which ones were successful and which ones you may need to re-evaluate or alter.

Remember, when it comes to marketing, it’s an ever-evolving system. Trust the process and try to have some fun with your marketing strategy!

Continue Reading

Business Marketing

No-reply emails don’t help customers, they’ve run their course

(MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

Published

on

no-reply mail boxes

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a business owner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

Continue Reading
Advertisement

Our Great Partners

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Emerging Stories

Get The American Genius
neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to get business and tech updates, breaking stories, and more!