Luxury Real Estate Marketing Essentials – Become the Break-Away Brand

Whether you grew up with a Krispy Kreme Donut store in your neighborhood or you just tasted a delicious, original hot glazed Krispy Kreme donut for the first time you may be surprised to know that the company has been around for over 70 years! It all started in the late thirties. With steady growth it was sold to Beatrice Foods and later was bought back by a group of franchisees. Then, suddenly in 2000, Krispy Kreme went public, became a modern American icon and an international BREAKAWAY BRAND!

The Krispy Kreme story has important lessons for those luxury real estate marketing professionals who are determined to breakaway from their competition and pursue market leadership in their marketplace. Creating an indelible personal brand and sparking a chain reaction of buzz is challenging, but it can be extremely rewarding if it is executed effectively and sustained.

The word-of-mouth advertising about these premium, high quality donuts was like a shot heard around the world. Move over Winchell’s donuts, which opened their first donut shop on October 8, 1948. Winchell’s is the West Coast’s largest donut chain with over 170 units, in 12 states, plus locations in Guam, Saipan, and Saudi Arabia. Move over Dunkin’ Donuts, the world’s largest coffee and baked goods chain, with more than 7,000 Dunkin’ Donuts shops worldwide.

What Made Krispy Kreme Donuts the Breakaway Brand?

Fast forward to Melbourne Australia, 2006 for the grand opening of the first Krispy Kreme Donut shop in town. Hundreds of Aussies camped out overnight in the race to be the first through the door as the fast-food phenomenon arrived Down Under. One man parked his car four days ahead of the opening to be the first in line for the drive through window. He won a year’s supply of these tasty donuts.

Krispy Kreme attracts almost a cult-like following and raving fans. The opening of a Winchell’s or Dunkin’ donut shop usually does not have this kind of a reaction. Most fans agree that the taste of Krispy Kreme donuts is superior to the other brands. But, how much of this is the affect of hype and how much is really the special flavor and texture unique to the Krispy Kreme brand? How much is it a factor of the expectation of a superior experience?

The name Krispy Kreme itself can make your mouth water. The right brand name can play a very important part in creating a Breakaway Brand.

We are not particularly fond of donuts. However, like many consumers, we absolutely had to discover what all the fuss was about when Krispy Kreme donuts finally arrived at our local supermarket. To us, the ultimate donut experience can be found in a small café in Florence, Italy called Giacosa on Via Tournabone. In Italian, donuts are called ciambelle. Fond memories and pleasant associations can play a very big part in creating a Breakaway Brand.

iPod or ZUNE? That is the Question

Every year in the United States companies invest close to $300 billion in marketing products and services. A huge portion of this is spent on introducing new brands in the marketplace. The majority of these new product launches never get off the ground.

As home loan professionals, the size of your advertising budget does not guarantee your success if you fail to form a strong emotional connection with your target market, whether it be consumers or referring real estate agents.

Recently, Microsoft launched a new MP3 player brand called ZUNE to compete head-on with Apple’s iPod. Fortified with deep pockets Microsoft is gunning for Apple who has the Breakaway Brand in this space. iPod was actually a “Jonny come lately” itself as many other brands had tried to become the dominant MP3 player. iPod connected very deeply on an emotional level with its target market with its sleek design an ease of use for which Apple computers are famous. Zune was met with a lukewarm reception.

The iPod continues to gain market share as a mainstream consumer electronic product and as a music service with its ITunes website. Many iPod loyalists would rather fight than switch brands. Microsoft may be making some strides at chipping away at Apple’s market share. But, so far it is does not have enough distinctive features to overtake Apple as the next MP3 Breakaway Brand.

In the lending industry loan brokers have access to virtually the same products. In that sense these products have become commoditized. That is the very reason why a personal brand is of paramount importance. Good service and integrity are the minimum requirements just to be in the running. You must present a superior and unique value proposition to become the Breakaway Personal Brand as a lender in your marketplace.

The Five Keys to Become the Standout in Your Marketplace

Perhaps organizing a community effort to deliver Krispy Kreme donuts to some schools in your neighborhood can help you stand out from the crowd. Or, you may consider a starting with a contest for agents in your area in which you give away a red iPod to “Do the Red Thing” (Apple will donate 10% to help prevent the spread of HIV).

There are endless ways of becoming well known, well thought of and also creating buzz for yourself while breaking away from your competition. The keys to becoming the Breakaway Personal Brand and standout are:
1) Create the expectation of superior service;
2) Develop a compelling personal brand name;
3) Come up with a way to create pleasant associations with your brand that trigger fond memories;
4) Form a strong emotional connection with your target market, and:
5) find ways to be distinctive in your business methods.

This is part of a series of articles entitled, Luxury Real Estate Marketing Essentials. It is dedicated to luxury real estate marketing professionals worldwide.

An International Marketplace – Is the Triangle Real Estate Community Ready?

With each passing year the composition of companies and the business they transact in Research Triangle Park becomes increasingly global. This globalization brings a continual influx of people from nations around the world to the area not only to work but to live and to raise families. With this rapid growth of international cultures in the area, suddenly there are people with seemingly endless investment capital from many different countries. Not only are they buying homes in which to live, but they are also seeking real estate opportunities for investment purposes. Are Triangle REALTORS knowledgeable enough in international real estate to fully and competently assist these investors? Are our agents aware of the differences in U.S. tax laws and IRS statutes when applied to foreign non-residents and their ownership of U.S. real estate? A word of caution is in order for both the international client and the professional REALTOR. International real estate is a very different and complex business with potential financial pitfalls when practiced by those unfamiliar with the laws that affect these purchases.

RTP has been a catalyst for international growth to North Carolina for many years. There are nearly 100 companies in the Triangle which have international corporate headquarters or offices located on foreign soil. It is truly a World Trade Zone. Raleigh was recognized recently as “one of the top ten most international cities” in the U.S. with over 87 foreign languages being spoken in the area. In addition to the Triangle’s draw, the nine-county area that comprises the bulk of the local real estate marketplace contains one of the fastest growing Hispanic populations in the country. This blending of people and cultures creates a common ground as resources are exchanged and opportunities are created for local industries not the least of which is the real estate industry. With few exceptions, every REALTOR in the area has either sold property to a foreign client or had a property listing that was sold by another REALTOR to a foreign client. The international growth and diversity of cultures are a large part of the mix, along with educational resources, economic health, cost of living, and moderate climate that continually keep the Triangle as one of the nation’s “Top Ten Places to Live.”

One of the many responsibilities of a REALTOR as a professional is to be informed. Their job is one of sharing knowledge and information with consumers and the general public. They must be authorities on schools, churches, malls, day care, assisted living, new construction, old construction, mold, mildew, radon, asbestos, well water, sewer systems, transportation issues, and a plethora of other disclosure items. Why would it not hold true that a REALTOR should be an authority on an international real estate transaction and the nuances of U.S. tax laws when applied to foreign clients? To enjoy the financial benefits and rewards of the local international market, REALTORS must educate themselves in this arena because it is becoming a large and viable segment of the Triangle market. Fortunately for the local real estate community many resources are available through both NAR and the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors.

More than eight years ago the Board of Directors of the RRAR with insight and progressive thinking created an ad hoc Committee to explore the creation of an International Council of REALTORS. Since then, that Council has come into being and has grown to over 45 active members. The Triangle International Council of Realtors or TICOR serves as a resource for not only REALTORS but the public as well, bringing together the cultures of the Triangle by offering educational opportunities through printed materials, seminars and classes. They strive not only to educate themselves but also to include others who share their interest. Their varied activities include participation in Raleigh’s International Festival, other cultural festivals, and bimonthly luncheons hosting presentations by international attorneys, mortgage lenders, State Government representatives and various Chambers of Commerce.

With NAR approval, the TICOR group has hosted CIPS classes on four different occasions with participants from as far away as Northern Virginia and the state of Washington. Another CIPS course is scheduled for this October and is being sponsored by TICOR at the RRAR Board office. CIPS is a designation from NAR which means Certified International Property Specialist. It is achieved through class work and testing in five different courses of materials and subjects related to finance, international real estate, globalization, and five subjective regions of the world. Due to the efforts of the RRAR Triangle International Council of REALTORS there are more CIPS designees locally than in any other board in the state of North Carolina.

REALTORS in Research Triangle Park are most fortunate to live and work in such an exciting and lucrative marketplace. To have such nationally high rankings as one of the “Top Ten Cities” in so many categories and the recognition as such an international center of activity is a privilege. With privilege comes responsibility. REALTORS of the Triangle community must not only recognize the need to be informed and educated regarding the intricacies of the international market and it’s clients, but act on that need by using available resources to gain the necessary education to perform professionally.

For information about the Triangle International Council of REALTORS we welcome you to visit our website located at or contact RRAR, the Raleigh Regional Association of Realtors at 919-654-5400.

Commercial Investment Property – Keys for Real Estate Agents to List and Sell More

In commercial real estate, getting to a closed deal and final commission is a number of critical steps. You cannot take shortcuts. Most particularly you have to understand the start of the deal and the reason for it. This is the key to long term listing and selling in the industry. So let’s put some of these steps together.

First and foremost, you should be a specialist in a part of the industry that has the opportunity for reasonable growth and reward. This could be retail leasing, retail selling, industrial leasing, industrial selling, or office leasing, and office selling. It doesn’t really matter what part of the industry you are concentrating in, but it does matter that a future exists with the type of property you have selected and that you can relate to the type of property.

The second step in the process of building your business involves understanding your market. You cannot be a specialist without completely understanding the deals that have been done and the deals that need to be done. This knowledge will involve benchmarks of property performance including income, rental type, expenditure, methods of sale, and methods of lease, construction costs, and property usage. When you pick up any information from the marketplace it is best to collate the information for future reference. It is this information that will allow you to negotiate with skill; it is this information that will give you a higher value in the marketplace as a real estate agent.

As part of this process, there is a group of property professionals that you need to know. They are an abundance source of new clients and new business. They are solicitors, accountants, architects, engineers, and property valuers.

The third step in the process of building your business involves understanding the prospects and what they need. This means getting in front of the people who need to do the deals one day in the future. In simple terms this is called relationship building and quite frankly not enough is done by most real estate people. When you establish a face to face contact with the right people you set the foundation of building opportunity. Essentially people need to build trust and respect with you. There are far too many agents are out there who are all fighting for the same prospects. The agent that wins the contact and the commission is the one that has started the relationship and continues it over a lengthy period of time.

Once you have a relationship with well qualified groups of prospects, you can start to drill down on the types of property deals they need. You can actually look for the properties that they require and put the deals together before they even reach the marketplace. In commercial real estate, it is very common to do off market deals.

This property market is currently frustrated by restrictive financing. The banks and the lenders are slow to approve or accept financing proposals on the larger property deals. The property valuers are also very conservative and reluctant to put on any higher values on property for financing purposes. This will change, however and for the moment, we must target the people who have higher equity in another property or business activities, therefore they are less reliant on higher loan value ratios.

There are many property investors and businesses out there that are quietly waiting to seize the opportunity of a new property purchase if the right properties become available. These successful businesses and investors are the ones that you need to know in this market. The more people you know, the more opportunity you will generate.

So how many prospects should you be working in a market like this? Your database should include at least 300 high end prospects, and at least another 300 other prospects that can be converted to higher value. Before you start saying that it is a high number, I will let you into a little secret. This database formula is built on the basis of five new contacts every working day. Within a period of six months, you will have built the database of this size. As you proceed down the path you will also have achieved extra sales and leasing deals that you didn’t have before. Success in the industry belongs to those that can get highly organised in the prospecting process. Persistence pays rewards in ‘bucket loads’. Good luck.