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November 2010

FC: Why Are the Rich So Good at the Internet?

As if there was any doubt to begin with, a new study from Pew Internet shows that the affluent are using the internet more...

Pew Internet has released a report finding that income is the strongest predictor of whether, how often, and in what ways Americans use the web. The report adds nuance--and a few surprises--to existing research on America's digital divide. It even suggests the existence of a tipping point, where Internet use takes off at a certain income level.

More from Fast Company Magazine

2010 - Best Market Report


2010 Marketing Awards:
Best Agent Market Report

Winner: Susan Lowe
Chase International, Lake Tahoe, NV

Institute members know that the fastest way to establish credibility in a market is to produce a comprehensive market report on a regular basis.  Each of the entries in this category was outstanding. 

What the judge liked about the winner was:

  1. The price banding charts looking at market data by BOTH price range and geographic area.
  2. The use of the information in an extensive press release campaign to the media--this has resulted in Sue being called frequently for press interviews.
  3. The use of the statistical charts and graphs from the report in a direct-mail postcard campaign. 

Susan Lowe at Chase has done her market update report for 9 years and her excellent market information is now used by other agents at Chase International.   Once again, congratulations Susan!

2010 - Best Online Marketing


2010 Marketing Awards:
Best Online Marketing

Winner: Jennifer Kirby
Exit Realty Ventures, Farmington, Minnesota

Jennifer's online marketing strategy is centered around her blogs.  Her Minneapolis Luxury Real Estate Blog  features well-written content that is relevant and interesting to current and potential homeowners.  It demonstrates her local knowledge, market expertise, and helps to position her as the local luxury expert. Her well-crafted posts and beautiful photos highlight design trends, historic homes, what does and doesn't work when marketing luxury homes, local market stats, and so much more. 

The bottom line:  the content is rich, engaging, and useful.  Google aggrees.  Her blog enjoys the #1 spot in organic search results for "Minneapolis luxury real estate." 

In addition to her main luxury blog, Jennifer has additional blogs based on specific market segments or lifystyles that are relevant to her own expertise and the markets and propects she is targeting.  For example:

Her blogs are built on Wordpress, and have excellent usability--she has chosen layouts and themes that are simple, clean, easy to read, and easy to navigate.  She has been blogging consistently since the beginning of 2007.

Jennifer is a great example of a successful online strategy based primarily on blogging.   Her blogs are driving new business--directly delivering luxury listings and sales.

Congratulations to Jennifer on a simple-but-effective online strategy very well-executed!

Luxury is About the Stories

In their Luxury Magazine supplement, The New York Times has been running a series of interviews with fashion insiders on the subject of LUXURY, asking each of them the following eight questions:

  1. What is your most treasured possession?
  2. What is the quality you most desire in a fine product?
  3. If you were a handbag, what would it look like?
  4. If “luxury” changed its name — what should it be called?
  5. Is your idea of luxury tangible — or a sensation/ experience?
  6. Can luxury be virtual as well as actual?
  7. What do you consider the most overrated luxury?
  8. Is your ultimate luxury time — for yourself?

Imran The interview with Imran Amed, the Founder of Business of Fashion and a strategic consultant for international luxury brands, particurarily caught my eye. 

Here are a few of his answers:

What is your most treasured possession?
It’s a tie between a durable, boiled cashmere blazer by the Japanese bespoke tailors ICHO and a vintage Heuer Carrera watch from the late 1960s. Both are high-quality, versatile items suited to my taste and style, with deeply personal stories attached to them. And both — if cared for properly — will last forever.

What is the quality you most desire in a fine product?
It must enable me to reflect my own personality and fit with the way I live, rather than stamp me with a logo or reflect the current fashion trends.

If “luxury” changed its name — what should it be called?
During a period of unrestrained economic expansion, prices of so-called luxury products had risen to an all-time high, while quality and workmanship suffered. In short, consumers were paying more for less. This is why new luxury must focus on traditional luxury values: craftsmanship, personalization, heritage, quality at a fair price.

Is your idea of luxury tangible — or a sensation/ experience?
For me, luxury is about the stories, feelings and meaning attached to objects, as opposed to the actual objects themselves. For example, a traditional, handmade Alpaca scarf I discovered in a small, hidden shop in the San Telmo district of Buenos Aires is so much more luxurious to me than a mass-produced cashmere scarf piled up next to hundreds of others in a generic luxury flagship. True luxury must offer life-enriching experiences and stories, as well as attractive objects. Indeed, these kinds of stories may be the most enduring form of luxury of all, because they never expire.

Think about this as it might be applied to luxury real estate.  Many of your potential buyers may share Imran's values and outlook.  Will your marketing materials resonate with them?  Does your copy reflect these or similar values?  What are the values of your targeted buyers?  As we've long said, "Every home has a story.  It is your job to find it and tell it well."   

2010 - Outstanding Personal Achievement


2010 Marketing Awards:
Outstanding Personal Achievement

Winner:  Rick Wearing
RE/MAX North Country Realty, Huntsville, Ontario CANADA

There must be 48 hours in Rick's day because not only is he successful in his real estate practice, he finds the time to give back to his profession and his community in a BIG, BIG way. 

Rick believes in the philosophy “Givers Gain” as evidenced by a long list of community and Realtor association projects he is involved in.   For instance here are just some of his activities:

  • A client appreciation event benefiting the local food bank,
  • Sponsorship of four concerts for the local concert association,
  • Founder and President of his local Business Networking International group,
  • Habitat for Humanity volunteer,
  • Chair of PR committee for local Realtor association,
  • Local soup kitchen volunteer,
  • Donor to a local women’s shelter,
  • Judge in the Huntsville Olympic Torch Relay Celebration,
  • Hard worker for the Huntsville Parks and Recreation Committee
  • The list goes on and on!

We can all learn from Rick’s commitment to give back to his community. 

Rick, congratulations for work well done.

2010 - Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing


2010 Marketing Awards:
Overall Excellence in Personal Marketing with an Emphasis on Agent Branding

Winner:  James Anderson
Pacific Luxury Group, Santa Monica, CA

Lots of agents do clever things. James Anderson does clever things which are strategic. 

He has created a brand that is not his name – Pacific Luxury Group.  His blue and brown colors represent the sand and the sea of the coastal area he serves and the blue also evokes the luxury of the Tiffany’s blue box.  The lion on his logo is a symbol of success.  James’ business cards define the design rules for elegance and professionalism. 

James3  James4  James2

Even his property marketing is part of his personal branding – for instance his custom signs are so distinctive that you know instantly that they are his Pacific Luxury Group’s signs.  Instead of saying for sale, each sign has a witty and effective headline…

  • “Repeat after me, ‘I deserve this house.’”
  • “Whoever said you can’t buy happiness, never owned this house”
  • "Location, location, location, and ungodly amounts of square footage!”  

James Anderson is raising the bar in real estate marketing and agent branding.

2010 - Best Marketing Campaign for a Property


2010 Marketing Awards:
Best Marketing Campaign for a Property

Winner:  Susan Lowe
Chase International, Lake Tahoe, NV

A $100 million dollar property represents a special marketing challenge.  You must target market effectively while maintaining the owners’ privacy.  Details about the property need to be limited to qualified prospects.

To acheive this, Susan Lowe and Shari Chase at Chase International created a marketing campain with three levels of marketing collateral, each with an increasing level of information and detail:

  1. The first is for the public and casual enquires
  2. The second for other agents and not-yet-qualified prospects
  3. The third is limited to serious prospects who have been qualified.  

There are both print and online resources at each level. 

Tranquility1   Tranquility2  Tranquility3

The marketing support pieces they have created highlight the property’s uniqueness and illustrate the point that the quality of the materials must reflect the quality of the property.  For example, their 16-page brochure includes beautiful professional photography--each image accompanied by a haiku poem.  The cover features an original watercolor of one of the home's views printed on fine watercolor paper.  As the judge told us, these materials are “perfectly appropriate” for this level of the luxury market.

Their marketing plan goes beyond advertising and collateral--there is a stong communication component.  They have done a masterful job of leveraging public relations for property exposure -- the listing was first announced in a major story in The Wall Street Journal and there has been follow-up coverage as well.

Congratulations on a superb campaign Susan!

2010 Marketing Awards: Winners!

LIL-2010-marketing-awards Thank you to all of you who entered.  There were some great entries this year.  The judge has spoken.  Congratulations to the winners of the 2010 Leaders in Luxury Marketing Awards:

    Winner: Sue Lowe, Chase International, Lake Tahoe
    Winner: James Anderson, Pacific Luxury Group California
    Winner: Jennifer Kirby, Exit Realty Ventures, Farmington, Minnesota
    Winner: Rick Wearing, RE/MAX North Country Realty, Huntsville, Ontario CANADA
    Winner: Susan Lowe, Chase International, Lake Tahoe

 Congratulations Rick, Jennifer, James, and Susan!

Watch for more on these winning entries in upcoming blog posts... 

See you in New Orleans?

NAR We're packing our bags and getting ready for NARdiGras 2010 in New Orleans.

We'll be making the rounds, visiting with partners and friends.  Laurie will be presenting at two sessions, which we invite you to attend:

Developing Your Successful Luxury Home Marketing Plan
11/05/2010   |  2:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Room 217
In the luxury market, selling a lifestyle is key to successfully moving a listing to the top of the buyers' desirability list and selling the property. The #1 rule is that every home has a unique story and it is the listing agent’s job to tell that story in a compelling way. Based on experience, the tips shared here will help you create a cost-effective marketing plan that tells the story.
Luxury Home Experts Share Best Practices
11/07/2010   |  3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Location: Morial Convention Center, Room RO6
Panelists: Sue Krider, Jim Prange, Judy Smith
Laurie and a panel of successful agents discuss an almost foolproof way to position yourself as the luxury expert of choice in your market. From niche marketing to the marketing consultation appointment to the right list price, these luxury experts have honed skills in the luxury market that can benefit agents working in all markets.

We look forward to seeing you there!