Do the unpossible

Your audience ignored 99.9% of every branded item and marketing message you put in front of them in 2017.


The reality is, you are not alone. On average, we are hit with about 4,000 pieces of marketing every day as brands try desperately to squeeze into our line of vision. As a result of this communication cacophony, we recall little if any of what we see, read or hear.


You’re at a dinner reception. You stand to make a toast. You ask repeatedly for attention to no avail. You reach for a glass and tap it with a fork. Clink. Clink. Clink.

Silence. Everybody turns to look.

This familiar scene hits upon a great lesson in branding and marketing: As humans, we instinctively respond to the unfamiliar or the unexpected. When we are surprised or startled, our adrenals fire. Our heart rates jump. We spring to attention.

We stop, we look up, we take note. We zone in.

Let’s apply this basic human response to real estate marketing.

Most messaging in real estate conveys information about listings, market conditions, recent sales, acquisitions, etc. Everyone seems to do it the same way.

Most marketing the public sees contains the same copy used by everyone – Just Listed, Just Sold, Just Launched, Quarterly Market Conditions, Featured Properties, #1 Market Leader. Etc.

The calls to action are similar too – Learn More, Click Here, Contact Us  the same social icons, the same type of photos and imagery, similar color palettes.

Same. Same. Same.

As a result, nothing stands out. It all becomes background noise. Forgettable. Unimpressive.

To be more impactful, to get attention, it needs a clink.


In 1990, Volkswagen launched the “Fahrvergnügen” campaign in the U.S. around a hard-to-pronounce, impossible-to-spell German word that said nothing about the product, its fuel efficiency, great engineering or sleek design. While every other car company was marketing around these types of details and features that speak to people’s minds, Volkswagen decided to go in a better direction – one focused on feeling and emotion.

What made this campaign so memorable was the special layer of “wrongness” about that word that caught people off guard and enticed them to want to learn more.

Fahrvergnügen did what good marketing is supposed to do – it stirred imagination, caught people’s attention, got them talking and made them feel something.

While competitors were busy shoving features and facts into their marketing, VW entertained us with the unfamiliar. This is NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) at its finest.

We applied this same NLP methodology back in 2013 when we created the “Peoplework” campaign for dotloop. We knew on the surface the word made no sense. We knew it said nothing about transaction management or the product’s features.

That was the point.

Yapping on about platform features wouldn’t have raised a single eyebrow. But inspiring curiosity through something unexpected did.


You want to be noticed. You want your message to break through. You want to be thought of as different. Better. Not like your competitors. But decades of trying to tell that story falls on deaf ears.

You need a different approach.

2018 is just around the bend. Time for a fresh start. Do the unpossible. Break your own rules. Ditch the real estate glossary and craft new terms. Experiment. Be less perfect. Less precise. More colorful. Coy. Or strive to deliver your message using no words at all.

Go for something – anything – unexpected that will cause people to take notice and wonder.

They will. It’s how humans are wired.

Sometimes a little bit of wrong can be so right.