Shaking and baking old ideas


2007 fashions differs from those of 2006.
2007 cars differ from the 2006 models.  

At their core, brands are about constancy. But at
intervals, the successful ones add a twist. They shake up old ideas
and pour new ones like a freshly made martinis. It’s about composition. Look. The way a product acts. The way it
operates. Its feel. And what it says.

Real estate would be so positively rewarded by attending to its
look, its acts, its feel and what it says.  

Shaking and baking ideas.

I recently did this with the Just Sold Postcard in my weekly Inman News column. I began by questioning its relevance – the
first thing you do when evaluating anything that been around that long. I then asked
questions such as:  

  • Is it still as effective as it once was?
  • Can it be more effective?
  • Whose best interest does it serve?
  • Is this idea unique to me?  

I thought about the perceived message of the just sold card and
the value of advertising sold prices during a time when home prices are
declining. I thought about the confusion it might create card recipients who  decided to list down the road.

I shook it, cooked it, and came up with a Welcome to the Neighborhood card. Used
by a buyer’s agent, it would introduce something more permanent and more
valuable to the neighborhood – people.  

For one thing, this sort of card is unique and would differentiate me, the agent. As for the potential effectiveness, I would look to
measure how connecting people with people, a practice heavily leveraged on
the web right now, might impact my brand.

Is this a legitimate idea? Does it transgress the buyer’s

I don’t think so. In reality, the buyer’s agent would work in tandem with the buyer to gain permission and get their assistance in crafting the appropriate
message – something that does not happen with Just Sold cards. While the price is a
matter of public record, having the agent broadcast it through the postal
system and into everyone’s mailbox may seem classless and self-serving. 

Granted, this has been done forever and most people don’t
notice. But that’s all the more reason for someone to shake it and bake it.  

Shaking and baking creates movement. It propels real estate
brands to differentiate themselves. To create a new look, a new sound, and a
new identity. Perhaps the Welcome to Neighborhood idea is flawed but that’s
fine. The goal is too shake up your own ideas. Outdo mine.

What motivates me in brand building is long-term effects. Does my service or my message have a five-minute shelf
life or a 100-year shelf life?  

What is the shelf life of a Just
card vs. a Welcome to the Neighborhood card?

Here’s what I envisioned. 20 years from now, two inseparable
couples — neighbors — are at a poolside bar in Cancun. The bartender asks how they met. One says, “I opened my mail one day and there was a postcard
from this agent introducing these people who just moved into the neighborhood.
Granted it was 4 blocks away but we had children the same age, and we just
moved into the neighborhood as well and knew no one. I walked over, knocked on
their door and we’ve been friends ever since."

Barkeep orders another round. They toast the agent. Friendship.
Good times.  

and baking. More to come.