Build

The Lion & Orb team, despite loving all things housing and home, aren't known for their mad DIY skills. However, on Friday, we joined Giveback Homes on a Habitat for Humanity jobsite for a day of construction. While we may not know a lot about joists and foundations,  we know a lot about what it takes to build something special. There are quite a few similarities between building a house and building a successful PR campaign. 

Follow the plans:

You don't build a house without plans. Plans aren't something glanced at once and forgotten, they are checked every day, along each step of the journey.  Don't wing it. Our pre-planning for some campaigns takes months. 

Pay attention:

On a job site it's hot, it's dirty, it's easy to lose focus. But one of the most important rules of construction is to stay aware. Know where your co-workers are, know exactly where you are in the task at hand, and know your own limits so you don't make foolish mistakes. Awareness is something as a company, that we stay firmly grounded in. Our clients joke that sometimes we know their next move before they do, that is because we listen. 

Respect:

Respect is crucial in any job and on a construction site it's critical to listen to those with knowledge and exptertise. Respect for the power tools is pretty vital too. We used palm nailers in our build and they are very helpful but can be very dangerous. Treating the tools of any trade, whether they are physical tools or words and images, with respect for the force they carry, helps ensure a better outcome. 

Kindness:

Kindness and consideration are part of our core values. One of the reasons so many of our clients work together is because they share those values too. Kindness may not be a thing that springs to mind when on a construction site but we saw it all day long in the ways that people made hard work easier for each other, bringing water, sharing the burden of lifting something heavy, singing, telling jokes, and praising jobs well done. 

We can't wait for our next build day with Giveback Homes! If you'd like to join a project, please visit www.givebackhomes.com to see when they will be building near you. The next build day is scheduled for April 29 in Denver, Colorado. 

Partnership

The way we look at it, we don't get hired, we partner. 

We referred to it as the love-love test when we began in 2015 and it hasn't changed much since then. When we consider working with someone we consider two factors very carefully:

1. Do we believe in the prouduct and the mission?

2. Do we like the people, are these people we would want to spend time with regardless of money?

Once we satisfy those questions, anything is possible. We have complete confidence not just to work with the company but to introduce them to other clients, to our media friends, and to the world at large. The most successful real estate agents we know live by the same credo, they are relational and not transactional. 

This week we announced our partnership with Adwerx, a company that we've followed for the past couple of years. We've seen the team at conferences, we've shared a stage or two, we've seen their work with other brands we know and trust. When they came to us, it was an immediate yes. We can't wait to see what comes next. Every product they've shared with us showed us two things: 1) they are absolutely devoted to being on the leading edge of digital advertising and 2) they are obsessed with delivering results for their clients. 

Also this week, two of our dearest friends and clients, Concierge Auctions and Giveback Homes announced their partnership to deliver a home built for every home Concierge Auctions sells. This is the culmination of a long-held dream, to create a true one-for-one model in real estate. For every home sold, a family in need gets a safe new home to call their own. We couldn't be happier not just for our clients and their groundbreaking partnership, but what this will mean for the future.

With great partners, the potential is, quite simply, limitless. 

Words and Images

We had an amazing time in Miami at this year's Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® Conference week. There is no other real estate conference that gathers so many independent brokerages from all around the world. We met with folks from Costa Rica, New Zealand, and all around the U.S.

This year we had an ace up our sleeve, a wizard of a photographer, AJ Canaria from Planomatic who attended the conference and shot many of the events, including our panel on Cutting Through The Noise shown above.

One of the best ways to grab attention is an arresting images or video. With drones, advances in smartphone photography, new apps and new toys on the market, there are so many ways to make beautiful images.

We will never lose our love of words. Words are essential to what we do, the building blocks of communication. That being said, the days of submitting a long press release without images or links are mostly gone. The long release still makes sense for data-driven news but even then a few well-placed graphics make everything more palatable.

We learned more in one week than we can share on a single post but one thing we came away with is that today's brokers and agents use every tool at their disposal from intense research into the details of a property to hiring a poet to capture the special nuances of a resort destination to crunching data to determine not just where things have been, but also where they are heading. 

Some people prefer words, some prefer images (just ask us, the Lion and the Orb have very different ideas) but today's smart real estate company is multimedia and multimodal in order to cut through the noise and deliver the true essence of value. 

 

Lion & Orb Heads To New York City

The new year is already off to a roaring start for us and our clients. Some highlights:

--ReferralExchange launched a new report that proves referrals can make up over 10% of an agent's income

--Hawaii Life ended 2016 with another successful Worthshop and the acquisition of an Oahu brokerage

--Concierge Auctions continued to spread the word that auctions are a vital part of real estate's present and future

--Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® capped off another big year adding 49 prestigious firms from all around the world

Up next, our annual trip to Inman New York. This year we are making it even more exciting by combining attendance at Inman Connect with Hacker Connect and Luxury Daily First Look. If you are anything like us, you know there's nothing more vital to your business than learning from and connecting with the brightest minds in your industry.

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Our itinerary include Audie's participation in a panel of Giving Back on Tuesday with Giveback Homes. Our clients Pam O'Connor of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® and Laura Brady of Concierge Auctions will be speaking on the leap into leadership Thursday on the Boston Logic Stage at Inman Connect at 2:30 p.m. These are two of the most inspiring leaders we know and they will be joined by Chris Myers of Houlihan Lawrence who will provide the brokerage perspective. This one is a must-attend. 

Of course it wouldn't be Lion & Orb if we didn't come bearing gifts. We have a fresh batch of our popular T-shirts to share as well as laptop stickers and a precious few of our limited edition snapback hats. 

We look forward to sharing those little moments that make Connect so special as well as  attending some of Inman's famed parties, and of course connecting with friends old and new. If you will be in New York City 1/16-1/20 and would like to meet with Audie and Deidre or any of our clients, please reach out to press@lionandorb.com.

Inman Influencers 2017

 We're not going to lie, we love lists. End-of-year lists, best of lists, lists of the young and successful, as well as the mature at the top of their game, lists are a way of focusing the energy of an industry in a specific direction. 

The Inman Real Estate Influencer List is an annual recognition of real estate professionals who shape and change the industry. Influence can take many forms, it can be a conversation, it can be a leadership decision, it can actions taken, and not taken. Influence is a thing not measured in a moment but considered over time.

We are happy to congratulate our  clients for being recognized as Influencers:

  • Matt Beall of Hawaii Life Real Estate Brokers
  •  Laura Brady and Chad Roffers of Concierge Auctions
  •  Pam O’Connor of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®
  •  Paul Boomsma and Stephanie Pfeffer Anton of Luxury Portfolio International™
  •  Errol Samuelson of Zillow Group
  • Lisa Fettner of ReferralExchange
  • Greg Robertson of W + R Studios
  • Ben Bacal of Roofshoot
  •  Caroline Pinal of Giveback Homes

What do these people have in common? Yes, they are our clients, and yes, they are in real estate, but more than just being in real estate, they are passionate about it. We love the industry and we are lucky enough to work with people who feel the same way. And oh, yes, our founder, Audie Chamberlain was named an Influencer too. 

The list will be feted in New York City at Inman Connect. The conference is an annual gathering of over 3,500 CEOs of top real estate franchises, technology entrepreneurs, marketing executives, top-producing real estate agents and brokers and executives from top-tier financial service companies and takes place January 16-20 at the Marriott Marquis Times Square in New York City.  

This year's event also includes Hacker Connect, a chance to delve into how technology is changing real estate on Monday January 16.  Audie Chamberlain will be speaking on Tuesday January 17 at 3:15 as part of a panel on giving back in real estate and sharing moments from his recent trip to Nicaragua to build a house with Giveback Homes.  

If you'd like to meet with Audie in New York, please email press@lionandorb.com.

Goal Setting versus Road Mapping

It’s the time of year when thoughts turn to what we want to accomplish in the new year. A new year traditionally carries with it optimism and hope that we can do more, do better, and move forward.

Goals are awesome. In our work, we are honored to sit with our clients and friends and map out where they want their businesses to be. One of our favorite questions to ask is what we call the genie question. If a genie could grant you a wish for your business, what would it be? We get some amazing answers from this. We cultivate the BHAGs (the big hairy audacious goals) and we cheer like crazy when our clients achieve them.

Antoine de Saint-Exupéry — 'A goal without a plan is just a wish.'

A goal without a plan to get there, quickly loses steam. Every goal worth achieving needs a roadmap, a series of next steps and actions along with a list of resources needed and clear ways to measure success. 

For us as a company, we’ve taken a page from the Getting Things Done playbook, mapping out each project followed by next steps and resources needed for each project. Each project is mapped out on a whiteboard (moving a project to the physical world helps make it more real) and then individual actions live in a bullet journal and list app, we’ve been using WunderList. We've also been reading this book which is a great guide to the manage of incremental change. 

This week as we submitted annual reports for our clients we reflected on our first full year in business. We traveled to 10 conferences and visited 25 cities and placed 228 pieces of content in the media for our clients. The numbers are more about more than what we did but about who our clients are and the friendship we share. Together we've summited some impressive hills and planned for many more in 2017. 

May your roadmap lead you to greatness in the coming year. 

 

Quality Time

We are very fortunate to love what we do, so much so that we'd happily do it on a weekend and this weekend we did just that. In Hawaii, our founder Audie Chamberlain was at the Worthshop conference soaking in the wisdom of real estate's sharpest minds and promoting the conference with local press.

Meanwhile in Los Angeles, our co-founder Deidre Woollard took part in an event called Quality Time with PR Minds, a yearly event where this year over 70 PR professionals met with 32 nonprofits for a day of learning and knowledge sharing. Shown above are Jay Eckstein,  Tom Bray, and Josefa Salinas, media professionals from the world of television, newspapers, and radio (three worlds that now converge in one place--online), who donated their time and advice to the nonprofits gathered. 

There are many excellent nonprofits in Los Angeles whose stories have been largely untold and whose staff and volunteers are devoted to the task of improving the lives of others around them.

Deidre met with four groups doing important work in Los Angeles:

DhhEAF (Deaf and hard of hearing Educational Athletic Foundation): Students who cannot hear are often locked out of so many normal activities of growing up, including taking part in sports. Tennis, a sport with no whistles or shot calling, is uniquely suited to help deaf students gain confidence and determination. Founder Roy Trafalski has devoted his life to teaching hearing impaired people teamwork and self-discipline that through the medium of tennis. 

California Elder Justice Coalition: As our population ages, elder abuse sadly has become more and more of an issue. This organization was created in 2008 to address systemic barriers to elder justice. In 2010, the group hosted the first state elder justice summit to explore challenges and solutions. The group provides necessary advocacy promoting policy and practice that improve the lives of vulnerable and abused adults in California.

Juntos: Juntos focuses on the community of Lennox, an unincorporated area of Los Angeles that has many youth at risk.  Taking a  school-centered approach Juntos works with students, parents, and the community as a whole to provide support for children and families whose lives have been impacted by trauma. The team responds to and supports the needs of hundreds of children and families annually making a real difference in the lives of the Lennox residents.

Diverse Scholar: This organization serves an important purpose, helping connect academia with diverse postdoctoral students for faculty positions. Director Alberto Roca, PhD. has created the a comprehensive resource for the minority postdoctoral experience especially in the science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) disciplines with career advice, professional development, jobs, funding, fellowships, mentoring, and more. Our best future relies on having our leaders, researchers, and professors come from a wide variety of backgrounds. 

The Value of Showing Up

Our founder, Audie Chamberlain, nearly didn't make it to Nicaragua this week for the Giveback Homes build event with our clients, ReferralExchange and Concierge Auctions. A passport mishap ended up with him taking a later flight and instead of taking a day to acclimate, he threw himself into the work of shoveling gravel and mixing cement working with the team to build a home for a family in desperate need. This is his second trip to the area and the construction supervisor recognized him and knew he could put him to work immediately. 

Why travel 10 hours overnight just to arrive and get to work?

Audie says: "Giveback Homes Founder Blake Andrews always says that there's something about a build day that words simply can't explain. My personal experience has found this to be 100% true -- ironically in a way that can't be described in words. You actually have to experience it to understand it."

When social media first began, many people thought it would simply replace the person to person experience. What we see now is something different, social media doesn't replace the face-to-face, it augments it. The media talks a lot about "digital natives" but often misses the truth that we are all still human. Twenty years of technology don't undo thousands of years of the need for community, sharing, and helping.

As we plan our 2017, we think not just about what we can say, but where we can be and how we can better demonstrate the things we believe in, what's important to us and what matters most.  Travel is expensive and time-consuming but in the end, our ability to show up and be present is still the thing that can't be automated or outsourced. 

The Art of Modern Video

It's impossible to underestimate the value of videos in today's marketing environment. Video isn't just the bulk of internet traffic, it's become the bulk of how we entertain ourselves but also how we learn, and how we communicate. 

But video is far more than simply turning on a camera or phone and letting things unfold. Online attention spans are still short and videos have to deliver an engaging message with a handful of minutes. Writers are often told that the first few sentences are critical for engaging the reader and the same is true with video. If you don't engage your viewer quickly they will move on. Title cards and beautiful imagery can hook the viewer early letting them know what they will be seeing.

In real estate our friends at Concierge Auctions are masters at this. There recent video, showcasing the full auction process of a Bahamian island is a great example because it includes not just stunning imagery but also tells a story through interviews, action shots of the auction in progress and music that helps augment the story. 

Well done videos today need to function both with sounds and without. Frequently a viewer encounters video either in a social media stream or online, with the sound turned off.  Getting a viewer to turn up the sound at all becomes the first objective for many videos these days.  

Adweek recently ran a fascinating article on how those ubiquitous Tasty cooking videos you see on Buzzfeed are created. The metric they judge success by isn't just views but shares. We are bombarded by videos on a daily basis, for us to pause, watch, and then decide to share, a video must not only entertain but also have value. 

If, as Gary Vaynerchuk says, every entrepreneur is a media company, video is a major and essential component of that and worth careful study. Pay attention to the videos that compel you outside of the real estate space and think about the ways you can adapt them to your world. Notice how music, imagery, and storytelling come together and the role emotion plays. As any real estate agent knows, each client, each property, and each transaction have elements that make them unique, part of successful real estate videos lie in finding and telling those stories. 

Real Estate's Planting Season

Often as we head into mid-November, things get a little quiet. We had a fantastic time with our clients and friends at N.A.R. Annual but we can feel everyone already focused on 2017. It's human nature to strive toward a new year but it often seems that we rush through the last two months of the year in our hurry to get to the new. 

November and December though have incredible value in any business. Our co-founder Deidre Woollard recently wrote on Inman.com about how to take advantage of these two months in two key ways: first by using the natural social calendar that pops up this time of year to connect with more people and second, by preparing for 2017 and starting now on what we traditionally call new year's resolutions by getting organized and creating great habits now. 

Our "no-slack" November includes our founder Audie Chamberlain's trip to Nicaragua with Giveback Homes at the end of the month. Our "do it" December includes one of our favorite events of the year, Worthshop, this year in Oahu. 

The year isn't over until December 31. Some agents we've worked with have told us that these are their most successful months simply because it can be when others are less responsive and less engaged. We call it the planting season because the work we do now will pay off in the future.