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 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. 

The Orchestration Of A Moment

A rebrand is a unique project. It may seem like a simple swapping out of images but in our experience it always represents months and sometimes years of thought and effort to get it right. Each detail represents a particular nuance and idea.  

At their ninth annual Global Symposium in Amsterdam, October 23-25, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® unveiled their new look with a dramatic reveal to an audience of brokers of independent real estate companies from over 30 countries around the world.

The logo, created in conjunction with our friends, real estate branding experts,  1000watt, reflects Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE), status as a signifier of quality. The membership is comprised of over 550 independent real estate firms that are leaders in their local markets and have demonstrated excellence in service delivery and results. The logo had to be able to stand alongside a wide variety of brands and adds the assurance that the companies that are LeadingRE members are able to provide connections around the world.

Special focus was giving to the word ‘Leading’ and the designers decide to create a visual hierarchy with the words to progress them from the old logo.  The design team hand created the ‘Leading’ script typeface in order to create something completely unique. Once the logo was created and approved, then the project of showcasing it to the world began.

Each member received a welcome marketing package including marketing materials, special gifts, and a complete brand guideline packet. The live event was orchestrated in Amsterdam and then announced via video to the world. The combination of technology, being able to see it happen in Amsterdam,  combined with the visceral experience of receiving new materials with the logo is what made this experience memorable for the LeadingRE members. The logo has been well received by the worldwide membership who were able to share the excitement together. 


How a PR Firm Gets Into The Product Business


As a PR company we sometimes liken ourselves to a NASCAR team, we don’t just represent brands we love, we wear our hearts on our sleeves (and laptops). When we decided to build our firm one of the things that was most important to us was that we work with companies who did work we loved and who aligned with our common vision. Doing a co-branded product with a firm we represent was a natural evolution of this. 

We are a bit different than other PR firms in that we didn’t start our business out of a love of public relations, we started with a love of real estate and the people we’ve met during our years of connection in the industry. 

When we worked with agents we started to realize just how much knowledge and intelligence it takes to understand the ins and outs of the real estate market. Every agent is their own business and has to both demonstrate expertise and do so in a way that appeals to their client base. Every detail, every mention, every piece of marketing contributes to how they are viewed in the community and to their bottom line. 

That’s why we are so proud to introduce our collaboration with W+R Studios, the new Luxe edition to the popular Power Packs for Cloud CMA. CMAs are so important to how an agent is represented. They are the document that clients really consider and they tell a story in every small detail. Cloud CMA are the leaders in creating beautiful and easy-to-understand reports both quickly and comprehensively.

We worked with Michael McNamara of Shooting LA, someone we considered the most talented real estate photographer in the business to select the most beautiful shots for these covers. Michael has shot some of the area's most impressive homes including properties owned by Kanye West, Madonna and many more. We hope you love these covers as much as we do. 

Check out the Luxe Power Packs here:


Defining Luxury In The Modern Age

What makes an experience, a product, or a service luxury? Luxury is more than a label, it's a combination of what a brand delivers and what it represents. While the word luxury sometimes loses its meaning through overuse, true luxury is a level above what is expected. Some of the brands we most respect as a company deliver on this promise every day. 

Luxury is a moving target. Some of friends in the real estate press have talked of an amenities race in luxury developments and we've certainly seen this in projects like Waiea that take the expected amenities of pools and fitness areas and then add on a theater and performance space, dog park, quiet lounges and more. 

Venerable brands such as Ritz-Carlton know they have to do more today than they did yesterday. That's why the company has taken the step of having an innovation database that gathers up ideas from their properties all around the world. Together employees contribute to this living and breathing experience of luxury that continues to surprise and delight their guests. 

Recently in an article for Luxury Daily, Pam Danziger compared two brands, one esteemed and legendary, Montblanc, one current and trendy, Shinola. Both brands deliver on a specific set of values and while each may appeal to a different personality, each balances both a sense of timeless tradition, history, and craftsmanship with a sense of sophistication and creativity that feels fresh, personal, and individual. 

This week Inman brings its Luxury Connect event to Beverly Hills. The conversation centers around real estate but also around what the true nature of luxury is. Our clients who are speaking at the event including Ben Bacal of Roofshoot, Paul Boomsma of Luxury Portfolio, and Chad Roffers of Concierge Auctions are more than just people involved in luxury real estate, they are students of luxury as a whole. Each has spent time learning not just the demographics of their audiences but the true psychographics of the motivations and aspirations of the luxury buyer. Join us this week for plenty of stimulating conversation, and yes, a fabulous party or two. 


The Value Of Your Face

We've known for a long time that video is taking over the internet but the shifts in the last few months to live broadcasts have been dramatic and have truly changed how we receive information. As more and more people discover Facebook Live, Snapchat, and Instagram stories, our feeds are increasingly full of little vignettes of people living their lives and talking to us directly from their phones and laptops. 

Sometimes a technology comes along before the public is ready to adopt it. When Flip cam first came out, the early adopters rushed out and made videos that by today's standards seem a little rudimentary.  Just as with the early e-readers, the audience wasn't quite ready and the early days of live video were mostly confined to a few technologists. Now video is everywhere and for some people that may not be great news. Being on camera may not be everyone's favorite task. 

It's not easy putting your face out there, but it is what moves the needle in business. Just as we need to be face-to-face with our clients, they also need to see our faces on video and to see us, not as stylized and beautiful flawless presenters, but as humans, who smile and speak and occasionally flub a sentence or two. 

Brad Inman and Danielle Riley recently started Inman Provoke partly because it was a natural evolution of what Inman has always done, move the conversation in real estate forward. Getting two or three people together to talk about the news of the week is a fast and fun way to deliver a lot of information quickly.

The printed word isn't going away, podcasts aren't going away, but video both live and recorded, is increasingly a smart way to communicate. For the camera shy, starting with Snapchat can be a fun way to get your feet wet, the filters can be like wearing a mask and the videos aren't long and disappear in 24 hours.  As Ben Bacal said in his Provoke episode with Danielle Riley, the ability to be on camera easily is a muscle that you have to train. 

Decades ago, people would train in speech classes and be videotaped giving speeches so that they could learn their tics and habits. Now we can do this for ourselves nearly instantly, we just need the courage to watch ourselves and to be willing to experiment.

Check out the two recent episodes of Inman Provoke featuring Ben Bacal of Roofshoot and Chad Roffers of Concierge Auctions below and be sure to tune in every Friday for the live broadcasts.

What It Takes To Rank

In the past year we've learned a lot about starting a company.  Many people start a company every year even knowing that the odds may be against them. According to the Small Business Administration,  only 66% of small businesses will survive their first two years.  What it takes to go the distance varies but a strong mission, a great team, and a customer-centered mindset can take you a long way.

In a couple weeks, the Inc. 5000 will convene in San Antonio for the annual conference and celebration of these businesses who have achieved the honor of being named to the Inc. 5000. These companies are the fastest growing private companies in the United States. Inc. calls these businesses the superheroes of the U.S. economy because they provide innovation, jobs, and growth.  The list showcases the ingenuity and determination of those who found companies and are able to help them thrive.

We are honored to work with three Inc. 5000 companies who have made the Inc. 5000 list for multiple years in a row. Each of these companies isn't just a fantastic team, they are also consistently evolving. In the last year, Concierge Auctions rolled out the Instant Gavel app providing customers the ability to bid on a property with a few taps of a screen. W + R Studios brought the CloudMLX product to the market and quickly nabbed an Inman Innovator award for the Most Innovative Technology. Hawaii Life, marked their eighth year and the launch of their vacations subsite designed to connect vacationers with the temporary home of their dreams. 

In each of these cases, the company had a strong and successful core business but also had the courage and vision to augment their original offerings to better serve their customers. This is at the core of what it takes to be a bold private company in today's ever-changing world. 

In a presentation at last week's Encon conference, our founder Audie Chamberlain reminded the audience of the Isaac Newton quote: "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." Working with the best means we get to see a little further than most. Follow these companies, they are ones to watch and may help you see a little further too. 

Innovation Is A Moving Target

When do you know you've made it? Is it when you get the big deal, ink that huge contract, get that big promotion? 

These days the concept of "making it" being a permanent platform of ascension seems at best a bit naive. Things are always changing, and, as our client Ben Bacal, shown above speaking at C.A.R. Expo says, you are only as good as your last deal.

That's a lot of pressure, only being as good as your last deal. It means two things, the first is that you are starting fresh each time. You have more experience certainly but that experience is not a guarantee of success, it's simply proof you have done it before and can potentially do it again. The second thing it means is that you raise the bar for yourself a little higher each time. We only ascend when we continue to challenge ourselves to do more.

It's easy to stay complacent, it's easy to groan when there is yet another new technology or platform to adopt to. It's easier to say no. In her talk this week at C.A.R. Expo, Lisa Fettner of ReferralExchange gave three keys to adopting to new social platforms: be consistent, be relevant, and don't be afraid to have fun. 

Those are actually three good keys to anything in life. Careers are no longer linear or assured. Brands can be here today and gone tomorrow. But if we are resilient then we show up, we do the work, and we adapt to the times, we stay humble, and we keep moving forward. And we can be proud of ourselves when we take on something new as well as laugh at ourselves when mastery isn't immediate.  

Ben Bacal is one of the country's top real estate agents. He still door knocks as many agents do when they are starting out. He knocks on fancier doors now and with a billion dollar sales record behind him but that's not what he leads with, he leads with how his experience can help the person in front of him, in this moment.

As we innovate, we do it with an eye toward the end goal, so that we can be of value, today, and tomorrow, no matter what the future brings. 

Heading To C.A.R. Expo

The annual California Association of Realtors® Expo is one of the country's biggest real estate events. It's also a great time to connect with our clients and friends who work with and support California real estate and California Realtors.

We are kicking things off on Tuesday with with App-y hour. This is part of the Expo's Tech Tuesday focus that centers on the ever-growing role of technology in real estate. We are so excited to see the Roofshoot app (now in beta!) in the hands of the public. Come demo it and we promise you will be impressed. Our friends from W+R Studios will also be there showing off the magic that is Cloud Streams and Dizzle will be showcasing their app that easily connects homeowners and service providers. It all takes place from 10:10 a.m. - 11:40 a.m.  in Room 102 A/B.

Mystified by Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Periscope? Join Lisa Fettner, VP of Marketing at ReferralExchange for New Kids on Your Screen: Snapchat, Periscope & Instagram at 2:35 p.m. - 3:20 p.m. Room 104 C.

We wrap it all up on Tuesday with a meet up event hosted by Giveback Homes, ReferralExchange,  Summit Funding - The Mazzo Group, Exeter 1031 Exchange, and The Pango Group. Join us from 5-7pm at the Sky Room for networking with a view. 

On Wednesday we have two clients participating in the Broker Conference room 104B
Join Roofshoot founder Ben Bacal from 10:00 a.m.  – 10:45 a.m. for part of a panel called: The 90s Called, They Want Their Marketing Back. It promises to be a spirited discussion of how to evolve your marketing to suit today's consumers.

Hawaii Life's Matt Beall talks sustainable growth without sacrificing company culture from 2:00 p.m. – 2:45 p.m. as part of a panel called: Growing Your Firm - Tactics on how to build culture and grow as a company.

Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® is in a position to offer a unique view on real estate's international side. From 3:45 p.m. - 4:30 p.m in Room 102 A/B, Erin Koops, Executive Vice President of Member Services, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World will be moderating a panel of Communication Across All Borders. 

As part of Evolve Conference 2016 which takes place in Room 104 A Caroline Pinal, Co-Founder, Giveback Homes will be moderating a panel titled, Evolve Your Leadership, which will offer a thoughtful mediation on the changing workplace and how to lead across all levels. 

On Friday, Caroline will also be lending her expertise to Understanding the Generation Gap: Marketing to Appeal to All 9:45 a.m. - 10: 30 a.m. in Room 101 A/B.

We hope to see you there. Register at the C.A.R. Expo website.