I was going through Google Reader last Thursday when I came across a new post from the always enlightening 1000Watt blog titled, “The End of The Real Estate Story?” and which aims to answer that very question.
The argument of the post is that right now in 2009, the deluge of data available to consumers and the accessibility of information within the real estate industry has not heralded the end of the Realtor® profession like many have thought.
Rather, we have merely maintained the status quo – agents and brokers sell property, but the public still equates them with used car salesmen.
Something has to give.
Like the original post’s author, I think that the mostly likely event is that at some point the status quo will be radically bucked, for any number of plausible reasons, the least of which could have tomes written & debated about.
But that is not the point.
If you accept that change is a constant, the logical next step is to ask “how can I bring about that change?”
While I can’t profess to know the answer for real estate, I do know of one example where a product rocked an industry, and where the lessons learned are easily transferable.
Yes, you read that right. Glacéau’s wildly successful VitaminWater drink, which popularized the idea of “enhanced water” and who were acquired by Coca-Cola in 2007 for $4.1 billion. Cash. Not to shabby for company that started out as a one-man business in 1996.
Here are just a few of the things they did in order to change their industry, and in the process add more chapter to the story:
Create Your Own Market – Sure, there were drinks similar to VitaminWater before the brand even existed, but they were all lumped together in the homogeneous beverage category. Glacéau merely took the existing segment and began marketing it under a new name – enhanced water. It is much easier to market an old product under a new name than an entirely new animal.
Be A Sore Thumb – Go to any store that sells beverages and you will be greeted with an eyeful of outrageous logos, zany advertising, and similar packaging and messaging…and then you will see VitaminWater. The minimalist packaging & stark design is quite a departure from the norm, but to the consumer it is much more memorable and a reflection of the brand’s individuality. When change comes knocking, who would you rather be, one of the crowd or the rebel?
The Devil In The Details – So a consumer takes a gamble on VitaminWater and buys a bottle. Even if the product itself is subpar, the small details like the bottle notes can lead to gratifying and memorable experience. As, this post from the ÜberEye Marketing Blog says; “…Whether a customer smiles because of your product, your frontline employees, or from the overall experience they received, your customers will remember you.”
Be Culturally Intelligent – Hitting the right people at the right places can make be the make-or-break for a brand. By seeding your product or service with those who are influencers and change makers in your market you can be sure that you will be just as relevant (if not more) when these people make change. If VitaminWater were to give free drinks to the most popular kids in a high school you can be sure that the ROI for that school would be well worth it.
Agree? Disagree? Have the big answer? Leave a comment and join the conversation.