Twitter Me This

Mariana Wagner posted a video to Twitter the other day that caught my eye.  In it, a man receives a call on his cell phone, and suddenly, he’s surrounded by hundreds of people all ready, willing and able to meet his need at that exact moment.

Watch …

Brilliant Ad?  Or Cheesy Catchphrase?

Is this a brilliant use of a marketing campaign, or simply a catchphrase that’s past it’s time?  On the one hand, the idea seems tired … note the number of people in the background saying over and over, ad nauseum “can you hear me now?”.  YES PEOPLE, I HEAR YOU!  SHUT UP!  Verizon’s been running this Network idea for years, asking “Can you hear me now?” more times than I care to count.  The catchphrase has run it’s course, and Verizon’s just shoving it down our throats again.

But wait.

Now that I think about it, note the number of people in the background asking “can you hear me now?”!  Within seconds of seeing the Network moving toward them, people knew exactly what it was, and what the phrase was.  They got it, they said it, they repeated it … is this exactly the kind of reaction Verizon wanted people to have?  A viral reinforcement that the Network REALLY EXISTS?

So What?

The idea of a brand is nothing new, particularly when it comes to real estate.  Your brand might be a symbol, or a catchphrase, but it’s a visual and memory cue that sets you apart from everyone else.  The McDonald‘s Arches.  Chick fil A‘s “Eat More Chikin”.  State Farm‘s “Like A Good Neighbor” program.  Simple stuff, of course, but we’ve all seen The Cows and thought of Chick-fil-A, or the arches and wanted a milkshake (I promise this post isn’t about fast food).  A brand is a description of you.

It’s also a promise.  It’s a promise that, like your good neighbor down the street, State Farm will be there for you.  That’s where I think Verizon gets the ad right – they’re making a promise that they’re going to throw the weight of their expertise behind each and every call, because the next call you make may be the most important one of all.  Think the people who saw this in person aren’t going to think of Verizon the next time they get a cell phone, or upgrade their contract?  Think some of them didn’t go home and tell a family  member, or friend, about what they saw and experienced?

It just got me thinking about what people would say about my brand, and about our industry.  What do we need to do to get people talking, in a good way, about the value we’re adding to their real estate transactions?  How can we set ourselves apart, one client at a time, and create Raving Fans?  Here are three suggestions to do just that:

1.  Highlight your strengths.  It’s impossible to be everything to everyone, to serve every real estate need.  When I show land, it’s obvious I don’t know what I’m doing.  I want clients to be confident in my abilities, and know that I’m a pro.  Do what you can be great at, and refer the rest.  If you’re awful at details, consider hiring an assistant, or using some kind of transaction management tool to make sure nothing is missed.

2.  Make sure your skills match the client’s needs.  I can be the best agent in the world at selling Blacksburg homes, but if my client wants to live in Christiansburg I’d better be confident I can adjust and serve well there, or know how to get them in touch with someone who can.  Think – square peg, round hole.

3.  Overdeliver. Each and every time, overdeliver.  An agent in Miami mentioned – on Twitter (seriously, why are you not on there?) – this afternoon that she had a client tell her today “you have changed my perception of REALTORS®”.  He had swore he’d never work with another real estate agent, and yet she showed him value he just couldn’t find elsewhere.  WHAT a compliment!  Think she overdelivered to get that kind of praise?  I’m sure she did!  Make them remember you.

Can You Hear Me Now?

Verizon’s ad works, in my opinion, because (a) it’s humorous, and (b) it reinforces our trust in the product.  We trust the phone’s going to work when we need it to, and Verizon wants us to believe they’re there for each and every call.  The Network is the representation of that product.  Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the ads get people talking about Verizon – which is EXACTLY what they want.

What are people saying about you and me?