Dancing Hamsters and What Your Brand is All About…

Yo dude... I knows Real Estate

This weekend my wife and I went to see a movie. We chose to see the new flick by the director of “Miracle” entitled “Warrior”, which was good – although the story line was simply moved from the ice to the Ultimate Fighting ring. Spoiler alert… what you think will happen at the end does.

We arrived early as we usually do as I consider myself to be a “movie snob” and need to get a 125oz. Cherry Coke and 4 lb bucket of overly buttered popcorn to truly enjoy the show. As we were sitting there talking, we paid half attention to the now customary commercials for various products and upcoming TV shows that flashed the screen. Soon enough the previews rollled, lights were dimmed and the featured attraction started.

As we exited the theater, (me moaning about my stomach after consuming my customary 2500 calories of popcorn), two young ladies stopped us at a display booth near the exit and asked us if we would be willing to participate in a Nielsen survey about the movie we had just seen. I, thinking that there would be coupons for free popcorn or movies involved, jumped at the chance and she started her questioning… this is where it became interesting.

“Did you arrive at the movie early and watch any of the commercial?” she asked.  ”Yes” I replied.  ”Do you remember any of the commercials specifically?” she followed up.  At this i had to think for a minute.  I remember something about an upcoming Witches TV show, another had something to do with a symphonic performance showing in theaters… but then I remembered something that we had actually discussed.

“Hamsters…” I stated.

“Hamsters?” she said turning her head to us.

“Hamsters… the dancing hamsters with robots.  What are they for… Kia I think?  Their new SUV?”

“Yes”, she stated, “those are the Kia Hamsters.”

“Yeah, I remember the Hamsters.  I love those commercials.  They pick awesome music for the ads.”

She then launched into a 10 minute Q&A on Kia Motors and the Sorento SUV specifically.  My thoughts on the company, the car, etc. etc.  Truth be told I have never ever considered a Kia (and probably never will) but her questions got me thinking about the ad that Amanda and I had discussed (after my giggling fit in the theater), and what they were really trying to achieve.  Below is the ad we watched and two of my favorites – including their Super Bowl commercial from last year that features one of my favorite bands, The Heavy.

Here’s what got us thinking – the questions she asked REALLY had to do with Kia and the car specifically?  Here’s just some of them (and my answers) that I can remember.

“Does this ad make you think that Kia is a reliable car company?” – umm no.

“Does this ad make you want to go out and buy a Kia?” – nope… not at all.

“Does this ad make you think that Kia is a good value?” – not really.

“Does this ad make you think that Kia is innovative in technology?” – well yeah… it kind of does.

What these ads REALLY make me think is that they advertising company that Kia employed killed it for the 20 – 40 year old males that remember “Black Sheep” and are hip enough to know bands like the heavy.  They stick in my mind, they make me sing along, they even caused me to Google one of the bands that were featured “Those Darlins” and purchase their CD via iTunes later that night – (They sing the song “Red Light Love” – check it out here)  I’ll agree that some of the features shown on the car, (LED headlights, push button start, etc. are pretty cool – but this car kind of reminds me of a Scion), but what does it actually tell me about the car?  I mean if I’m out looking to buy a new car – here are some of the things I’m looking for:

  • Reliability – how often is it going to be in the shop
  • Performance – I’m a sucker for speed… how quick is it
  • Fuel consumption – no way I’m getting 15 mpg today
  • Technology – I want Btooth, Sirius, bells and whistles
  • Design – is it a good looking car
  • Safety – since I drive 90 mph… am I going to survive a crash?

Here’s my parallel to the real estate industry:  Today if you look at any of the conferences, trade shows, or online/offline trainings – what do they focus on?  Technology.  That’s the industry buzz words and something that has been beaten into the brains of 90% of agents both new to the business and experienced.  Most know more about SEO and WordPress than their local markets.  Even the marketing that goes out is geared towards things that don’t matter to most consumers.  Hell, the leading conference for our industry has their “Innovator” list that most strive to be a part of.

All of this comes down to the question I ask most agents I work with, “What is it that your clients want from you?”

I am yet to hear from an agent that works with a buyer or seller that states in their opening conversation, “so yeah… I’m looking for an agent that really knows their shit with SEO and lead conversion.  Oh, and if you don’t have an iPad that’s linked via Dropbox and using Docusign… you can leave right now.”  According to NAR and focus group studies that we have lead, the consumer is looking for a couple of really integral things:

  1. Know the current market like the back of your hand.
  2. Personally know the inventory in my market
  3. Have insight into the neighborhoods that I am looking to buy/sell
  4. Possess kick ass negotiating skills
  5. Be able to hold the deal together with a great team of attorneys, lenders, inspectors, etc.

This really isn’t about “back to basics” and I understand that technology CAN help you provide/know some of these things.  BUT, what are you really focusing your brand on?  Are you using killer beats and dancing hamsters to gain the trust and approval of someone that is looking to invest hundreds of thousands of dollars with you?  Are you “gimmicking” your way through business right now?  Take a minute to think about this.  I mean I love dancing hamsters and all – but that doesn’t mean I want to drive their car.  Do you?