The dangers of shape shifting

ShapeShifting.jpg

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D1vQJFF2TKQ[/youtube]

Art Alexakis' 1997 warning was serious, people.

Marc Davison at 1000watt delivers on experiential marketing potential today in his piece about the pool of opportunity for lifestyle marketing. (A pretty big pool in fact - he argues it's about an ocean's worth.)

"Lifestyle means little unless you breathe it and deliver the experience consistently.

If you want to distance yourself from your competitors, stop marketing property. You have the very same inventory as everyone else.

And stop marketing yourself. You don’t matter. Market what matters to the consumer. Their needs. Their wants. Their desires."

Marc argues there's an ocean of opportunity out there for those who truly get their customer and bring it to the forefront of their marketing efforts. Wendy Purvey from Sotheby's (a brand that elicits distinct reaction beyond a logo and press section) echoes this thought in the piece.

“....successful marketers will be the ones that identify the special tangible and intangible elements that will support a buyer’s unique lifestyle and interests…and they will speak to them in terms they understand and be wherever they are searching.”

With business getting busier, how much time does your brand spend holding an ear to the niche of your consumers? It doesn't take an expensive market research study to do this; an hour mining Google Analytics is a worthwhile start.

Too often we see brokerages trying to be everything to everyone because their buyer base is so broad. It takes a boatload of courage (and is often an uphill battle) for a brand to stand up and say “this is our customer, and we’re going to speak their language” to make this process as engaging as possible.

Admittedly these discussions aren't easy. I find myself dealing with a lot of the same challenges in delivering a mostly digital experience that speaks to brokers, publishers, investors, and web developers.

Those intangibles like the sensual symphony in a morning Starbucks run are the last things we often think about when we’re obsessing with bottom lines and ROI – which is a shame, because they’re the first things that can set us apart. A brand has done its job if it can deliver an emotional memory like Starbucks does for Marc. Equinox gym in New York does the same for me, with its refrigerators holding cold eucalyptus towels and distinct smell (the anti-gym one) radiating from its vents. It's easy to do that in person. The real challenge: delivering on the lifestyle promise in the digital space.

Image Credit: Aaron Fulkerson on Flickr.com