Monday, April 18, 2011

WFIO - We’re F#%ked, It’s Over

I know blogging is all about "original content" but I read a lot of stuff that's just someone writing what someone else said in another blog but doing it less well. As such, I'll just post this lovely lovely blog and leave it at that.’s-the-most-difficult-ceo-skill-managing-your-own-psychology/

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Lose the poodle...

Warning. Real Estate communications can seriously insult your intelligence

There are few areas of the communications industry that still remain locked away in the 70's, but real estate is one of them.  Open up any paper in Singapore and you'll be confronted by nonsensical advertising that, frankly, insults the intelligence of even the most challenged reader.

Because I'm all about helping and not hating, here's a few suggestions for Real Estate developers and their agencies that I hope will be of use.

1. When you show your artist's impression of the building, don't photoshop out every other surrounding building and replace them with park land. We have eyes and most of us can process geographical landscapes. This is Ascentia Sky (ridiculous name I know) and it's on Alexandra Road at the junction of Tanglin road. Behind it is the building I live in which is the same height - I don't see that building in this picture. Also, when did the Alexandra Rd area become overrun by tropical forest?

2. Putting D' in front of a building's name does not make it either French, premium or desirable

3. Enough with the olde worlde copywriting and the use of super-sulperlatives. Who speaks like that? "Live in the lap of luxury, where pockets of modern facilities weave rhythmically amidst hanging gardens in the sky"


My advice is, if you've got nothing to say, say nothing...

4. When people visit your showroom, they are trying to imagine what their lives might be like in your new building. They are NOT trying to imagine what it would be like to live in Ivana Trump's trashier sister's apartment in central Moscow. Enough with the over filling of show flats with chintzy trinkets and awful decor. Who lives like this? Really?

5.  Cost conscious consumers get suspicious when the show flat building looks like Col. Gaddafi commissioned it. You may think it impresses people, but more likely it leaves them wondering "how much cheaper would the properties be had the developed not dropped that much cash on the showroom".   This is the D'Leedon showflat and it took 5 months to build.

6. Stop telling people what is aspirational, we are living in one of the richest countries in the world with the fastest growing economy in 2010. We understand aspiration. And, if you are going to insist on holding up an image of 'opulence' and 'sophistication' lose the poodle.

There's a lot of money spent on communications in the real estate industry, it would just be refreshing to see someone bypass the cliche and talk to consumers in the kind of language that most other luxury categories have managed to adopt. Would brands like LVMH or Cartier, that your target are very familiar with, ever communicate luxury in such a ham fisted manner? I don't think so.

Thomas Barnett on what's wrong with our military...

This is quite an old TED talk, but given what's going on in the Middle East/Africa currently it's well worth a re-visit. Barnett is very dry and very funny - I guess you need a sense of humor to work at the Pentagon.

Barnett's key point is that we have an excellent "Department of War" but we sorely need a "Department of Everything Else". NATO/USA can take down pretty much any military force in the world, however, it's increasingly about what happens next. Libya right now is an excellent example of this. We've taken down Gaddafi's military machine, however, what we do next is unclear from a political, military and reconstruction standpoint.


Count to ten and breathe slowly into the brown paper bag

Before I start, let me say I am not a technology laggard, a Facebook hater or in general a person who longs for a life more simple; filled with rotary phones and weekends at the allotment.
With that said, I gave a lecture last week at a University in Singapore (yeah, I know, scary) and was enjoying a post presentation coffee when I was approached by one of the students from the lecture. For about ten minutes, this nice guy gave me his point of view about all things technology and new media and why it was revolutionizing the world – all delivered with a Def Con 3 level of self confidence that only 3/4 of an MBA can give you.
My point to him was, that while all of this new stuff was exciting and consequential, it was important not to miss the fact that the underlying human motivations have not really changed and that these things he was fawning over were symptomatic of a more important and slower moving thing – humanity.
As you can imagine, this didn’t go down too well and the new media fawn-fest went on. I finally gave him an example of why I believed that the fundamentals of marketing had not in fact changed despite all the changes. My example was a simple one, that what’s at the heart of new media isn’t new at all, in fact it’s very old.
Since time began, humans have been about sociability – things that today we would readily attribute to things of a social media nature – storytelling, connecting, talking, sharing opinions, getting closer (1-2-1), building communities and exercising word of mouth. It’s just that in the past, before we lived in blocks of flats and flew around in planes, we didn’t need social media or things like that – in Roman times, the equivalent of ‘signing in’ to Facebook was knocking on a neighbor’s front door. Ebay was the forum and tweeting was done via a distinctly bricks and mortar pedestal called the Rostra.
To me, new media is simply old media fundamentals brought to life through new and constantly changing technology. What’s at the core remains pretty much the same – I think the quote is something like “technology changes, people don’t” – and I think we’d do well to keep this in mind.
Clay Shirky agrees with me too, which is nice. In a recent (excellent) McKinsey podcast he said the following of today’s net-generation “they’re not different kinds of people than we were when we were their age, human nature hasn’t changed. But, behavior is motivation filtered through opportunity [and today the opportunities open to people are different and greater]” I couldn’t have put it better myself, really.