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A legend in the home building industry, Dave Miles, president of Milesbrand joined the show for a fascinating discussion on the importance of branding. It’s clear Dave has an incredible passion as he shares his knowledge of branding. Dave talks about consumer touchpoints, buying on emotion and how executing a brand promise creates trust. There are a lot of books on branding out there that you can buy, but it really doesn’t get much better than Dave Miles so listen in and learn from one of the top minds in marketing.
Dave Miles’ career spans more than three decades, during which he has served as president of three full-service advertising agencies. Dave is a recognized expert on branding and has spoken extensively on the subject throughout the United States. During his career, Dave has won numerous local, national and international creative awards, including 113 Gold Nationals from the National Association of Home Builders
In 2016, Dave was recognized as the 50th recipient of the new home industry’s most prestigious award: Legend in Residential Marketing. Dave has twice been named one of the 50 most influential people in the home building industry by Builder Magazine.
In 2014, Dave Co-Founded Strategus. The company pioneered the first programmatic OTT/CTV advertising campaign the following year. The Strategus Managed Services Platform produces real-time automated campaigns that instantly deliver custom, audience-targeted messages to CTVs and other internet-connected devices. Strategus leads innovation in data-driven OTT targeting, attribution, optimization, reporting, and analysis across all advertising inventories including display, paid search, paid social, and email. Serving clients coast to coast, the Inc. 5000 company’s strategic team combines proprietary algorithms, AI, and high-touch personal service to ensure that brands and agencies achieve maximum reach and results with the highest standards of brand safety and consumer trust.
Dave Miles created Miles Advertising 29 years ago in Denver, Colorado. Originally, the agency represented organizations in industries as diverse as technology, education, and real estate. Since 1998, Milesbrand has focused primarily on real estate, where it has helped to sell more than 30,000 homes and generate over $10 billion in revenue. Miles has worked with many of the leading real estate brands in the world, including Disney, Hines, Orco (the largest developer in Europe), Orvis, Newland Communities, General Growth Partners, Pulte Homes, Centex Homes, Shea Homes, David Weekly Homes, John Wieland Homes, The Seaside Institute, and Urban Land Institute of Colorado.
[00:00:00]Greg Bray: And welcome everybody to another exciting episode of the Home Builder Digital Marketing Podcast. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.
Greg Bray: And we are excited today to be joined by Dave Miles. Dave is the founder and president of MilesBrand. Welcome, Dave.
Dave Miles: Thank you so much, guys. It's great to be with you today.
Greg Bray: Well, Dave, I also have to say, you know, we can't ignore the fact that you are also the recipient of the legend of residential marketing awards. So [00:01:00] it's not often that we get to talk to a real legend. So, so we appreciate you being here.
But Dave, give us a short introduction of yourself for people who don't know you yet.
Dave Miles: Well, uh, you know, I've been doing this for quite a while. Um, I went to school on an art scholarship, and, uh, then I went to Hallmark cards as a book designer where I, I met my future wife and, uh, moved back to Denver and, started getting into a creative business.
But, as an individual I'm, what's known as a trailblazer. And that's someone that can, uh, see the future. Somebody that has a vision, someone that can, uh, identify opportunities that are not evident to everyone. And so that's helped me, uh, in numerous ways, especially from creative development, but also from business development.
And so, uh, I also have what I would call a God-given ability to reduce complex problems into simple solutions. And then, uh, when I'm in front of clients, I have the ability to [00:02:00] ask very pointed questions, uh, getting to the root cause of, uh, where there are problems occurring or opportunities that are showing up for me.
And then I can, uh, literally offer, uh, real-time strategies and creative ideas around that. As I'm speaking. And for me, that was always normal. But as I progressed in my career, I realized that was one of the reasons that people were drawn to me because not everyone can do that. So, uh, that's been, uh, probably a key attribute that has helped me succeed.
And then from a personal standpoint, I'm a visual guy. I'm a visual learner. Um, I am, uh, turned on by art and sculpture and design and marketing, anything, fashion, anything visual nature, uh, that just inspires me and, and kind of drives my creative passion.
Greg Bray: So Dave, when you were, when you look back and you say, [00:03:00] okay, you were into art, how did you decide you wanted to take art and apply it to business and marketing?
What, where was kind of that point where you said, Hey, these can go together.
Dave Miles: Yeah, that's a that's a really great question. Um, when I went to school, I went to CSU, Colorado State University on an art scholarship. I had to go in and meet with my advisor my first day, just find out what grade point average I needed to keep my scholarship.
And I was sitting in the hall and there were, um, covers of time magazine in the hall that students had created. And I'm like when I was growing up, we had time magazine show up every week and I loved reading it. And so I asked my advisor, I said, uh, what, what are those covers of time magazine out there?
And, and he said, well, that's from an illustration class. And students have created those. And that was their assignment. And I'm like, well, how could you do I get to do that? And he says, well, that's the area of graphic design. And I'm like, [00:04:00] what is graphic design? Right. So it was really more of an ego thing for me.
I'd be like, are you kidding me? I could, I could create a cover of Time magazine and it would show up on my parents' doorstep. That would be the coolest thing ever. And that led me into wanting to be an illustrator. Um, and I realized when I got hired by hallmark cards, they had the largest art staff in the world.
They had over 300 artists there. And it took me about two weeks to realize I was 301 on the depth chart. So I did have good design skills. And as I say, I was a visual guy. Uh, but once I got out of hallmark, I started a graphic design studio all by myself, one-man band. And I knew nothing. I should have went to work for an advertising agency so I could learn that business, but, uh, I didn't even know I should do that.
So it took me 15 years, uh, just to learn how to do good creative. And I really didn't understand it until I could finally hire [00:05:00] people from the agency world. Right. and then. I realized, uh, after years of doing that, that, I wasn't being very nice to people. I was transferring my fears, that I didn't know what I was doing.
And it, uh, it, it was brought to my attention and it was a turning point because I realized I had to work on myself before I could work on culture. Right. So, Uh, in the early nineties, MilesBrand, uh, starting, winning everything at the nationals awards, we were the first agency to really see the opportunity within, uh, the new home industry to do great creative, right.
But I, as a person and a leader at not yet learned, how to lead, and how to build culture. And so I started working on transforming myself around that so that people would, uh, not only enjoy the creative process but enjoy working with me. And then finally, to your point, Greg, um, I had to figure out how to make money at doing that because we weren't [00:06:00] making any money, but we were winning awards.
Right. So, uh, we changed our name to MilesBrand in 1998, because again, I saw it as a vision that what the industry needed was not another advertising agency. They needed somebody to bring it all together under the banner of branding. Right. So that was a major move for me. Uh, but it's been, I think, a lifelong quest.
For figuring out how to bring creativity into a business situation where you can Excel at what you love, but you also have to make money to stay in business. Right. And so learning how to make money helps you with your clients because they're hiring you so they can make money.
Greg Bray: Yeah, that was kind of exactly where I was going to go.
Next is the idea that yeah, you need to make money, but you make money by helping your clients make money. And therefore you have to not only know your business, but you got to know their business. And that's the kind of the key challenge of being an agency is to know both
Dave Miles: And [00:07:00] today, uh, Greg, that is even evolved into, the way that marketing is done today.
From when it was in 1998, we were selling things. And we had, we could run in magazines and media and we could tell our story in those traditional media ways. And we were telling people about us, right. Well, that's completely flip flop today. Um, there's no more telling there's no more selling. Uh, what it's evolved to today is seem to thought leadership and the ability to provide people with information that's important to them and allow them to make choices, right. They are overwhelmingly researching and looking before they ever contact a master plan community and give them information. so, the whole marketing process has flip-flop into I would say content development and, facilitating customer needs through what's important to them.
Greg Bray: That's a great [00:08:00] point. So, Dave, tell us a little bit about why you with, with all those different experiences you had, why you kind of zeroed in on housing and home building as an area you wanted to specialize in.
Dave Miles: You know, we were a small agency here in Denver and we were working on building our identity.
And again, I'm in this learning phase where, uh, I didn't really know what I was doing, but we were progressing and I hired an art director who had been in a big agency in LA and she realized I needed a lot of help. And so she invited me to go to dinner with one of her mentors who was retiring.
Yeah, we had this nice lunch. And at the end of the lunch, the guy says, well, Dave, that's really great. You know, I can see your passion and you're obviously talented, but tell me something, what makes your agency different than any other agents? And I'm like, Oh, that's easy. It's, it's our people in our creative.
And he kind of pushed back from the table and smile and he goes, Dave, that's the same thing. Everybody says that doesn't [00:09:00] differentiate. You. That was another turning point in my life because I was very troubled by that because I instantly knew that he was correct. And so I started thinking about, okay, what is going to make us different?
Because I wasn't really very interested in technology advertising or financial services. Um, and then we got an opportunity to compete for a master plan community here in Denver. We ended up winning that and we, uh, we then won a few nationals awards for the work that we did. Right. And I started to see this industry and look at it and I'm like, you know what?
As I look at the marketing surrounding a home builder marketing for a home that costs $300,000 and I compare what I see in the marketing for a $300,000 purchase with a pair of Nike sneakers or a BMW it's completely off-kilter right now. These marketing companies for these [00:10:00] brands, they have so many more resources they're able to elevate, uh, their products into a must-have if you will.
They're very cool. They're very sexy. Uh, but buying a home. Uh, the purchase price did not, um, measure up to a rather the marketing surrounding it did not measure up to the purchase price. So I saw an opportunity to try and elevate the marketing to be equal to the purchase price. And, uh, and that's really something we focus on constantly today trying to, uh, compete with brands we can never compete with that are setting expectations for people. Uh, and then, making that equal to the purchase price and the emotional price that people go through when they're purchasing a home.
Kevin Weitzel: How much more of an uphill battle do does the home building industry have, when you look at something like you mentioned a car shoe, [00:11:00] when BMW releases a, an advertising campaign, even if it's a localized campaign, it's not one dealership paying for that. It's 300, 400 dealerships crossing, a hundred paying for that across the globe, really paying for them. So how does a home builder validate and justify those expenditures to try to be on the equal playing field of those multinational multi-state brands?
Dave Miles: Yeah, that's a great question, Kevin. Um, about eight years ago, I started another company called strategists and uh, in, in 2015, Strategists was the first company to ever run a programmatic OTT CTV advertising campaign.
And that means over the top TV or connected TV advertising campaign for people that are streaming video today, uh, and they're cutting the cord. The only way you can reach those people is through OTT or CTV advertising. We were the first company to ever do that and our client was [00:12:00] Honda and it was for a tier-two auto dealership.
And the Carolinas, right? So those big brands are the first to innovate, right? And we were the first to show them a new way to reach their customers. This is just coming into the new home industry today. So traditionally the new home industry is very conservative. There are many good reasons for that on their part.
But the opportunity I saw, in the beginning, to innovate and bring new creative into the industry as has played well. Um, but I think, uh, they are challenged with, uh, they've always been late adopters to technology. Uh, the COVID situation has forced this sea change that, uh, everybody is jumping onto right now.
And, and one of the best things about that in my opinion is that video. We'll expand in many, many ways, very, very rapidly, but, very few, home builders are currently doing OTT CTV. I recently heard that BDX is now starting to offer that, as an option. [00:13:00] But, there is a lot of, technical, optimization background needed around that tactic to do it well.
But, uh, yeah, I think it's a challenge in the industry to be, there's not a lot of cutting edge stuff that happens in the industry, in my opinion. So that opens up an opportunity, right. there's plenty of opportunities. and one of the things I like about that, if you're talking about home builders, as opposed to master plan communities is, privately-owned home builders are able to adapt more quickly than publicly owned home builders.
Does that make sense?
Kevin Weitzel: It's does and I agree with, yeah.
Dave Miles: Yeah. So, so if I was to identify a potential home builder client, I would want to know that I had direct access to the founder or the owner. Uh, and understand, their attitude and their aptitude for, innovation and, uh, improving, through the tactics, through this tactic and others.
Greg Bray: So Dave, when you're talking to those, those owners and. [00:14:00] And you're struggling to get them to take the leap into that new idea, or what are some of the things that, that you do to help them be comfortable with trying something new or doing it a different way than they've done it in the past?
Dave Miles: Well, you know, you can very quickly find out, um, what, on a business owner where the pain is, right.
Um, typically business owners, entrepreneurs, Uh, are always looking for problems and they lose sight of what's working well, and that can often be a problem, but I'm the same way with my two businesses. I'm glad things are working well, but I'm always looking for, what's not working. Right. So if you're talking to the home builders, you know what I see today, and we're bringing out a new strategic partnership to address this soon that, uh, typically the owner of the business is asking himself.
Uh, if there is a problem, is it a sales problem or a [00:15:00] marketing problem? Right. And my answer to that is it's both because if you're asking yourself that question, you probably don't have a holistic revenue generation strategy. And what I mean by that is what I do see a lot in so many organizations. Is that marketing is a silo separated from sales, and there's not great conversation going on there.
And what needs to happen is this holistic strategy where the marketing team understands that they're there. Everything they're doing is to drive leads and, and to help the sales team convert those leads. Right? So, if you're talking to a business owner about potentially working with them, Uh, obviously you'd go to where their pain is, and then you can pretty quickly realize how open are they to innovation and doing things new, most entrepreneurs who have built businesses like that.
It's just such a risky business. You have to, [00:16:00] you don't have to have a lot of courage and drive. Uh, to be in that business and there's a lot on the line. So, um, I don't really struggle with it that much. It's just, uh, finding those people who we can align with that, that want and, and they can see what we've done.
We have such a long track record today. The people that are attracted to us want what, what they know we've done for other people. And we can get them in touch with the people we've worked with, who will endorse us. We have relationships, uh, several that are over 20 years long. So. Yeah. What we do with our clients is sustainable over time.
Greg Bray: Oh, that's terrific. That's terrific. So, um, you know, if we could go back just a second to the idea of brand dave, cause you, you talked earlier about how one of the things that you saw was the chance to bring things together under a brand. I know that. Maybe for the typical person off the street, I think of a brand is maybe a logo or some colors, but I think your definition of brand I'm going to assume is a little bit different.
[00:17:00] Can you, when you say brand, what is it that you envision as being part of that?
Dave Miles: Yeah, so I, I always describe our brand as an emotional bond that connects people with products and services. And the key to that is the emotional part. Um, branding is about connecting with people on an emotional level so that they will be motivated to take action.
The logic part of this occurs on the sales floor, where you really get down to the nitty-gritty. Right. But I am more convinced than ever that people purchase, uh, emotionally more than they do logically. Right. So, that means you need to be conscious of every touchpoint, right? So I believe that brands are visual, emotional, rational, and cultural images that people associate with a company or a product.
And how you manage that from an emotional level, how you connect with them, leads to a promise that you make about that brand. [00:18:00] Right? So we always do all down to a singular brand promise. That is the foundation for all communication. And when I say brand promise, uh, there are some very familiar brand promises that we all know my favorite is Target.
So Target was faced with, uh, competing against Walmart. They were both discounters, right? So they were both saying, um, pay less, target uh, created a strategy where they promise people to expect more. They brought in designers too, to, to, uh, create their merchandise. But, but the price didn't go up. Right. So Target's brand promises expect more, pay less, right?
And so that brand promise sets an expectation that is designed to differentiate from the competition and create a space in the consumer's mind. Right? The problem with home building is, uh, people don't purchase [00:19:00] a home every, every weekend. Right. Uh, they do it now. Even more infrequently than they did five years ago for all the factors that we're aware of the cost has gone up.
And, and, uh, it's, it's really more difficult, I think. Uh, so, uh, helping our, uh, our clients get to that place where they understand their brand, their, there, who, they're why, et cetera. And then they can drill that down into what they can truly promise with authenticity and then executing on that if they execute on that brand promise.
What happens, it produces trust. And that we, we say that branding is the process of producing trust. That's the whole idea behind it because in order to make a purchase, although it is emotional without trust, you won't cross over the line and, and, and determine what that is. So branding is truly the process of, uh, creating trust. [00:20:00]
Greg Bray: I love that definition. this whole idea that, that it has, you know, all the visual pieces that we typically think of, or just support elements when you describe it that way, you know, the idea that that's about, about connection. And trust. And now how do we create that? Well, with, with certain types of imagery or messaging or whatnot, that, that support that.
And, and, you know, you describe just a simple phrase about Target, and I know the hours and hours that go into coming up with that kind of a simple phrase is sometimes mind-boggling for a builder who is thinking, you know, we need to do a better job of this. What kinds of tips would you get? Where do you start in a process like that?
Dave Miles: Yeah. Well, let me just back up one second. Then, you know, we've been talking about how it affects the consumer. I really believe that this entire branding process is probably more important internally than it is externally.
Greg Bray: Great point.
Dave Miles: If you're a home [00:21:00] builder, it's different. If you're doing marketing for a master plan community.
The number one goal in my opinion is to create awareness for the community through beautiful lifestyle imagery that differentiates from a competition that creates this desire to learn more right. If you're doing marketing for a home builder, it literally comes down to lead gen and leads conversion all day long.
Because if they're set up right to take those leads through their, online sales counselors, you should be producing 30, 35% of their sales per year. Right. So it's a very different focus. It's not about awareness as much as it is about lead gen. Right. So, uh, then you back that up into internally making sure that you understand what your purpose of the business is, what your vision for the purpose or the vision is and what your values are because your values inform the internal team about the behaviors that you want them to, uh, adhere to. [00:22:00] Right. And getting everybody internally on the same page increases your productivity and efficiency externally, right?
It's seamless messaging throughout. And that's where it really gets fun. If you can create a culture around those values that is differentiated and the celebrating the people internally, uh, those people are going, gonna want to stay there.
Kevin Weitzel: I wholeheartedly agree. And actually my next question, you pretty much answered, which is basically the branding is about creating an internal culture that needs to be bought in at every level of the company.
So when your OSC is bringing you lead after lead, after lead that your sales team, that isn't buying into the set culture, isn't giving a lackluster performance, if you will, to that potential buyer. So yeah, I, 100% agree.
Dave Miles: Yeah, and it's easy to talk about and hard to do. Right. And I always say that branding is something that.
Is it starts and ends at the top. It's not something [00:23:00] you can hand off to somebody because you're too busy. Right. And if you don't understand that if you, if your vision values and purpose are not well defined, that that doesn't come from the heart of the owner on a home building company. Or the organizational team for that.
So on the development team of the master plan community, you're, you're really missing a huge opportunity because there are other competitors who do have that.
Greg Bray: I'm a, I'm a VP of marketing at a home builder listening to you today and I'm sitting here going my, my president or the owner just asked me to do what you were talking about and just said, go make it happen.
How do I, how do I push back? How do I go get that buy-in from the owner to make that happen?
Dave Miles: Yeah, well, I can't speak for everyone, but, uh, we have at miles span, uh, developed, uh, uh, a formal branding process, uh, for the real estate industry, if you will. Right. So our process begins with, [00:24:00] with research, right.
And, um, It takes the form of what we call a brand charrette. So many people have been through a design charrette, a brand shoe out is basically a, a brand audit. And we focus on four areas of that home building company and the most important one because we're looking for what is the DNA within that company that is going to differentiate it from the competition.
And most of the time business owners are not able to identify. Uh, something as unique as their own brand DNA. They need people from the outside who do this for a living to come in and help them. Right. So the first thing we looked at, if you envisioned four, uh, circles overlapping each other, the first circle is the organizational identity.
And that's so important because that organizational identity has a team of people. That no one else has. So it's loaded with experienced Brandy and DNA that no one else has as well. Right. And then we want to [00:25:00] know from that team, what is their purpose? What is their vision and what are their values? And it's amazing when you go through that process.
And uh, they say, yeah, we have that. And I'm a, what are they in? And they pull out a business card and they look on the back of the card and they start reading to you what their values are. And immediately you realize, uh, we have a huge opportunity to help these people ingrain this into their culture.
Right. And simplify it because they usually have about 18 core values that no one can remember. Right. So simplifying that into what I call the rule of three, right? People can't remember more than three. So our core values of miles' band are, are, um, uh, full engagement, respect, and growth. And we can explain that.
Right, but you don't have to remember more than that. So the first thing we do is go through this brand charrette and we start with the organizational identity, and then we look at the customer identity. Then we look at the product identity and competitive identity. [00:26:00] How those, how the organizational identity manages the other three circles, how they influence them and are influenced by them.
That's where the brand DNA is right there. And it's, it's a formal process. It's really thought-provoking for the clients that go through it. Right. And then we take them through a bunch of other exercises about, you know, if your company were a car, you know, what car line would it be? It would be a Mercedes-Benz.
Would it be a, a mini, you know, is it a Ford pickup? Uh, just helping people visualize in different ways. The hardest question we ever ask them is. If your company was a famous person, who would it be that gives people headaches. Right? Um, but then, the whole point of this process is to raise their consciousness of how intentional they are about branding and how well they know their own brand.
We come back in 30 days with a way to position that this company based on what we've learned, and this is where we bring the value [00:27:00] because it results in a brand promise. That we talked about before, right? That becomes the promise they make internally and externally to their consumers. And if you can get a brand promise into three or four words, The power of that first becomes internally because when somebody says, okay, uh, Dave, you work for XYZ builder, what do they do?
And you say, you know, I used to just start to make it up on your own. Right. But if you can say, well, you know, we're about, uh, you know, XYZ builder is about, Expecting more, but paying less for this home. Uh, if everyone in the organization starts every conversation with the same four words to describe what that company does, it's very, very powerful.
Right? You really get this momentum around that, that then moves into the marketplace. So once we can tell them how to position against competition, then we can go into the visual [00:28:00] and the words that are going to be more exciting and more and connect with people on a deeper emotional level.
And then we go into finally a brand plan. You know, we collaborate with that marketing director on how to go to market, what tactics we're going to use. What's our digital strategy. What's our realtor strategy. What's our traditional media strategy. What events are we going to do and so forth, but it really begins with examining those four circles.
Kevin Weitzel: And during the, uh, car and actor exercise has any company you've ever consulted with ever used Yugo or Gilbert Godfried.
Dave Miles: No, you need to check it probably needs to join the brand charrette with me from now on.
Greg Bray: Yeah. What's Kevin's brand. Yeah, that's a whole nother question,
Dave, I'm sitting here listening to this going. Um, yeah. Blue Tangerine has some work to do. I'm trying to answer these questions in my head while you're asking
I just, I, I can, I know some of them, but I, but I know my team would not necessarily all come up with the same answer every time.
Dave Miles: Greg, [00:29:00] let me interrupt you real quick. That's exactly. What's supposed to happen with this kind of conversation. Cause you're a business owner. Right. Every business owner knows they are not Bulletproof. They have weaknesses, so many of them. Right. But I love that. Now you're thinking about your company from this conversation.
I hope everybody listening is doing the same thing. One of the things I want to do with my life is I didn't have a mentor. I didn't go to work for another company. It took me so long to figure this stuff out. I just want to share it and make it easier for anybody that can, that it's meaningful for. So this is so gratifying for me to be here with you today and see your brain going like that.
Thank you so much for bringing that up.
Greg Bray: Oh, well, my, my pleasure, you know, I'll, I'll take whatever help I can get, cause I sure haven't figured it all out yet. That's for sure. That's for sure. Well, uh, David, there's just a slight twist on the topic. Cause I heard a presentation. You did a couple of years ago where you talked about, um, this acronym of FOMO.
And it was something that [00:30:00] I at that time was not familiar with, particularly. And then since I've heard some others mention it, but what I'd like you to kind of share what that is and how that fits into all of this, um, uh, Marketing.
Dave Miles: Yeah. Fear of missing out. Right. So, uh, This, uh, idea was identified by, uh, uh, I think it was a Harvard professor.
I can, as far back as 1984, um, and it really became much, much more pertinent through social media. Uh, and today it's now an epidemic within our society that is causing record levels of anxiety. It's become a very, very sad thing where people are seeing other people at parties, but they didn't get invited to it on social media.
And now they're experiencing this terrible reaction of fear of missing out. So, uh, the way that we leverage this, uh, this strategy, what I would call a strategy today is when we're launching a master plan community, We [00:31:00] have a process, a presale process. Where we start to build an interest list. And as we're building the interest list, uh, we're nurturing those leads all the way up to, uh, an information meeting, right?
So we don't want to give away our secret sauce about that community. We just want to build the list up to as many people as we can so that when we have that information meeting, We have at least 200 people show up at the same time to get the real skinny, right. To meet the builders and to actually see the floor plans and the exterior and the pricing, because we don't release pricing and tell that event.
The most important thing about that event is that we have 200 people who have already given us their information. So we know they're interested and they're waiting to find out if it's gonna work for them or not. And so, uh, at the end of the event, we let them know, listen, um, we're so happy you're here.
This is going to be a [00:32:00] fantastic place to live. And, uh, the plans are great. The builders are awesome, but we're only going to be releasing 10, uh, homesites. And if you want to be one of the first to get the lowest pricing in this community, then the next step for you tonight is to sign up for our priority list.
And if you sign up for that list, that gets you into the process of participating in a lottery that we're going to have in two weeks, where are we going to release those lots now behind the scenes? We've got 200 people who are now self-selecting and what's what happens is there is a definite profile we see over and over and over of people who want to be the first.
They want to be in the know they want to be the smartest person in the room to get the home at the lowest price. Right. And so those people sign in, they get pre-qualified by their lender. They have to give us some money to show up. And then we, uh, we release [00:33:00] those lots. Um, I've had one event where there were 50 people there and we asked the son.
10 year old. Great little boy to hold this hat in front of everybody where we picked out names. Right? Well, his parents were 46. He was humorous and sad at the same time. But the whole idea though is psychological. Once, once you've signed up and you're, you're really kind of buying into this and before the event and you show up at the event, now, now your emotion and your enthusiasm, advising people who sign up for the next step have just demonstrated their fear of missing out.
They don't want to miss out. Right. And so they're committed. So that's, that's kind of how we use that as a marketing strategy to launch a community and end up. The deeper idea behind that is we want a [00:34:00] backlog of interested buyers from day one. We don't want to go out there and develop that once we open our models.
Right. So we have a community here in Denver called a stepping stone, Shea homes, community. We wrote the vision for this community. They executed it really well. We implemented this strategy and we started in 2013 and they are just selling out this year. They've had a backlog of buyers from day one with this strategy they've never, ever had to look for buyers.
Greg Bray: That's amazing. That's amazing. That's a long time too.
Kevin Weitzel: Well, it's funny that Dave described the opposite of me. I'm the guy that goes in and says, what's that horrible lot that nobody wants the oddest floor plan. Cause I don't care how you chop it up. It really doesn't matter. Even a spec that you made a mistake on a wall and you put it in the wrong spot.
And it's a little bit out of plum on that guy. I'll take that deal and just get that puppy off the books.
Dave Miles: You know, we've got one of those under some [00:35:00] power lines waiting for you.
Kevin Weitzel: This brain is already warped. I can't get affected by the lines of magnetic flux anymore.
Dave Miles: It's only so much we can do.
Greg Bray: And Dave, we see this a lot.
I think instinctively when people say, well, you know, sale ends tomorrow, you know, kind of hurry up or, you know, limited quantity available. You know, these are all. Fear of missing out phrases, right that you see in messaging. Okay. Just making sure I kind of
am connecting the dots there with what you're talking about, but I think, I think that's an amazing strategy and, uh, and I'm sure that it takes, uh, a lot more work than just the five minutes you took to describe it.
I often describe it as a scarcity strategy as well, right. Because scarcity creates value. And the, uh, the presentation I made that you heard on FOMO. I think it was in, uh, Florida. Yeah. I gave an example of diamonds and how diamonds are marketed as a scarce, as a scarce resource. Right. But it was in [00:36:00] the 1930s that DeBeers brought this campaign out.
And before that. Time people did not give diamonds as engagement rings on a regular basis. And they created this idea about, uh, that's the best thing you could do. And they created how much money you should spend on it. Three months' wages and all this stuff. And the reality is that diamonds are not scarce at all DeBeers controls the diamond market and they only release, uh, you know, a certain number of diamonds per year to create that, that artificial scarcity.
The FOMO strategy for real estate is exactly the same thing.
Greg Bray: Fascinating, So if I didn't get a diamond in my what, I'm not sure where that leaves me now.
Dave Miles: Then you go back to branding. Right? So let's talk about that one more step. Uh, when you buy into that strategy about, uh, giving that diamond, which we all do, who are you going to buy it from?
What's the experience. If, if you, [00:37:00] uh, do you guys have Tom Shane where you live, you ever heard of that? Tom Shane, how about Zales?
Kevin Weitzel: Zales, we got Shane and co.
Dave Miles: Alright. Alright. You're gonna go propose, right? And, uh, you plan this dinner, you got it all worked out. And, uh, you get down on your knee and you whip out that Zales box and you open it up and you know, the person you're giving it to is in love and it's going to be fantastic.
She's going to be thrilled. Right. Does that experience, is it elevated if it comes in a Tiffany box?
Kevin Weitzel: It depends on the person.
Dave Miles: I think not. I think universal if you get a diamond in a. Blue Tiffany box. They get a premium for what you pay because it's packaged. They own a color in every woman's mind and it says quality.
And I love you more and I'm willing to [00:38:00] spend more on you, right? And, and I use that as an example of branding all the time because that's a packaging strategy to increase value because buying a diamond is a blind purchase. None of us know the quality of a Zales diamond, any more than it than a, uh, uh, a Tiffany diamond.
But Tiffany does a better job of branding.
Greg Bray: Now and, and Dave, I guess, just to, just to tweak that back to home, building for a second. When we start thinking about the idea that people are becoming more comfortable with of buying a home sight unseen or unvisited, that's starting to move into now. Right? It's kind of the idea that I have to buy a diamond on trust because I really don't know, um, what, what is, but I'm trusting the brand of what I'm getting.
And so I kind of see a similar thing. If I'm going to buy a house that I haven't visited. It becomes more and more a brand trust purchase even more so than it than it does. [00:39:00] If I have, you know, being able to kick the tires so to speak. Now I'm mixing analogies, but what do you think about that idea?
Dave Miles: Oh, it's right on.
I mean, what did we say before branding is the practice of producing what trust? So if you're going to go to a virtual purchase scenario, we have a couple of clients. Uh, going that direction right now. Now you have to think through your entire marketing process, uh, at each touchpoint in a different way to create that trust.
Right? So a big part of that is making it easy, um, uh, making it simple and then investing in your brand over time so that when they investigate who you are through numerous sources, you're Bulletproof there as well. Right. So, uh, it's about, uh, trust is about reputation, right? So what's your reputation with the realtor community?
Well, they may not need a realtor if they're buying virtually. Right? [00:40:00] So if, if. If the one trusted source that is there to represent you, who's a professional in the real estate industry is no longer needed. Now it's only between seller and buyer. And so, uh, it, it's probably not as much as we think just about the price, right.
I think it goes beyond that, that you still want that emotional connection and you have to have that trust for somebody to sign on their DocuSign with ever, without ever having a conversation in person. I believe, uh, that is, uh, a realistic future. For entry-level housing. I'm not sure it's going to go, uh, deeply beyond that.
Uh, we'll have to see, we're also seeing throughout the country now, uh, uh, skip lot or, uh, scattered lot strategies coming into play, where there are these aging neighborhoods, uh, close to [00:41:00] major employment centers where people would love to live. They just don't want to live in those 80-year-old homes. And now builders are starting to pick up on that and they're doing individual scrapes and they're putting brand new product in there and people are really responding to that as well.
Greg Bray: Oh, Dave, this is, this has been awesome. I could keep going, but I want to be mindful of your time that you've shared with us today and we're kind of getting to the end here. So, um, just in thinking of all the things that, that you've learned over the years and what would be one piece of advice that you would want to leave with our listeners today?
Dave Miles: Uh, well, you know, what I see is, uh, there's, there's kind of two kinds of people, um, and I'm drawn to the kind that is curious and wants to learn. Um, and so I look for people who are reading, uh, about the industry. Um, I'd rather hang around people that are reading [00:42:00] either how to improve themselves or to learn about the industry than people who are reading a trashy novel, you know, to pass the time.
I mean, it's just a bias on my part. I like to be around people who, who want to improve things who are, who are competitive and who want to get after it, who want to improve their own lives as well. Right. But that said, um, You know, uh, my CFO sent me a, uh, a Ted talk a few days ago and it was this monk and he was talking about happiness.
And this is my final thought for people today. And his theory was happiness is the result of gratitude and gratitude comes from this free gift. It's not a gift that we can purchase. And it's not a gift that we deserve. Every moment. The breadth [00:43:00] of life is given to us moment by moment by moment. And we lose track of that.
We take it for granted, cause it shows up automatically it's a free gift. So reminding ourselves every moment throughout the day, it should be grateful. So that ability just to live effortlessly and then passing that on, treating other people in the same way, gratitude is absolutely one of the best qualities that we can possess as human beings, because it shows, uh, I think intellectual and spiritual maturity, and it's something we learn over time.
So, uh, I'll leave it at that. I'm grateful that you guys had me on today. How's that?
Greg Bray: I was just gonna say, and we're grateful that you are with us and have shared so much. Thank you, Dave. We really appreciate you talking with us today. If people want to connect with you and learn a little bit more, what's the best way for them to do that.
Dave Miles: [00:44:00] firstname.lastname@example.org. My phone number is 3038802531. love to talk to you about anything.
Greg Bray: Awesome. Well, Dave, again, we appreciate you talking with us. Thanks, everyone for listening, and be sure to join us next time. I'm Greg Bray with Blue Tangerine
Kevin Weitzel: and I'm Kevin Weitzel with Outhouse.
Greg Bray: Thank you.