A Tale of Two Cereal Companies

April 9, 2024

So…how about that landmark settlement news, huh?

Here’s the picture in my head.

It’s like NAR saw that we were all a BIT too invested in the Kate Middleton fiasco online…

Or, you know, too enmeshed in the ongoing dialogue swirl re: depressing interest rates…

So it decided to rub its antsy little hands together and give us some NEW news. (Because, you know, agents just ain’t frazzled enough)…

NAR: “Oh hey y’all, HOLD MY BEER.”

In all seriousness…

This settlement has given us lots to process, and change is nervous-making no matter how you slice it. I’m sorry if this feels like another crazy wave to navigate amidst an already tough market.

Today, I’m NOT here to add my opinions to the noise on the settlement.

You’re experiencing enough media chaos on every conceivable social channel right now (and in your own agent head, I’d imagine, running double the miles per minute).

Instead — you know me — I’m here to tell you a story.

It’s quick, and 100% true.

It will help your mindset around Friday’s news.

Here goes.

In the late 1920’s, two companies dominated the market for packaged cereal: Kellogg and Post.

This was still a relatively new market for Americans and when the Great Depression hit, no one knew what would happen to consumer demand.

Post did the predictable thing.

They reined in expenses, cut back on advertising.

But Kellogg doubled its ad budget, moved aggressively into radio advertising, and heavily pushed its new cereal, Rice Krispies.

And in 1933, even as the economy cratered?

Kellogg’s profits had risen almost thirty percent and it had become what it remains today: the industry’s dominant player.

It’s easy to say we’d like to emulate Kellogg’s success.

But when hard times hit — or when landmark settlements change the landscape of an entire industry — most companies take a Post approach to the problem: 

They try to preserve resources by hunkering down. Cutting spending. Waiting for “good times” to return.

They invest less. They develop less.

But here’s the trade-off.

Numerous studies have shown that companies that keep spending on acquisition + advertising during tough market times do significantly better than those which make big cuts.

Academics Peter Dickson and Joseph Giglierano have argued that companies must worry about two kinds of failure: “sinking the boat” (wrecking the company with bad bets) or “missing the boat” (letting a great opportunity pass).

Most companies are more worried about sinking the boat than missing it.

That’s why the opportunity to emulate Kellogg even exists.

And why it’s so anxiety-inducing to try it.

Guess what?

Whether we’re talking down markets and recessions, or settlements forcing big business pivots, the same principle holds true…

When the landscape changes and new challenges arise, the BEST companies don’t fixate on what it takes to keep the ship from sinking…

Instead, they get laser sharp on ensuring they don’t miss the boat.

They recognize that in times of industry challenge — FAR more than in times of ease — good brand and marketing investments add value faster than they add cost.

Because things move forward, folks.

Seizing opportunities matters.

How will you build a real estate brand that recovers and re-engages quickly after the the settlement changes kick in?

Invest in your business — and keep investing, committing, and creating — before asking someone else to invest in it.

Here are a few tangible ideas to bookmark for action now or later:

01 – Update the “About” page on your website. Have you added your pro brand photos yet? How can you revamp copywriting from the ground up to truly connect with prospects with personality and heart? Here’s a fun example with some tips.

02 – Write 3 new blog posts and start generating a content funnel that is valuable and interesting to your people. (You can link to posts from your IG, share snippets to your email list, etc., to help grow your organic community.)

03 – Take inventory of your client experience toolkit. Maybe it’s time to update your Buyer & Seller Guides, listing presentations, and onboarding/offboarding materials. We’ve got templates for that. And, you’d best believe we have some creative new product ideas up our sleeve to help you reposition yourself with strength for what’s ahead.

I’ll leave you with this today. 

Seth Godin (the god of all marketing wisdom) said that, “Marketing is no longer about the stuff you make, but about the stories you tell.”

This arrow of modern marketing insight pierces straight into the heart of what I personally believe about real estate branding, and what agents like you bet on every time you invest in making your business better:

That ultimately, and especially when your own job description changes without your permission, your success in real estate is about creating timely and true narratives that resonate.

No matter what you believe about the semantics of Friday’s news, the resulting changes ARE an opportunity to dig your heels in and get creative.

Get the right people on your team to start telling the right stories, and reposition yourself. 

You can win the hearts + minds of your audience more than you ever have before.

As always, as part of your community in this wild and wonderful world of real estate — I’m here with you, and for you.



P.S – What’s BLUEPRINT, again? 

We’re a gaggle of designers, writers, and creatives on a mission to change the branding narrative in real estate.

We offer a signature branding service and the industry’s most elegant and high-converting digital products to help modern, stylish Realtors do three things:

➝ Communicate their worth;

➝ Become the obvious choice;

➝ Tell the right stories to stand out + SELL more.

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