How To Do It: Step 3 – Build Consumer Awareness

(This is an elaboration of ‘How To Rule The (Real Estate) World In 10 #asy Steps‘)

I see your signs everywhere!

That’s it:  the magic phrase that tells you you’re doing a good job with this task.  What the consumer is really saying is:  ‘I see your LOGO everywhere,’ and there’s a lot behind getting to the point where you’ll hear that phrase.

First there is the Logo itself.  It has to be striking, memorable and it should reference something the consumer already has anchored deep within his or her brain.  I mean:  there’s no mystery why Prudential, when deciding to get into the real estate business, put the Rock of Gibraltar on its sign.  The Help-U-Sell logo has this kind of ‘stickiness,’ simply because it has been around and hasn’t changed in 34 years.  Regardless how many agents, offices or listings we have at any given moment in time, people have seen the logo and when they see it again it is familiar, and it sticks.

Second is the Brand and the niche the company owns in the consumer’s consciousness.  The logo has to stand for something unique and special and that should already be established.  For Help-U-Sell it is savings.  We occupy that niche in the consumer’s mind:  savings.  They see our sign and instantly recognize it as something they’ve seen before and immediately equate it with savings.

Do you have any idea how hard it is to accomplish those two things?  It takes years of careful message management to get to the point that people recognize your logo and know what you stand for.  Most companies never get there and many never have a chance.  Try getting your generic widget company that makes and sells widgets just like every other widget company to occupy a unique niche in consumer consciousness.  It can’t.  It’s just another widget company.

I want to take a minute to acknowledge the design aspects of logo and brand building.  Our founder, Don Taylor, spent serious time, energy and resources choosing the colors for the Help-U-Sell Brand — particularly the red.  Not only at the company’s inception but also 30 years later when the look was overhauled, Don had signs made using various shades of red.  He and others spent time testing the effectiveness of each shade in making the logo ‘Pop’ from as far away as possible.  Today we have a red and a sign and a logo that is recognizable from a great distance.  It is an identifier that is so strong that it isn’t even read by consumers — it’s just recognized.

So, building consumer awareness is about making as many consumer impressions with your logo and company identifiers as possible.  If you’re just starting out (or just restarting), how do you do that?  Here’s a short list:

Get listings.  Each listing is worth a yard sign and a certain number of directional signs (which must include your prominent logo or their just . . . directionals, not awareness builders).

Show your sellers the benefits of seller involvement. Each seller with a set of six open house directional signs (again with your identifiers), putting them out every week multiplies your number of consumer impressions dramatically.  Seller involvement gets even more powerful when many sellers in your target market hold their homes open at the same time, blanketing your area with your identifiers.

Use blitz signs. Cheap and disposable, these little gems can be put up almost anywhere.  Realtors usually have difficulty embracing this idea because they are stuck in a paradigm that says you don’t use a sign unless you have something to sell.  But we’re not worrying about selling here; what we’re concerned with is building consumer awareness, and that’s a function of making as many logo impressions as possible.  Your competitors won’t like it, but in this case that just means you’re on the right track!  If you listen to them . . . well, you might as well just let your competitors design your marketing plan for you!

Get a car wrap.  It’s not a car, it’s a billboard. And yours is blank.  Get a big, bright, simple wrap and the effectiveness of all your marketing will increase.  Wrap a unique, special, fun or cute car and it will be even more powerful (bugs, cubes and classics lead the way).  Sure, you should drive the car, but some of its greatest power will come when you simply park it in a place where thousands of consumers in your area will see it every hour.  A good car wrap can go a long way toward curing a lousy office location with sign restrictions.

Blanket your target market with your identifiers and your message.  For years, direct mail, inserts in super market circulars and Penny Saver ads were an essential part of the Help-U-Sell marketing system.  They still are, but economic considerations have ratcheted them down a notch or two.  When the consumer pulls the mail from the box and sorts the junk from the bills, and your identifier passes by their eyes on the way to the trash can . . . that’s an impression.  And even that’s positive.  If they are thinking of selling, they may even reach down to fish your message from the trash – and that’s golden.  This kind of impression making doesn’t have to be expensive.  Door hangers and postcards under windshield wipers are a great alternative.

Use media.  If you have the budget, consider a set of radio spots or cable tv ads.  Don’t do this unless you have lots of signs and other identifiers in market.  You don’t start building consumer awareness on radio and tv, you enhance the awareness you’ve already established.  What you can do at start-up and beyond is work with the Internet.  Using YouTube, Facebook and other non-traditional platforms to build your local identity is inexpensive and effective — if you know what you’re doing.  Tami Patzer at Help-U-Sell Headquarters in Sarasota can get you started down this path.  She can usually get you on the first page or two of a Google search result in a matter of minutes.  If you’re not intrigued by that possibility, call your doctor, you may be dead.

Find sponsorship opportunities.  Who needs uniforms (that will include your logo)?  What stretch of highway needs adopting?  What charity walk/run event needs sponsors?  Why not invest in a portable canopy in glorious Help-U-Sell red with prominent logos and make it available to anyone doing a bake sale, rummage sale, parking lot promotion?  Remember: it’s about impressions.  Go make some.

Now, you’re three steps in and your phone should be ringing.  This is the point where the brand awareness you’ve created can begin to perpetuate itself.  So you have to get ready to answer the phone!  And that’s whatHow To Rule The (Real Estate) World In 10 #asy Steps is about:  the Buyer Inquiry.  Check in tomorrow for that.

Keith Haring and Help-U-Sell

Bear with me; it’s not that far-out a combination!

I have great appreciation for the artist, Keith Haring.  First off, I like his art, the energy and simplicity of it.  Like the cave paintings of our ancestors, it is so iconic that it’s hard to forget.  For years I toyed with buying a real Haring and finally, in 2001, I did.  It’s from a four part series called ‘Fertility’ and I have number 66 of 100.  It measures about 4 feet, square.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.

Later I picked u p a signed poster for the first showing of his huge metal sculptures in New York.  Just today, a friend, trying to make a little wall space, gave me a smaller print.  I also have lots of Haring nicky nackies:  buttons, cups, tee shirts and so on.

The art is great, but there’s another reason I like Haring so much, and it’s his uncanny ability to market himself and his work.  The art world is pretty stuffy and rigid.  We have the image of the starving artist slaving away in a garret somewhere for a reason:  it’s very hard for a young person to be recognized, promoted and accepted into the establishment.  Most work a lifetime and die before anyone pays them any serious attention at all.  Haring hit New York in the 80s with a unique vision  and an impatience that made waiting to be discovered impossible.  He started noticing the blank inserts that were put up  over old advertisements in subway stations.These black velum-like paper coverings occupied the ad frames between messages.  He started riding the subway with a bag of chalk, and when he saw one of the black blanks, he’d hop off and, in ten minutes or so, craft one of his icons:  radiant baby, dancing dog, UFO and Pyramid.  It didn’t take long before millions of New Yorkers had seen his work and because it was iconic and memorable,  they looked for more.  Within a year he was being shown in galleries in the city and soon around the world.

Do you see what he did?  Faced with a fossilized status quo with lots of rules and indignation over anything new and different, he simply leap-frogged over them, went straight to the consumer — who he defined not as an intellectual snob, but as the man in the street — used guerrilla marketing techniques to build top of mind awareness and never looked back.  The Status Quo was forced to reckon with him and they quickly opened up to him.  He’s now in major museums throughout the world.  I saw a huge retrospective at the Whitney in New York a few years ago that was stunning.

One more Haring thing before I try to tie in Help-U-Sell.  After breaking through, Keith once again earned the raised eyebrow of the art establishment when he started mass producing his work on tee shirts and skateboards and backpacks and marketing them in his Pop Shop in New York and Tokyo.  The prices were affordable and suddenly common everyday people could own a little of his work.  Again:  he took a risk to make his high quality product affordable for the average person.

Help-U-Sell operates in a similar environment.  We are faced with a rigid status quo — the real estate industry — that has lots of unspoken, and sometimes spoken, rules designed to preserve things just as they are.  It’s very hard to innovate or take a different path without incurring the hostility of  this huge entity.  With a unique vision, Help-U-Sell goes into the marketplace using guerrilla marketing techniques to establish top of mind awareness.  We go directly to the consumer and obsess on how we can provide high quality real estate services that are affordable for the average person.   Sound Familiar?  It’s the same story.  We even have our own icon, the Help-U-Sell logo, brilliantly crafted and carefully designed to be memorable and recognizable from blocks away.

As for leap-frogging over the industry?  Every poll, every survey I’ve seen solidly states that the consumer wants exactly what we have.  All we have to do is let enough of them know that we have it.  Keith Haring used blank subway advertisement placards.  I’m not sure what our equivalent is, but I’m leaning toward Facebook.  If that statement baffles you, tune in next Tuesday to Tech Time (11 am Pacific, 2 pm Eastern) for the second of Tami Patzers 4 part series on building your client base using Facebook.  Then tell me if you think we’ve found our medium.