Better is Boring—Different is Radical!

Better is Boring—Different is Radical!

November 23rd, 2015

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When it comes to home builder marketing, different is radical! Being better is simply boring.

So many of our home builder clients attempt to outgun their competition by incrementally improving their product, service or workmanship. Folks, it simply doesn’t work. One-upmanship is the slow road to mediocrity and the fast path to ‘who cares.’

Although permission-based marketing automation has become very popular and effective, interruptions are still crucial for marketing success. The term ‘pattern-interrupt’ is used by psychologists to address the ability to distract or interrupt our brains, forcing us out of autopilot mode. You may not recognize it, but your brain runs on autopilot more often than not. In order to preserve precious energy consumption levels (your brain consumes nearly 20% of all the energy you use) our brain maximizes efficiency by putting many of the things we do on autopilot. We all like to believe that we are highly thoughtful and give careful consideration to most decisions; unfortunately, we really don’t. Much of what we do is literally on autopilot.

Our autopilot mode happens so naturally and without any mental energy, it’s hard to recognize it even if you’re looking for it.

I recently visited my daughter in England. The drive from Heathrow Airport to their home is roughly 200 miles. That 3.5-hour journey became a personal case study in my brain’s autopilot capabilities. Here’s the deal: any typical trip, in a typical car, in a recognized location allows my brain to stay comfortably in autopilot. But this trip was anything but typical and my mind was instantly jolted out of it’s comfort zone.

I immediately found myself in serious cognitive overload. Everything was totally new and my mental abilities were immediately tested. In autopilot mode, I can navigate a route, drive, listen to music, talk to my wife, contemplate our destination and even take a call. But I suddenly found myself redlining! Anything more than driving was overload.

I had to get in the car on the wrong side. I had to drive on the wrong side of the road – through over 50+ round-a-bouts (going backwards according to my experience, I might add)! My vehicle was a manual so I had to steer with my right hand and shift with my left!  None of the sign graphics made any sense. My phone navigation wasn’t working. My wife tried to navigate… yikes! It was getting dark and my stress level was at an all-time high. My brain was in total attention mode… no autopilot at all. When everything is unknown, your brain has to work extremely hard to process the incoming data. WHY??

The answer is simple: my mind was forced out of autopilot into full, lockdown, cognitive overload. What does this have to do with marketing new homes? Your buyers and prospects are going about their day in autopilot mode. In order to get them to pay attention, you need to interrupt their autopilot pattern. Do that and you can be certain they’re listening; otherwise they’re paying as much attention to your pitch as they do during a typical drive to the super market. Zombie-like they’re ignoring most of what we say.

If you really want to get someone’s attention, be different. Offer something different. Do something different. Simply being better than your closest competitor will never get your brand noticed. Do something legitimately different and they’ll listen and pay attention. Here are two ideas to consider in your messaging:

  • Be unique: The brain loves something it doesn’t see every day. As a matter of fact, your brain is prewired to open the conscious door wide open when something truly unique is encountered. Better isn’t unique; only true differences, not the ‘same old same old”, can reach that level.

My 200-mile expedition in England helped me realize how powerful my own brain’s autopilot can be. Once you are operating totally outside of your subconscious comfort zone, you can really see how much energy it saves. You and your clients are the same. If you want their attention and truly want to be compelling, difference is a powerful tool. Use it and win.

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