This app just hit the Iphone!
I wish I had it last month when I was searching for my new house. it would have made my life and my REALTOR’s life a bit easier. Glad to see the board finally got an iphone app! Love it. The best thing to happen to Real Estate in Canada for 2010.
Ottawa, ON – December 21, 2010 – The Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) today released its REALTOR.ca app for the Apple® iPhone®. REALTOR.ca is the most visited real estate website in Canada, listing on average some 350,000 properties at any time.
“This free application brings Apple iPhone users the features and functionality of the REALTOR.ca website, as well as some interesting device-specific features” said CREA president Georges Pahud. “Consumers today expect portable information and REALTORS® across Canada are happy to be providing this service.”
The free REALTOR.ca app is provided at no cost to consumers by Canada’s 100,000 REALTORS® and more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations.
The app provides users with the features and functionality of REALTOR.ca and takes advantage of Apple iPhone device features, such as:
•Using the handheld’s GPS technology:
◦Properties Near Me – get up-to-date property information, photos and driving directions;
◦New Listings Near Me – recent listings in the area you’re visiting;
◦Open Houses Near Me – find open houses near your present location;
◦My Agent – Contact either your agent(s), or the listing agent for more information about a specific property;
◦Property Search – Search for houses and properties across Canada, and connect with REALTORS® to view, buy or sell a property;
◦Personalized settings allowing the user to set default language, unit of measure, how properties are displayed, and search radius for “Near Me” searches;
◦Interactive BING mapping is embedded to allow focus on specific neighbourhoods;
◦Scheduled Open Houses can be added to the device’s calendar.
“When considering one of life’s biggest financial transactions, easily accessible, detailed information about homes and neighbourhoods, as well as access to REALTORS®, helps people make well-informed decisions” stated Pahud.
With the addition of the Apple iPhone app, REALTOR.ca is now available for two of the most popular handheld device operating systems, as the Windows Phone 7® version was released in November. A BlackBerry app will be released in February 2011.
A setup guide has been posted online at www.crea.ca.
CREA is one of Canada’s largest single-industry trade associations, representing more than 100,000 REALTORS® working through more than 100 real estate Boards and Associations. CREA owns and operates the REALTOR.ca website, Canada’s most visited real estate resource for property buyers.
Simon Heijdens: This started with a commission to do a light project for the city of Einhoven. More often than not, the décor in human spaces is pretty static and 24-hour lighting can exclude a sense of connection with the natural day. So my idea was to create a site-responsive light installation that had a variable character directly linked to the leftovers of the natural world.
Tree starts at sunset: a tree seems to grow on to the façade of building as a projection of white light some eight metres high. It’s essentially a drawing built up of hundreds of graphic elements reacting to a wind sensor put on top of the building that’s being used as a backdrop for the projection. It recreates the exact motion of a real tree if it were to stand in that exact location. The tree changes throughout the hours and the days and seasons. One day it might be static, but on a windy day the branches will be bending and swaying.
Each time a person passes the tree, a leaf might fall. It’s then projected onto the ground nearby the tree. At busy times there will be a high rate of leaf-fall, effectively tracing an image of how the city is being used. The projected leaves are sensitive to human movement, so, as you walk through them, they slowly flutter around your feet, like you’re kicking through a pile of leaves. Sometimes they accumulate in alleyways and, because they leaves are made of light, the more that fall, the more the dark alleyway is illuminated.
New graphic designers often worry about their tangible skills. Am I a master of the pen tool? Am I adept enough at HTML & CSS to offer my services? Can I design a print piece to print specifications? Rightfully so, these are areas that all designers should be concerned about (amongst others). However, being a Creative Suite whiz does not guarantee a successful design career. Much can, and should, be made of efficiency, business sense and more; however, in this article I’d like to focus on specific characteristics that a designer must have (or develop) to truly be successful.
6 Characteristics of the Successful DesignerRead on for 6 Characteristics of the Successful Designer!
1. THICK SKIN
You need to have thick skin if you’re going to be a successful designer. If you don’t have it, that’s okay. It’s something that can be developed. I know I had thin skin for a while, until I realized that criticism helped me grow as a designer. What I mean by this is, if someone (be it a client, another designer, or someone else) criticizes your work, you’ll be much better off if you learn to handle it and take the positives from the criticism (as opposed to putting up your guard and claiming that they “just don’t get it”). But how do you develop thick skin?
The successful designer needs to be able to separate themselves from their work – this will lessen the impact of criticism. Clients won’t always be happy with the first draft – it doesn’t matter if you stayed up all night, sketched it out in your own blood and incorporated 15 different sub-meanings. Sometimes a client will tell you they don’t like a design, and that’s when you need to be able to separate yourself from your work, put on your thick skin, and forge ahead. People aren’t criticizing to tell you you’re a worthless hack – they’re expressing an opinion about a medium that is largely subjective. Besides – they might be right, and they have fresh eyes for the design you spent 8 hours straight on. So don’t take offense – take the criticism*, apply it if it’s worthwhile, and continue working on the project. It will probably turn out better than the first draft!
*excluding all criticism that includes the phrases “It needs more Comic Sans”
2. BRUTAL SELF-HONESTY
If you want to consistently put out quality work and progress as a designer, you need to be brutally honest with yourself. People have an inherent ability to justify their decisions (myself included sometimes); don’t fall into this trap. At repeated points throughout the design process, ask yourself questions. Hard questions. Is this the best I can do for this project? Is this actually meeting the needs of the client, or am I just telling myself this because I’m frustrated? Is Gotham the best typeface for this client, or am I just being lazy and not pushing the boundaries?
As well, ask yourself brutally tough questions about your skills & your career progression. Am I actually the CSS Guru I tell myself I am? Or am I coasting by on what I already know? When I tell people I’m focusing solely on print design because I find it more rewarding, is that actually true? Or am I scared to branch out?
These are just examples – the depth and scope of the questions will always vary – but brutally self-honest questions like these pave the path to understanding yourself better. When you understand yourself better, you’re one step closer to becoming a successful designer.
3. LOGICAL THINKING
Much has been made of thinking logically – you know, approaching each project with the end user in mind, designing a logo that is versatile, etc. However, I can’t discount it because it’s been covered before. Thinking logically is a huge gap between average designers and great designers. For example, a logo will be used at various sizes from huge to small. It’d be illogical to design a raster-based logo in Photoshop, because raster-based images cannot be upsized without a loss of quality. Thus, use a vector-based program to make your logos, like Adobe Illustrator.
BAM! There ya go. Thinking logically already!
But logical thinking progresses past Design 101 decisions like the one outlined above. Think about your career logically too. For example, if you want to build up your reputation as a killer WordPress designer, perhaps your own website should be WordPress-powered.
Logical thinking is a HUGE area of discussion, so I won’t go further. Just remember – thinking logically leads to solid design and career decisions – and it is a stepping stone to a successful design career.
4. GREAT COMMUNICATION
Great communication plays a huge role in the success of your career as a designer – and it stems from all of the other characteristics in this article. To put it simply, you need to be able to speak plainly about your design choices – why you chose them, and why they work. If you make your design decisions logically, you will be able to communicate why they work to your client. If you’re brutally self-honest during the design process, you will be confident about your decisions – which will help when convincing your client that your design choice is the right one for their business.
To be a great communicator, you have to use words that mean something. Sounds obvious, I know, but you’d be surprised. Most designers “just know” when their design “works”. Being able to articulate why it works is part of what separates good designers from great. For example, say you chose Garamond as the primary typeface for a client’s logo design. Did you choose it because “it looks cool”? Or did you choose it because the client wants to portray her business as traditional/elegant, and will be publishing a variety of print pieces that need to have high legibility as well?
Finally, great communication can be the tipping point in you landing a client and your competitor landing that client. Put yourself in the shoes of your potential client: would you rather put your hard-earned money in the hands of a designer who promises that your logo design will “look totally sweet”, or in the hands of a designer who promises your logo will “reflect the image you want for your business”?
If you’re not a great communicator right now, don’t worry. Practice. Practice on your friends and family – have them pick a logo or website, and explain to them why it works (or doesn’t) in your mind. Then ask their feedback – did you help them understand the specifics of the design? If so, you’re one step closer to being a successful graphic designer.
5. STRONG WORK ETHIC
So, by now, you’re a Creative Suite whiz who knows their design rules & design history. You’re a good, if not great, communicator who makes design decisions honestly & logically. You can take criticism and apply it. So you’re pretty much destined to be the next Sagmeister, right?
Nope. Not if you get up at noon, get in a quick round of Call of Duty, troll YouTube for a while, finally answer a client email at 4pm and then start to make your dinner. This is an extreme example, of course, but the point is the same: if you want to be successful at what you do, you need to work hard at it. Really hard. Ridiculously hard. SUPERMEGAEXTREMETOTHEMAX hard (okay, maybe not that much). Seriously, though, if you want to be a successful designer, you need to put in the time. And be brutally honest with yourself again – when you decide to pack it in at 3pm because you “worked like crazy” all day, did you actually work like crazy? Or are you just justifying your reasoning for quitting an hour and a half early?
I’m not saying you have to work 12 hour days every day. But be disciplined. Stick to work during working hours. If you’re a freelancer in a slow period, perhaps try building up some passive income (you can start by reading Outlaw Design Blog’s Guide to Passive Income). Or maybe it’s time to learn a new skill. Regardless of the specifics, it boils down to this: the harder you work, the better chance you have at being a successful designer.
If you are lacking in confidence, your clients will lack confidence in you. Simple but true – clients can see a lack of confidence like that kid could see dead people in The 6th Sense. The answer to this? Don’t try to fake confidence. Build confidence. Build confidence by asking for criticism (while having thick skin!), thinking logically about your design decisions, being brutally honest with yourself about your design decisions, working really hard, and developing great communication skills.
If you do all these things, you will be confident. Your clients will notice, and they will tell their clients and their friends. Then you will woo them with your confidence (not cockiness though!). And you, my friend, will be a successful designer.
From Twitter, Dayna Kenney posted the release of a new website for what was, to me, a new idea: HELP-PORTRAIT
From the website, HELP-PORTRAIT is, “A movement of photographers, coming together in every major city, to use their photography skills to give back to the community.”
“On December 12th, photographers around the world will be grabbing their cameras, finding people in need, and taking their picture. When the prints are ready, the photographs get delivered.”
I think it is a great idea. The idea of having a present made for you is so much more gratifying than buying something, and giving to those in need is amazingly profound.
The website offers a guide to who would “need” pictures:
and the idea blossoms.
RE: Design – the boxes around the content which trace the mouse movements are very well done. While I usually find this effect annoying, the designer has made the mouse-over fade back to its OFF state during hover. The result: the picture does not stay illuminated while the mouse is on it, and that makes the idea far less egregious.
Globe and Mail Update Published on Tuesday, Nov. 03, 2009 6:36PM EST Last updated on Tuesday, Nov. 03, 2009 6:38PM EST
Real estate agents won’t lose their grip on the listings process as part of the Canadian Real Estate Association’s settlement with the Competition Bureau of Canada, the industry group says.
The association signalled this week that its Multiple Listings System may need to be thrown open to competitors to satisfy the bureau – giving consumers more choices on how to buy and sell homes and lowering costs as discount real estate brokers emerge and cut agents out of the process.
One of the things that concerned the bureau was that sellers couldn’t post a listing on the service without going through a real estate agent, and paying the associated fees. Access to the system is essential for would-be sellers, because it accounts for 90 per cent of residential property sales in Canada each year.
In a statement Tuesday, the association said reports that “a proposed resolution between CREA and the Competition Bureau would result in members of the public being able to access the MLS System to list their homes for sale without involvement of a Realtor member of CREA … is incorrect. The MLS system is a system for Realtor members of CREA.”
The association didn’t say how it would address the bureau’s concerns – which also include clauses that prohibit anyone but an agent from handling transactions that are associated with an MLS listing – but did say it hoped to see a resolution before its December meeting. The bureau can impose changes if it feels its concerns weren’t adequately addressed.
Anyone who has bought a house knows the addictive rush of browsing properties from home, clicking and scrolling through thousands of properties searching for a perfect match.
But the MLS that allows such easy access – paid for by members of the real estate association – was never intended as a public service. Instead, it was meant to provide agents with quick access to a robust database of properties they could offer to their clients.
“The system was set up as a data-sharing service between members,” said Don Lawby, president of Century 21 Canada. “It was not set up to have the industry deal with the consumer. That’s the way it is now, and it’s very difficult to go back. But I don’t know where the middle ground would be.”
MLS – a similar version is used in the United States – was developed in the 1960s, long before computer networks made information sharing simple and efficient. It allows agents from different agencies to co-operate on deals, and ensures that each property is well-exposed to potential buyers.
It has been a gold mine for sales people with exclusive access to the inner workings of the system – historical prices, seller information and an enhanced search engine are closely guarded industry secrets. In the 1960s, about $1-billion of deals were sealed through the system. Last year, sales hit $132-billion, according to CREA, generating about $6.6-billion for real estate agents, assuming a typical 5 per cent commission.
But the Competition Bureau has signalled that the system’s data should be shared with outside companies, which could open the door to discount providers – companies that would help consumers seal a real estate deal for a flat fee, rather than the typical commission structure.
That’s a tough sell for an industry that has funded the database and relies on it for its livelihood.
“The real question is, are we moving to have a for-sale-by-owner service funded by the real estate industry?” Mr. Lawby asks. “I don’t see that happening. This isn’t a public utility – what happens is someone sets up a business for very little money and can just expose consumers to our products.”
Ian Martin, a Vancouver-based consultant who operated a web service that relied on MLS data that was shut down, argued that consumers are paying for the database with each purchase and the data generated with each sale should be part of the public domain. Other sites have also tried to build sites using MLS data, but have also been shut down.
“Basically, CREA purposely provides limited access to the data in order to protect the fat commissions of its agents,” he said. “The data should be public as it was paid for by consumers. This would allow venturous companies to present the data in dynamic ways through various applications. Otherwise, the public is stalemated by a huge bureaucratic monopoly.”
The success of email campaigning revolves around the ten words or less that fill the subject line of your message. What are great subject lines? offer some really great and proven-to-work subject lines that you can test out for your email marketing campaigns.
First of all, I’m assuming at this point that your recipients will recognize you from your “From Label”. I’ve written why your From Label is very important in your email marketing campaigns. If they are familiar with who the email is coming from, you’ll have better luck getting your email opened with a catchy subject line.
You’ll see that some of these subject lines are a bit vague like “An Exclusive Offer for You”, however sometimes that might get more opens than if you talk about a specific product. That’s something that you need to test for yourself in your own campaigns.
A Call To Action!
Enjoy this Special Offer at Our New Location
25-40% off – Email-Only Offer – Today Only
Invitation-Only 2 Hour Event Starts 11:30 AM CT
Ends Today! 20% Off Friends & Family
Top 10 under $10
Free shipping – offer ends in 3 days
Free product with purchase of [product name]
[New Product] has arrived. Order now before we run out.
Earn double points for [insert product or action].
Last Chance: Get up to $25 now
Save 10% on your next order
Enjoy [season] with rates from $65
Service Notice: Exciting new changes at [your company]
An Exclusive Offer for You
[Your company] October Specials
Last minute deals, special offers, and new [product name]
Act Now to renew your [subscription name]
Online only: 25% off friends and family
Introducing our latest…[product/feature here]
[Product name] Promotion week. Save 25%
Extended for a day! Get Free shipping through Friday
Stock up and save 15%
Limited Supply: Limit 2 [product name] per customer
Ho-ho-ho: The [your company] holiday catalog is here!
Email subscriber exclusive: [Product name] sale is here
Ends Today: Take 20% off your entire order
Private Sale Ends Today
Your choice of amazing items $50 + under
Great gifts for [Dad, Mom, etc]
Best Sellers every [girl, boy, man, woman, dog, etc.]
Everything you need when the temperatures [rise, fall]
Free Shipping–Limited Time Offer
Word Play Works!
Sometimes all you need is a little vase lift (retailer selling vase’s)
We’ve got you covered from head to toe (retailer selling hats, shirts, pants and boots)
How La Perla got its name (retailer selling lingerie, telling a story inside the email)
Temperatures Fall, Style Rises (retailer selling coats)
Celebrity Favorites (selling accessories that Hollywood is wearing)
Did you remember to get a gift? It’s ok, we did. (retailer wanting to get people to register for gift reminders)
10 Gift Ideas for your little ones (retailer listing top 10 suggestions for kids)
Manhattan View for a Song in the Shower (retailer selling shower curtain with Manhattan skyline on it)
Take your pick: Our 9 Favorite Dresses (retailer suggesting by popularity)
Coolest modern desk on the job…for $149 (retailer including price in the subject line)
Score Great Savings on Game-Time Gear: HDTVs, Furniture & More (retailer selling TV’s with a sports slant)
Party Like it’s 1999 Aged Cabernet Special (wine retailer)
In our store: Last minute Mother’s Day combo ready to go (retailer getting the last minute shoppers with a catch “combo to go”.)
Adorn Your Home Now & Through the Holidays (Home decor retailer)
Mind-Blowing Grenache (wine retailer)
Bring this email to a Gap store and win! (retailer trying to get store traffic)
I hope this gets your creative juices flowing. You can also find some great holiday-specific subject lines here. If you’ve got some great subject lines that have worked for your business, comment and let us know.
Check it out and play around with lists. It’s a bit confusing at first, but I’m starting to realize just how big a change this represents. “Twitter Lists” is a trending topic today, so there’s no end of Tweets and Tips and Blogs about them.
Client: Larry Purchase , Real Estate Sales Representative for Royal LePage
Where: Toronto Ontario, Canada
Prepared: Jan 2009
Branding and Direct Marketing
Larry is a seasoned real estate salesperson with Royal LePage. He has been in the business for over 20 years. He was looking to get his business back on track. He had been losing ground for years due to personal issues and not understanding what he had to do to get
the business back that he had lost to his competitors.
Larry came to us with no previous marketing initiatives except for the odd cold call and calendars he would send out during the holiday
season. He is a ‘call-it-as-he-sees it’ kind of guy and did not see how marketing his service to his friends and neighbours would help him. He would come into a meeting and ‘call-it-as-he-saw-it’ as opposed to having a plan in place and guiding his clients through a process. He tried direct mail marketing previously with very little success.
We sat down with Larry to find his ‘Unique Value Proposition’ – what made him different from the others in his market place. We went though our standard questionnaire and once completed, wrote up a creative brief to ensure we were taking the right path. Once we had a clear message and ‘Unique Value Proposition’ for Larry, it became very easy to implement a strategy for him.
We cleaned up the look of his image, made him recognizable in the community, strengthened the look of his brand and got him on a plan to succeed. He was sceptical at first but as the process moved forward he started to see the “trees through the forest”. He was now ready to start to connect with his target market on every level. We put his plan into action.
On his first mailing alone of only 2200 pieces, he received 6 phone calls (this is a big number in the real estate world). 2 were serious people wanting him to list their home, 3 were serious people interested in the property he listed on the card and wanted to buy, and 1 was calling to say he really connected with his marketing approach and wanted to work with him in the future on a commercial property he had. We also provided him with letters and a schedule to start to touch base with older clients he once had to win them back over to his service again.
He is now working the strategic marketing plan we suggested he put in place which expanded his presence in his market place. So much so that he is now on a Canadian Network Television Show “REALTOR vs. REALTOR” and getting even more exposure. He business has grown 200% since we created strategic marketing plan for him and he is on his way to doubling that by spring of 2010.
- From the desk of Trevor Joyce, Preident, Iconica Communications Inc.