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Book Reports: The Power of Place & House Thinking: Winifred Gallagher

How to use behavioral science to elevate real estate content marketing.

Years ago, I had a sales and marketing career in the relocation industry, working for national van line carriers. I was always intrigued by the emotional aspects of the process. It's a well-known fact that moving is on a shortlist of things behind death and divorce as the most stressful experiences a person will endure in life. I witnessed plenty of tumultuous situations, but for the most part, the people I dealt with were happy with their decisions and excited about the change they were undertaking. The majority of the people I dealt with had moved quite a few times, many internationally. They rarely saw it as their lives being upset or being displaced from things they loved.

Most of the families I dealt with saw the process as an extension of one long adventure on an average of 5 to 7-year chunks. The stories I heard had a common thread. Interwoven into the descriptions of their experiences were references to the homes and immediate environments in which they lived, worked, and played. Winifred Gallagher examines our relationship to places in her book entitled, The Power of Place, "How our surroundings shape our thoughts, emotions, and actions."

An interviewer asks Gallagher, "What's the single most important thing to know about our relationship to places?" That our environments are not just backdrops to our lives--they affect how we think, feel and act! Even in the womb, external stimuli such as light and sound help organize our developing sensory systems. That's why babies recognize their mother's voices.

Gallagher consults the scientific community to a great extent in the book, and it references a lot of research; however, it's a relatively easy read.

Gallagher's previous book, House Thinking, is also a very revealing look, room by room at the evolution of the American home. It's a psychoanalytic view of how homes affect our thoughts and actions. Listing agents having a hard time crafting great listing descriptions can glean a great deal from this book. It's a great way to be empowered with storytelling skills that fill voids by talking about things such as the dynamics surrounding bedrooms and intimacy or the psychology of why traditional dining and living rooms have given way to great rooms and much more.

Conclusion Together, these books are excellent reference material for any real estate professional that wants to take their lifestyle and hyperlocal content marketing to the next level. I also think we will see an elevation in the adoption of self-guided showings resulting in the need for listing agents to step up their storytelling skills for creative listing descriptions, video scripts, and much more. I envision some pretty clever utilization of voice technology combined with a well-executed self-guided tour system.

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