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Love is the Killer App

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LOVE IS THE KILLER APP

It’s funny how life works. It’s been exactly two years since I read an article in Fast Company magazine, called Love is the Killer App by Tim Sanders. At the time, Tim was the Chief Solutions Officer at Yahoo!. He made a compelling argument for a concept he called “Business Love”. At its’ foundation are acts of professional generosity that benefit the lives of the people you work with. He surmised that what the business world needs (lately) is less greed- and more love. 

From the perspective of a well studied capitalist, the concept seemed a little utopian. But my entrepreneurial instinct told me it was an irresistible idea, whose time had come. After all, isn’t it this level of kindness that’s at the core of great customer service? Who doesn’t want to be served better, or be loved more? 

Sanders’ wrote “the most powerful force in business isn’t greed, fear or even unbridled competition. The most powerful force in business is love. It’s what will give you a sense of meaning and satisfaction in your work, which will help you do your best work.” Then he added the perspective of philosopher Milton Mayeroff from his book, On Caring. He writes “Love, is the selfless promotion of the growth of the other.” When you help others grow to become the best people that they can be, you are being loving — and as a result, you grow. 

Business Love, can mean a lot of things: 

• It can be the act of sharing your knowledge and networks, with your business associates. 
• It can be a commitment to learning as much as possible in your field and sharing that knowledge with your customers. 
• It can be a policy of transparency that builds trust and security with those whom you serve. 
• It can be acting human and expressing genuine concern in the harried world of busy, busy people. 

SO I DIPPED MY TOES IN THE WATER

Direct Mail Feb 2009

In February 2009, the shit was hitting the fan. The entire US economy was in the tank. The American consumer was paralyzed. The real estate market was uncertain. Banks were paying million dollar bonuses to the very same people who had just cost taxpayer billions of dollars to bail them out. Trust was at a new low. 

I was working on a direct mail piece for Druce Real Estate, when it all came back to me. It hit me like a ton of bricks. “What the world needs now is a lot more love and a little less greed.” So, the LOVE postcard campaign was born. 

As I was about to press the send button to launch my print order, I was overcome with anxiety. Would this postcard be perceived as silly? Would the Department of Homeland Security tag me as a Commie? What will people think of me now? I held my breath and hit the send button. 

Two days later I began to receive the phone calls and emails. Strangely, they were all positive comments. The message just seemed to sit right with people. It wasn’t silly at all. It became a center of conversation. I smiled at the irony. 

THE LOVE SHACK

The Love Shack

I later became the proud owner of a used Travel Trailer. A friend spotted the lonely RV in a farmer’s field in South Jordan, UT. I gave the farmer’s widow cash, she gave me the title. To me, it had the potential to be a big sign on wheels. It’s an advertising expense that my family could sleep in at the upcoming Utah MS-150 fundraiser. I didn’t know what I was going to do with this thing. But whatever it was, I was sure that it should be painted fire-engine red. 

I decided to brand the big red trailer with the logo of my real estate blog (powreplant.com) . I had the windows tinted, cleaned up the interior, installed air-conditioning…it was good to go. We also added a little surprise at the suggestion of my wife. Since the color of the trailer resembled the color of the LOVE postcard (my most successful direct mail piece to date), why not slap a six-foot LOVE decal on both sides. We’ll call it the LOVE Shack. 

In a sea of a thousand travel trailers, this thing stood out. It quickly became a popular landmark. “Take a left-turn at the red LOVE trailer”, people would say as they directed their family and friends into the event. As the day came to a close, the party began to emerge. It began as the Circle of Love…then turned into a full-blown Love Fest. 

IS THIS SOME KINDA SIGN?

Some Kinda Sign?

Now we’re into the holiday season of 2009. Business had been horribly slow and I really was not in the mood. I attended a Christmas party with my wife, Denise where most of the people were strangers to me. As I introduced myself to the party-goers, inevitably, they would ask me to repeat my last name (Druce). 

It was at this moment that I realized, “I’ve got a branding problem”. Druce is a key-word in the name of my real estate company (Druce Real Estate). Years ago, I decided to use my surname as a brand out of some sort of strange attachment to business tradition. I love the concept of the small town business scene where each person was known for their trade. My grandpa’s business was called Druce Signs. He lived in an era where your name was only as good as your word. The townspeople were your friends, customers and business associates. 

I wondered, “Is this some kind of sign”? What’s the likelihood of anyone at this party remembering the name of my business by the end of the night? Slim to none? This is a marketer’s death sentence. No name-recall… no phone-call. 

2010 – LOVE CAME TO TOWN

Sending you all our LOVE, Michael. See you soon in the SLC!

One thing’s for sure, the real estate business has been kicked in the teeth. It probably needed it. There is so much room for improvement. But, change happens slowly, if at all. The traditions of real estate have been firmly entrenched for years. And they don’t take kindly to interlopers who want to change the order of things. 

History has shown that economic depressions and recessions can cause a lot of suffering at both the individual level and the business level. But they can also serve as catalysts for inspiration, creativity, and new levels of achievement. What a perfect time to change EVERYTHING. It would be a shame to waste a good crisis. 

On February 1, 2010 the LOVE BRAND was born. It’s a full service real estate brokerage doing business in Salt Lake City. LOVE – A Real Estate Revolution. We’re officially hard at work to change the look and feel of real estate in our town. We hope you’ll join us. We look forward to Loving and Serving. 

That’s the LOVE STORY to date. We’ll keep you posted as the story progresses. 

Michael Druce

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