Kula Rifting

What does the recent market success of Guitar Hero have to do with innovative concepts in real estate marketing? Activision, the third-party publisher of Guitar Hero, recently dethroned Electronic Arts. Activision’s market-leading success is due, in part, because it created a social object in Guitar Hero.

Attendees at the 2007 Connect conference will recall Hugh MacLeod‘s Kula ring presentation on the importance of creating social objects as Web 2.0 marketing message and community-building catalysts. Participating–and succeeding–in a Guitar Hero rift-fest is the Kula ring equivalent of returning with a shell necklace or armband–it’s the journey and the exchange of objects steeped in deep social value that makes the attainment of the goal important. It’s more process than product. And in the case of Guitar Hero, it’s not the plastic guitar that conveys “social status,” it’s the attainment of mythical rock god equanimity. The rift is the social object.

Much of Internet real estate marketing, past and present, seems to focus on driving mouse clicks (click the home attributes and price selections, click “Go”) and screen staring (waiting for the search results to appear). It’s a rather passive / reactive activity. Web 2.0 Internet marketing aims to promote social experiences. Consumers want to interact. Want to “touch”–virtually and non-virtually–the object of their home search. Consumers crave a process that’s meaningful and engaging.

What is the Guitar Hero equivalent in Internet real estate marketing? Is it a website where consumers can re-arrange the furniture, change the color, visualize an addition or build-out, etc, of their prospective home purchase? Is it a website where people compete in redesign concepts for another consumer’s recent home purchase? Is it a website that promotes social networking and viral marketing for a “meet up” at a home, rather than just a “showing”? Each of these websites could be one step on the journey, the process, of consumers’ home buying experiences that result in the ultimate goal–home ownership.

Real estate Kula is only a couple of rifts away.

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