Brand Loyalty is a Matter of Trust

Business people joining hands

I was three slides into an after-lunch keynote in Bogata, Colombia.

I had exhausted my Spanish and had switched to English when a gentleman about six rows back in the audience started waving wildly.

I acknowledged him and he said in heavily accented English, “No interpreter!”

I responded, “I will speak verrry slooowly.”

The entire audience, some 600 strong laughed with us. Moments later, the interpreter, speaking through the earphones the audience was wearing, apologized for being late.

The moral of that story is Confianza, Spanish for Trust. The audience member assumed I would trust him. The laughter of the audience said they trusted me and the organization putting on the conference. The interpreter’s apology sealed the deal.

Here’s the slide that was up.

Trust (Confianza) plus time equals success. That is as true today as it was 10 years ago.

But the point that followed it has proven to be prophetic.

Marketing today on and offline is about Trust (Confianza)

  • In yourself
  • In your staff
  • In your company
  • In your customer

Trust in yourself 
Just about every independent professional has that little voice that sits on your shoulder and insists that you are not really qualified or expert enough. Working through the steps of 30 Second Marketing can solve that for you and at the same time make you more memorable and easier to refer.

Trust in your staff 
If you’re a solopreneur that means structure your processes in such away that personal foibles don’t get in the way of getting the job done. If you’re a corporate manager it is similar but in this case the clarity of your directions to staff and allowing them to use creative problem solving based on pre-set criteria will make our life more joyous. Trust ‘em and both your personal and product related brand will rise in the customer’s view.

Trust in your company 
The organization you work for is not just a legal formality. If you’re a solo or partnership or ensemble there will be a brand associated with the organization. It will be the sum total of what people aware of the company think, feel and believe about it. Corporate manager? You, too, mus establish trust in the organization. That starts with you demanding to understand what the real objectives are and agreeing with the ethics of the outfit. Then you have to make that information understandable for your staff. Your company will have a brand whether one id wanted it or not.

Trust in your customer.
The customer has always controlled brand. In the Mad Men era, mass media wielded tremendous influence over what people believed. They trusted what those 60-second commercials had to say. Customers were loyal to a fault.

The internet altered that.

Today they can “shop around” for anything in seconds.

Today you have customers rebelling against traditional and digital marketing approaches.

  • To belong
  • To be respected
  • To be recognized

Today they are moved less by selling and more by understanding their needs:

Serving and rewarding their communities will build your brand and their loyalty.

They will make repeat purchases and refer you.

They will be willing to pay a 25% increase in price over the competition.

They will still wait for you to introduce a competitive product

The answer is to champion something 
It isn’t about you. It is about them and their values. Be careful. It is nearly impossible to go back after you commit without destroying the brand you’ve nurtured.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

The Overlooked Dimension

The world is 3-D.

Our eyes are specially adapted to focus on a point that exists where our mind directs. So why are most of our business models two dimensional?\

The Z-axis

The Cartesian Coordinate system has three axes: X, Y and Z.

The Z-axis is overlooked most of the time. The most frequently seen business graphs use the X and Y axes in an L shape with time on one dimension and money on the other. The next step up is to set up a graph with the X and Y axes crossing at a center point. Suddenly one can put ranges from bottom to top on one and left to right on the other. This sort of graph is particularly good at comparative outcomes.

The whole story

You can’t tell the whole story with just two axes. That is why often there is slew of graphs in a business presentation. And you’re asked to assemble the data in your mind to get the whole picture.

I was intrigued with this problem in the days before I started my Consulting practice. (That’s why my corporation is Z-axis Marketing, Inc.) I believe we restrict ourselves to essentially two-dimensional thinking because of the tools that were available. Pen and paper do not lend themselves to 3-D visualization. Yes, it can be done but it takes the ability of an artist to really be convincing and plotting data is not easy.

The trust factor

Then, too, how do you decide what three factors really tell the story of a business? In my view you need to show the interaction between:

Time (in most cases months and years but days and weeks can prove useful)

Money (the primary measure of any business– can be stated as income, revenue, profit etc.)

Trust (the single factor that can make or break any organization in my view)

Trust is best demonstrated by situations such as the Tylenol poisoning recall. The share of market dropped to 8% when cyanide was found in product on the shelf. They recalled all products, developed tamperproof packaging and returned to the market recapturing their 35% share of market.

In my experience, Trust is the predicator of success or failure for all independent professionals. I have been comparing the citations of Trust in testimonials and reviews versus the pricing and estimated income for consultants and coaches for the last 15 years and seen the proof of the saying:

People do business with individuals and companies they know, like and trust.

And Brand is an expression of that trust.

Data Points

So why don’t we have programs on every business desktop to give us 3-D graphing capability?

We don’t have sufficient data points. Scientists gather data on every variable they can find. Often, they are drowning in data. Businesses don’t. If it isn’t part of the accounting package it is given short shrift.

That is because the Z-axis is best used to show how a social factor impacts the bottom line. Acquiring the data in the time required is considered “expensive and not part of the essential data needed.”

And so it goes.

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Jerry Fletcher, Brand Poobah is a sought-after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, as well as founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and Business Development on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com

Brand Consequences

Brand can disintegrate if you don’t have the right team in placc.

Jim asked me to build a campaign to lure millionaire business CEOs and owners to a seminar hosted by a business bank, a major law firm, an investment banking firm and an expert on leadership as well as succession.

Focus
One of the reasons those men and women have become millionaires is that they succeeded in business. Starting a business is hard. Building it is harder still. Succeeding in building personal wealth at that level can be a herculean task.

In most cases what got them through is the ability to focus on picking one thing at a time and giving it their full attention for a minute or month.  A solid brand is the consequence.

The other side of the coin
When you focus and things turn out as hoped it can pile up ego. You can begin to believe there’s nothing you can’t do. Entrepreneurs that try to do it again quickly learn the need for resilience. Business owners that have been in their position over years lose some of the flexibility that made them winners in the early days.

The ego consequence
Because I consult with advisors like Jim and others that negotiate mergers and acquisitions and manage personal investments I hear the tales of woe that make me want to reach out and grab these millionaires by their lapels, shake them and tell them in a hit man’s quiet tones to stop believing they can do everything.

The real scorecard
Their egos can cost owners millions. That is millions before, during and after the sale of their company:

  • You can lose a third of the value cited in the letter of intent on the appraisal alone.
  • You could make assumptions on the value of your brand and not have the ongoing customers to back it up
  • You might not consider actions of the company you no longer run impacting the payout.

Without expert professionals on your team to sell your company you can count on making mistakes you won’t even be aware of making. You will see it on the scorecard—the price you get for this thing you gave our life to build. You will get a lot fewer dollars for all the blood, sweat and tears that went into building that brand. It can seem like your brand is disintegrating a pixel at a time.

What is your brand worth?
Entrepreneurial brands are built on individual and team knowhow. Innovative brands may profit from public offerings. No one tries to go that alone. Few empire builders have had the time or the inclination to carve out expertise in the arena of mergers and acquisitions. Why would you assume what got you here will take care of you there?

Do you want full value? Is it worth swallowing a bit of pride? Is it important enough to ask for help from experts?

The right team
You can build a company and a brand but usually it takes a team to take it to its greatest heights.

Selling a company is also a team sport. Selling what took you the better part of a life-time to build requires another lineup. You need experts:

  • A lawyer that has real experience in buying and selling companies
  • Investment bankers skilled in preparing a company for sale and for the inevitable appraisal
  • A management consultant who can help you build the leadership team that will continue to make the company profitable

That is the team at a bare minimum. You will also need accountants and a professional negotiator.

Brand Consequences
If the sale is managed properly your brand will go forward as strong as it ever was. If you’re lucky it will be like Craftsman Tools formerly offered exclusively by Sears but now available at Lowe’s.

Your personal brand is another matter. If you get significantly less for the company than the market perceives is the worth it will be ascribed to your ineptitude. If you strike a great deal (even if the brand is absorbed by the purchasing organization} it will be reported positively in the business press and you will get the credit.

Like Brand it takes time
You can believe the buyer (the opposition) will have the best team money can buy. Your lineup must be just as strong.

You can’t get top dollar jumping in at the last minute. You must plan this just like the most important thing you’ve ever done to build the firm. If you want to sell in five years you need to start now. First, establish who would make up the best team in town. Meet with them. Start building a relationship. Determine if you can trust them. Ask their advice before you start. You can hire them later. Right now you want to know what you can do on your own. You need to know what you don’t know.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com 9

Brand Stagecraft

Think of your brand in a concert hall or conference room

Yesterday I reviewed the latest blog from Science of People. One of the items was about how to use the physical elements of the stage to enhance your ability to communicate when making a speech.

That got me thinking about how we present information about our brand on web sites.

Brand is the expression of Trust.

How you stage yourself, your product or service makes a difference. Your words can tell prospects they are seen, heard and understood. That creates a level of empathy. Your authority must sync with it to get to Trust. Stagecraft can make the difference. Let them see an expert guide.

The body has a language of its own

Some people craft what they say as if the world will hang on each word. It doesn’t. Your physical appearance in the space impacts it just as much. The elements of body language that can impact your meaning are:

  • Facial Expressions (including your eye movements)
  • Body posture
  • Gestures
  • Breathing
  • Touching to include handshakes

Brand is all about getting to trust. If your posture gives the lie to the empathy you are presenting in your words, you lose. A direct gaze in a Latino culture is a challenge or a romantic indicator. Want to come across as an expert? Relax your hands. That indicates confidence and self-assurance across most cultures. Breathe. Take full deep breaths. Shallow breathing means you are nervous.

All that applies whether you are in a one-on-one meeting, on stage or on video.

Blocking for intimacy

The stage has a front (closest to the audience), a middle and a back (upstage). Intimacy increases the closer you are to the front. It is the same with photos you use on your web site. It is the same in any video you do. Think about how in a movie there’s a shot of the city that cuts to a street with our hero and guide walking along that cuts to a close-up of them talking. That builds intimacy without saying a word. As the distance between the presenter or product is reduced the intimacy increases.

Importance is all about placement

Looking at a stage there is a left, a center and a right from the audience’s viewpoint. If you are presenting something that has a time line involved you may want to begin at the audiences left and work your way to the right to physically enforce the time frame. If you use flashbacks as part of your presentation, always move to the point in the linear narrative where the action occurred. Your audience will get it without a lot of explanation.

All of us have seen web sites with pricing and benefits arrayed from lowest price and inclusions on the left to most on the right. Sears Roebuck started this with their catalog offering of Good, Better and Best. Most commonly today these options are identified on web sites as Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Position can also indicate importance.

In cultures that read left to right/top to bottom, the tendency is to place the most important item on the left moving to lesser items to the right. Where should your most important service be positioned in the offering on the web site? The service panel templates usually have three options. I recommend putting your signature item on the left, the next best revenue producer in the middle and the lowest of the three on the right.

Position vs Intimacy

Combining position and intimacy of graphic can shift this reaction. Frequently there is emphasis put on the center item to supercede the positional importance.

For instance, place an intimate photo of the product/service in the center flanked by less intimate graphics of the other two services. Our tests show that the intimacy of the graphic tends to be the governing factor when there is a difference. If the graphics are similar, position wins.

Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage…

Look at how you block your brand appearance to enhance your connection with your audience.
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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand Anew

Woman developing marketing mindset

When is it time to rebrand?

  • If people can’t remember the name of your business it may be time to rebrand.
  • If people can’t spell the URL for your website, it may be time to rebrand.
  • If people recall your name and not the name of your business, it may be time to rebrand.
  • If people start to think of you in connection with one product more than the one you started with, then it may be time to rebrand.
  • If the market is disrupted and your business becomes passe, it may be time to rebrand.

There are other reasons.

Mergers. Acquisitions. Legal hassles. Reinvention of a product line. To apply new technology. To update the graphic representation of the company.

All those are valid. But the difference from that first list is in the viewer. Those first five reasons are all from the viewpoint of the client or customer. They might be asking you to change to build a better communications stream. It is all about them.

Your prospects, customers or clients are the heroes of the story.

Brand happens whether you like it or not. If you believe as I do that brand is the sum of all your interactions with a prospect, client or customer and an expression of their trust in you then you must pay attention to the signals they send.

I learned the hard way.

When I opened my consulting practice in 1990 I incorporated under the name Z-axis Marketing, Inc. like most entrepreneurs I didn’t research the company name. I just jumped in. Bad move.

The original logo

I was slow to learn that people just couldn’t remember the name. Then one day a client and friend told me he couldn’t remember the URL for my website when he was trying to do a referral. That got my attention. But I didn’t do anything about it immediately. I took the time to investigate what other independent professionals did.

A basic rule.

I found that independent professional brands are locked to personal names. Over time the name may be shortened to just the last name of the founder/owner. Or if it is a partnership or ensemble the shortening may be to the first two names on the masthead or the first letters of the names. Examples abound:

  • From the world of fashion: DKNY (which is Donna Karan New York)
  • From the world of consulting: Ernst & Young
  • From advertising: JWT (J Walter Thompson)

This is particularly true for small firms and start-ups. In initial phases of a business, the reputation of the founder(s) is what will lead the way to client acquisition.

Now you know who built this company

An introduction

These days when I’m asked to introduce myself at a networking gathering or even in response to the question, “What do you do?” Here’s how I respond:

“I’m Jerry Fletcher, the Brand Poobah.

You know how people are always telling you that you gotta have a brand to be successful?

What I do is work with independent professionals to craft a unique trust-based brand to build a business, a career and a life of joy.

I’ve found unforgettable brands for 127 independent professionals at last count.”

Multiple Brands

Now my name is a part of all my brands. All? Yes. I began speaking in 1993. The topic I selected was Networking. I became the Networking Ninja. By then, I was smart enough to know that my name had to be part of the brand.

Fast forward to this year and you can see how the logo has changed.

But another change is coming. Over the last two years I’ve been asked about Brand more than ever before. Google Trends shows me that interest in brand far outweighs interest in social networking and has done so over the last 4 years.

That is why you’ll begin seeing this logo. And why I’ve been blogging about Brand now for two years.

Are you ready to brand anew?

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in Colombia
On stage in Bogota, Colombia/

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Conditional Brand

Conditional Brand reaches out through virtual technology

Chris and I met for lunch and to talk about what’s new in automated digital marketing.

After the usual recap of the last month’s activities we got down to cases.

Getting Pixelled ain’t pretty.

 You know how you’ll just casually look at shoes or furniture or a new whiz-bang tech gadget while you’re answering e-mail or stuckon an interminable phone call and then for days later every time you turnaround ads for that sort of stuff keep popping up in your browser? You, myfriend have been pixeled.

The way that works is that a 1×1 pixel is placed on web page and is triggered whenever the page is visited or a positive action taken such as signing up for a newsletter or an information packet or white paper. When that action occurs, the pixel acquires the information needed to retarget you.

You have been retargeted.

Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that uses simple Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web. Each time you visit a site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, when you browse the Web, the cookie lets a retargeting provider know when to serve ads, ensuring that ads are served to only those people who have visited the pixeled site.

 The Cookie is no dummy

It is stored on your browser. It tracks your movements on the website in question and remembers your behaviors and preferences. It doesn’t transfer across browsers, but most of us use a single browser 80 to 90 Percent of the time.

One common way a cookie gets placed on your browser is via Contextual Targeting. This is most common on those “news” pages in your browser. Click on what appears to be news feed and before you can swipe to the next photo you’re confronted by a display ad. Chomp! You just bit into the cookie.

One step further

The latest wrinkle in on-line marketing takes pixeling and retargeting(or remarketing if you prefer) one step further. It personalizes brand to the maximum. We decided to call it “Conditional.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. You have been pixeled and retargeted.
  2. You return to the web site and are served up the site you first visited.
  3. As you refine your search on the site or look into other products the cookie remembers.
  4. The next time you visit, the site may appear and read entirely differently depending on the information you shared on your last visit because the cookie is relaying where you are in the customer journey for this product or service
  5. Each time you visit the conditional site can change to match up with your previous behavior and stated preferences.

If/then constraints

It becomes very quickly apparent that massive amounts of copy and graphic changes might have to be employed to take this capability to maximum effect.

Few of us have sufficient knowledge of our customers journey and how to shift our web sites to handle different basic personality differences let alone for the massive number of changes going completely conditional might force.

Then, too, we need to maintain the key elements of the brand’s value proposition and positioning. How much personalization can we inject and still maintain the Trust that separates our brand from competitors?

 Conditional websites will come

It is already starting to happen. We will keep an eye on this development and let you know more as we uncover the trend.

Let us know if you run into an example.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com His consultingpractice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development,Positioning and business development for independent           professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com0

Brand Edge On

A friend once described the Platte river (near Denver, Colorado) as a mile wide and an inch deep.

Your brand might be like that.

You have a choice to make:

  • Maintain your broad coverage
  • Dive deep into a select audience segment.
  • Try a little of both

The broad brush

Your target may be portrayed in broad brush strokes at the beginning. Most entrepreneurs believe that broad appeal will get them the most customers.

Maybe.

More often the broad appeal helps those who will become their best customers/clients find the company, product or service. That gives the appearance of a brand that works. But if you don’t regularly probe the information your customers/clients are willing to give you the profiles of your best purchasers will not be revealed.

Edge on

How can you tell? The rule of thumb is that the more niched you are, the better off you’ll be. Generally, that is true. To evaluate your situation, look at the depth of what you know about your client base, the percentage of your sales that cluster in one group, initial and repeat purchases as well as the estimated life time value (LTV) of the individuals as well as where you want to take the business.

The more carefully you describe your avatars, verify them with market research and, over time, add details to their portraits the better you will understand the kind of people that can make you successful. If you’re well-funded, that research can be done by a specialist firm. If you’re little guy, under-funded, or a start-up you may have to do personal interviews to get a handle on that better picture.

What works? I’ve been successful with all three of the choices. More successful with a deep dive. Most successful with the combination and carefully watching the metrics.

Deep Art

The more detailed portrayal of your ideal customer/client the greater the probability of enhanced profits. True, there may be fewer. But each will be worth more in most cases. Repeat purchases are the primary reason as well as a tendency to accept higher prices. The fact that you have found them and are personalizing your approach establishes a large emotional difference from competitors. It makes your brand unique.

Detailed knowledge of two or three groups can not only add to your profits, it can extend the life of your business. A financial planner might open the doors and quickly find that her primary customers are Baby Boomers but that they are referring their children who are in the cohort known as Boomers II or Generation Jones born between 1955 and 1965. They, too, refer other youngsters, born between 1966 and 1976 (Generation X).

The planner may find that Generation X is significantly different from the older clients. But her only way to build the business long term is to understand the differences, speak their language and make the picture familiar to them.

The cohorts are often put into “Buckets.” You could easily identify the three noted above. But the Brand oriented planner will take it a step further using automation software that allows you to “tag” each contact with a full array of ways to sort them into segments within the groups. Here are just a few:

  • Demographics (Age, sex, income, education, housing etc.)
  • Psychographics (Observable personal behavior)
  • Engagement (The degree they respond to your offers)
  • Purchase Behavior (purchases, repeat purchases frequency, recency)
  • Satisfaction (Reviews and testimonials)

Wade in

Keep track of what you learn about your customers/clients. The depth of your knowledge will impact the value of your business every single day.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand is the Path to Joy

These days when people ask me what I do, I respond:

I’m a Brand Poobah.

You know how everyone tells you that you need to have a brand but nobody tells you how to do it?

What I do is work with independent professionals to craft a unique trust-based brand they can use to build a business, a career and a life of joy.

If you are interested, I’ll give you brand examples and hard data on the transformations we have achieved.

But today I want to focus on the word Joy. A life of Joy has been part of my promise to clients for while now, but I didn’t always think that way. A dentist and his wife changed my ways.

I’ve never forgotten the lesson Mark and Maria taught me.

I had agreed to meet with them at their home after the practice had closed for the day and both of them were free to talk. I’ve always started with a straightforward assessment of what folks wanted to get from my strategic marketing assistance. I asked them to write down their three objectives without letting the other know. They did and passed their notes across the kitchen table to me.

I opened each in turn and then said, “You don’t need me now. You two need to talk to one another.” With that said, I picked up my notebook and handed each the other’s note. As their tears welled up I let myself out.

He had written:

  1. Schedule more hours including evenings every day we are open.
  2. Build the business to $000,000/year
  3. Get an assistant so Maria doesn’t have to spend every day in the office.

She noted:

  1. Make the business successful
  2. Be able to spend more time with Mark at home.
  3. Have a baby.

Our second meeting was full of joy.

Joy that they now had a joint view of what a successful business would look like for them.

Joy that both were more concerned about loving each other.

Joy that a child was being planned for.

Joy that their Brand idea changed.

They moved from being a dentist and office manager trapped in a practice that would count on extended hours to reach for a number that allowed no intimacy to becoming a dentist and his wife who had a life, a family and a Brand to share with the world.

Love ain’t work.

You know you are going to have a brand whether you work at it or not. Everything you do impacts it. Imagine the difference if you are doing what you love. You will quickly realize that if you are doing what you love you are not working. But it can be different for those closest to you.

Step back. Have a candid conversation with your team, the ones in the business and out of it. Is there a change that you could make that would bring everyone the delight you enjoy? That’s a better brand.

Too often we look at the income we want to generate and proceed to build plans to accomplish that goal without counting the time we will have to put into it and the impact that plan will have on everyone involved.

A better brand…guaranteed.

You cannot do it alone. Solopreneurs sooner or later feel lost and alone. But they don’t have to be. They can make friends, become a member of a meetup group or, with luck, find that special someone. I’ve been on both sides of that equation and having others in your life and your business is the better way. And it leads to a better Brand, guaranteed.

Mark, Maria and Michaela are a joy!

Michaela is now a teenager. The dental practice is doing well. Maria still does the books and supervises the office staff. We positioned the practice with a huge smile wearing corrective braces and the words “The Mark of Fine Dentistry”. Mark specializes which allows him to keep the hours he and Maria like, make the income he wants and cheer Michaela on the soccer field.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Verbal Branding is Way Over a Programmers Pay Grade

I watched a video the other day.

It was Russell Brunson’s 10x speech where he made over $3 million for his appearance. That is the single highest payment I’ve ever heard for a speech. No, they didn’t pay him that. He spoke for free on the condition that he could sell from the stage.

And sell he did. A couple minutes in he got people to commit to a price of $11,552 if he could 10x their business. And did I mention there were 9000 people in the audience?

Copy is critical

One product in the massive bonus he offered was called: Funnel Scripts. It is an automated way to write copy for all the elements in his approach to marketing on line. Headlines, sales letters, squeeze pages thank you pages, upsells, downsells, you name it.

Except for Mission, Position and Brand

Brand is not included.

Verbal Brand is over a programmer’s pay grade. Way over. Although most people think of brand more as a name or a logotype or a graphic symbol the words that go with that artwork are what we use to refer people and embed the individual, product/service or company in a colleague’s mind.

Verbal Brand. Here are examples that may be familiar to you:

Forbes: Capitalist Tool
Nike: Just do it
BMW (USA only): “The ultimate driving machine “
Disneyland: “The happiest place on earth”
Intel: “Intel Inside”
Allstate Insurance: You’re in good hands with Allstate

What you say is linked to what you see.

Every time someone tells me a picture is worth a thousand words I think back to one of my early mentors. He asked for the newspaper front page and my scissors and then proceeded to cut the photos out. He cleared my desk and then placed the front page minus the photos face down on the desk. He put the photos he had trimmed out in their approximate position next to the front page. Then he said, “Take a look at the photos and tell me either story as completely as you can.”

I stumbled around for a bit and he whisked the photos away and turned the trimmed-out front page over asking me to take a moment to read and then tell him either story.

Words carry meaning, graphics embed emotion.

The story can be told in words alone.

The emotion can be increased with the right photo.

Together they give us greater memorability.

And in today’s world being remembered is a premium outcome. You, your business and your product/service need a brand that you influence with the right stuff: a name, a logo and a memorable slogan—the brand that folks recall to refer you, recommend you and repeat purchase.

Memorable Positions, Slogans and Brands  

They stay in your mind long after the advertising melts away. Some examples:

Where’s the beef?

“Think Different”

“We try harder.”

“Fly the Friendly Skies”

“Because You’re Worth It”

Struggling with building your verbal brand? Call me at 503 957-7901


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand Overwhelm

I can’t sleep. Something is niggling at the back of my mind. And though I’m not a morning person I open my e-mail program at 6:30 AM. It is still dark outside. The coffee is still too hot to drink so I let it cool, blocking the lower right corner of the screen.

I catch myself starting at the bottom of the e-mail in-box and clearing out item after item that is out of date or there for reasons I no longer remember.

It got me again!

Because I’m the Brand Poobah I need to look at, read, review and consider anything that comes into my sights on Brand. That is a lot of information. My job, in part is to glean the nuggets from the onslaught for my clients. I know there is pony in here somewhere but…

Brand overwhelm has once again woven its insidious spell over my inbox and the various stacks upon my desk. Right now, these are the stacks:

  • 11 books, 3 read, 2 partially gleaned and others picked up at trade shows. There are 3 keepers, 1 to be returned to a friend and the rest on their way to a new home at the local library second hand book store.
  • 3 stacks of client work, each with a three-ring binder, a current projects folder and notes from our last meeting. One is up to date after I pick up some printing. The second is awaiting a decision that is the gating factor for 4 interrelated brand projects. The third is going to eat my Sunday afternoon because of a promise I made yesterday about making sure the new website doesn’t muck up the brand.
  • Speaking Follow up which includes the log of my ongoing conversations regarding appearances as well as the two programs I need to finish for my on-line learning group, prep for scheduled appearances (2), updates to all my speaker directory web sites and looking at shifting from Networking Ninja to Brand Poobah as my Speaker Brand. (That alone requires all new business materials as well as a new web site and shifts in all the directories.) Can you feel the overwhelm creeping up on cat’s paws?
  • Linked in Facts, Fantasies and Factoids that must be sorted through, acted on and disseminated to clients for action to maintain their brands. Did you know you can have a company page on Linked In? And, for some folks, the ability to advertise on this B2B whale needs to be considered.
  • White papers, Blog printouts and other downloads that looked important at the time because, in general, they provide advice on building and maintaining a brand. These can be sorted into social media methodologies, evergreen advice and how-to manuals for the programs I’ve purchased to help me promote my Brand.

Overwhelm is sneaky.

I looked at my schedule this morning and only one item from above was on the calendar. One!

It is going to be a long day. I’m betting that the best part of it will be the visit to the printer for some client materials. The rest of it is going to be devoted to going through the piles, eliminating what I can, filing what needs to be kept but doesn’t demand action and then scheduling those things which Brand demands I do.

I know I’m not alone.

This happens to all my clients. Independent Professionals even the elite ones I work with, suffer from Brand Overwhelm. The most significant crush arises out of people saying, “you just have to use or be on or stay engaged in (pick a social media).”

That way lies madness.

Keep it simple is my advice:

  1. Make sure your website, directories and social media profiles all are consistent.
  2. Pick only one or two Social Media sites to be present on. I suggest Linked In if your business is B2B and Facebook if you are B2C as the primary. For the second, look at everything else, settle on one and stick to it.
  3. Blog weekly, Interact on your primary social media daily and try not to be overwhelmed.

Don’t let brand overwhelm get you down.

It happens to all of us. We’re always trying to make our brand better. We look at all the advice out there. If the advice steers you to one social media as the be-all and end-all, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. Should that on-line pundit say you have to change your brand take it with a large grain of salt because an established brand is hard to shift or change–really, really hard. Stick with the basics. Don’t get swept up into a passing fancy.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com