It Ain’t All About Brand

Kate looked like she was ready to blow a fuse. Normally, our sales strategist is as calm as a mountain lake at dawn. Today her dark brow was furrowed and her multi-hoop earrings sounded like castanets as she shook her head back and forth.

Bubba asked, “Wha’s stuck in your craw m’dear?”

Flamingo “Don’t m’dear me,” Kate exploded.

Then, shamefaced she said, “I’m sorry I jumped you Bubba. You’re probably the one that can solve this conundrum.”

Rob, our branding Buddha perked up and responded, “How so?”

“I met with a prospect this morning. Let’s just say he was hard over on brand. When I told him how his untrained sales force was perceived he said it didn’t matter because his brand was so ‘in’ that nothing could stand in the way of success.”

Rick, who runs a world-class direct marketing operation sat down his drink and said, “Walk away.”

Kate shot a questioning look over her glasses.

“I mean just what I said,” he continued. “Don’t bother trying to change his mind. It doesn’t matter whether it is Brand or Sales or Margins or Promotions or something else. When an entrepreneur gets hung up on a single business element it is only a matter of time until that business is no more.”

Bubba blustered, “Mos’ folks think that brand is all about being a flamingo in a flock of pigeons. Believin’ you can control it is like a banty rooster thinkin’ the sun comes up to hear him crow! No way! No how! Brand is the sum total of all the interactions folks have with you or your product or service. You can’t let any part of the business fall behind and dependin’ on getting the business without having an up-to-scratch sales force is just dumb.

Too often folks hear all about the clever ideas and the thing that goes viral and they think that is all there is to it. That lasts about as long as a whiff in a whirlwind.”

“I’m with Bubba on this one,” I said. “The problem is that people think brand is logotypes and slug lines and clever ads but that stuff isn’t what sticks with customers and clients and prospects looking for your product or service.

A brand is deeper. It is capricious. It connects unpredictably. It is fickle. It bonds with one psyche yet not another. It is a capricious summary not a single statement. It is a total of random touches and not a trump card.”

Kate said, “I just figured out what to do. I’m going back at him and ask if he’d like to have lunch with you guys and share his expertise.

The Takeaway:

It ain’t all about brand as a singular way to build a business. It is all about brand if you understand that it is the joint perception of everything you say and do.


 Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Look at the blog at:

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.comFlamingo


4 thoughts on “It Ain’t All About Brand

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  3. I am confused.

    My experience has shown that brand is the “one” thing that you stand out like a “Flamingo” and your customers are willing to pay for your services / products.

    For example, Apple’s products are great, but they are expensive, try calling their help line, it sucks, walk into an Apple store for help … well you walk out feeling stupid by an eighteen year old kid.

    Here is another …

    In 2013, we had to book two months in advance to get a table at a restaurant in Paris. The moment you are seated the waiter with thick French ascent will tell you that here we serve good food, but the service is bad. We didn’t know how bad until experiencing it. Not to mention that the place is a hole in the wall, tables are cramped up, no AC, and expensive. But you know what? It didn’t matter as we ended up licking our fingers: the food simply was superb. We will return given the chance again, and have shared the experience with inserted friends too.

    Isn’t the brand for both just “one” thing, quality?

    What am I missing?

    • Michael,

      Brand is the sum total of all the impressions of your product or service that accrete to you over time. Think about what you wrote. What if you felt uplifted by the Apple genius (as many folks do) Would that make the brand stronger for you? There are restaurants where the “brand” is based on surly waiters. The better you present all aspects of your product or service the better your brand will be. When someone remembers you for one thing but always reports a downside, sooner or later you will lose.

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