Three Scary Brand Questions

I told them I was going to make them uncomfortable.

# Scary Brand QuestionsA client asked me to speak to the students in the college level class he is teaching. He asked that I give them some basics about brand which they will be able to apply to change viewpoints about themselves and the departments they lead. These are guys and gals that want to become CIOs.

My advice came from these three questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why should I care?

I’ll bet answers don’t flow swiftly off your tongue.

That’s because we don’t think this way. Take the first question. Most of us begin with our name. Some go on to tell you their title and the organization they work in. Others tell you where they were born or grew up. Ex-military usually say so. Each of us answers differently and in doing so reveal a great deal about our personalities. Often, if people just wait you’ll reveal occurrences in your child hood that changed you for life.

You can’t hear what you are saying.

Yes, you may be able to repeat the words. But what is the meaning hidden within? Why was that event in your childhood so important for the person you are now? What do the decisions you discussed have to do with how you are seen now?  Why did you reveal these things? How are you hoping the information will be used?

The trick is to have someone tell you what you told them.

Suddenly, you will see yourself as others see you. That is what Personal Brand is all about.

You are not an “elevator speech.”

What you do is not who you are.  In North America, “What do you do?” is the most asked question. Unlike other parts of the world we tend to equate the two. may help you cure yourself of this.

Conversation or Commercial?

Major corporations hire me to teach their executives how to Network. All of them assume I’m going to teach some form of Elevator pitch. I don’t. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation than have someone blurt a commercial at you? 30-Second Marketing makes you more memorable, builds trust in you and lets you know when you should ask, “What do you do?”

I used to answer: “I build websites that make rain.”

So what?

That is the question my sales mentor asked me. You’d do your pitch and he’d say” So What? Why is that important to the customer?”

I responded, “You know how since your niece or nephew went off to college you can’t change your web site? What we do is build you a site that you can change words and pictures on as much as you like. And we’ll be sure you can’t screw up the navigation.”

Good Question.

“Why should I care?” makes it easy to picture a prospect thinking that. Usually manners keep them from actually saying it.  But they think it…just like you do when someone obviously doesn’t understand your interest (or lack of it). Next time you begin to list features and benefits, Stop. Ask, as if you were them, “Why should I care?”

When it comes to Brand you’ve got to speak in their terms, not yours.

Get Scary.

Partner up with a friend. Answer the three questions. Give each other honest feedback. Notice how your brand becomes easier to understand for you as well as your friend, not to mention prospects, clients/customers and colleagues.

Jerry Fletcher is a beBee Ambassador and founder/Grand Poobah of

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.


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