Is Your Brand “Strangely Familiar?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting

There is a point in time when your product is not a known quantity. People may not have an idea what it is and what it does. They need a way to wrap their mind around it. They need something familiar to connect to the strange. Here are some examples:

  • Horseless carriage
  • Digital camera
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Big box store
  • Electric car
  • Selfie stick
  • Virtual reality

That is the way to get hordes of people to comprehend what you offer. Those descriptions came from multiple directions. “Horseless Carriage” was first heard on the streets as the first automobiles were introduced. The” Digital Camera” dates back to the 1950s and is a spin-off of video camera design! The electric car was “invented” by multiple people starting in 1828. Today’s versions tend to be “hybrids” a combination of gas and electric but if fueling and range can be corrected an “all-electric” could be the coming thing.

This just in (sort of)

More recent additions to the above list might be:

  • Self-driving car.
  • Rollerblades
  • 3-D Printer

In every case, the familiar is combined with the strange to forge connections in our minds. Without such verbal equations we don’t have a shorthand term for the unknown product or service.  We don’t have a way to remember an offering.

It is all timing

There is a time in your life and that of the product or service you market that it needs to be strangely familiar and cited as “The.” The Selfie Stick, The rollerblades. The snowboard. If you’re lucky that yields a brand.  Later on you may have to add another word in order to protect your panache. Then you become “The original” as in The Original Pancake house,  The Original denim jacket and The Original Networking Ninja .

Factoring the familiar

Sometimes you need to add a little strange to make the familiar more powerful. That’s where Instant Brand and 30-Second Marketing come into play. Memorability can be added to anyone’s response to the question, “What do you do?”

Over the years I’ve used these responses:

  • Marketing Rainmaker (my original consulting title)
  • Networking Ninja (I’ve been speaking under that sobriquet and owned the URL since 1990)
  • Brand Poobah has been one of my titles for the last couple years as people kept asking me to help them with their Brand

Marketing, Networking and Brand are descriptive but not words that will tickle your little grey cells. Rainmaker says I can change your marketing and your life. Networking Ninja has a marvelous consonance and infuses expertise. Brand Poobah says expert but with a bit of tongue in cheek fun. All three are much more unforgettable than they were before the strange was added.

Want to make yourself “Strangely Familiar?”

Call me. 503 957-7901


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

 

Brand is Bias, Big Time

Nothing controls how you feel about things, right?

Guess again.

Decisions are not logical

Right down there in the bottom of your brain in the part called the amygdala is where all your emotions slosh around to make the decisions you can’t believe you made. As much as we wish the economists were right, humans do not make logical decisions. We decide based on feelings and then attempt to rationalize what we’ve done.

Bad ass biases

Is there something under those emotions that pushes us one direction or another?

You bet. It is called bias. All of us have them. Some are so accepted that we rarely notice them.

Smell      I’ve read that smell is the most primitive of our senses, the one most directly linked to our unwitting biases. Ever noticed how the smell of a bakery can lure you into the store? Does the smell of fresh mown grass make you think of a picnic by the lake? It’s hard to imagine being in the lobby of a movie theater without smelling fresh popped popcorn. Right?

Sight  We are a visual culture. Color alone can create a bias. It can have different meanings in different cultures. Red, in the west means stop or danger. But in China it is the color of life celebration worn on New Years, weddings and funerals. Yellow is a joyous color except in France, where yellow signifies jealously, betrayal, weakness, and contradiction. Blue holds more connotations than any other color around the world extending from depression to elation. Green is generally associated with earth, plants and new life. But be careful. In some South American cultures it is the color of death. Purple, early on, was a symbol of wealth but as the dye was more readily available it came to have other meanings. Now it is the color for funerals is common across Europe and South America.

Be sure the colors you use have the meaning you want in the culture where the brand will be sold. A bias against the color you choose could torpedo your product introduction.

Sound  it is easy to think that songs sung in English using western instrumentation and notation are the world standard. As ubiquitous as that sort of music is, it is not all that is out there. There is still tremendous pride and emotional linkage to native approaches around the world. And that power is possible to put to work for a brand. Think about how often melodies crafted in Vienna in another century set the mood for a perfume or high-end jewelry. Can you resist the rhythms of dance from Celtic to Flamenco to Argentine Tango?

The sound of a child crying gets attention in every culture. Even in the backwater of the third world, the sound of a jet taking off, a car being started or a soft drink pour are recognized. The sound that is familiar and fits with your brand can help build the bias you want.

Touch  this sense is the first to develop in the human fetus. Differences in the perception of touch around the globe are a minefield but gestures and body positions that do not involve touch can be just as dangerous. Have a native of the culture check touching, gesturing or body positions in every photo, video or other visual representation you intend to use.

In Korea, the touch of a woman’s skin is how great beauty is described. Each culture describes skin and the results of skin treatments differently Can you use the terms the natives are biased toward?

Taste There are some common denominators and some that can be found mystifying. Most of us can sense sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot and cold. But what is described as good or tasty, delicious or disgusting is completely variable by culture.

Do not even think of taking a food product from one country to another without first checking with specialists in the target company. Chees is not big on China’s idea of great imports. Hamburgers will not go over with the general populace of India.

Bias goes beyond the senses.

All of us use biases to explain why we like a specific brand. The experience we have with the organization that sells it may generate the bias we call preference. Starbucks is a good example of a bias like that. A brand that gives us a rationale for being part of a group that uses it can turn fandom into fantastic profits. Examples include Porsche, Rolex, Apple and Canondale.

We can be biased toward any product that solves the problem we have If it meets our resolution criteria and understands the emotions we feel about a solution. What brand comes to mind for you?


Jerry at Cafe in Venice

Jerry at a cafe along a canal in Venice.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

Trust, Brand and How to Get There

Brand is based on perceptions.

The greatest of these is trust.

If there is no trust, there is no positive brand. (Video Link) BUT there can be negative brand. Seldom if ever does a brand exist that is trusted by 100% of the populace. Even within the target audience for the product or service there will always be some that don’t get the message. There will be group that is not on board for many reasons chief of those being a negative experience.

Consider the current approval ratings of the Trump administration. More importantly, consider the desperate straits of leadership in the departments of the federal government where A and B list candidates are scorning appointments and refusing to serve.

When less than 50% of the population trusts you, you have a brand problem.

Trust and consequently Brand are dynamic.

Trust can change as quickly as new information becomes available and in today’s world that is just a tweet away. It doesn’t matter who tweets as we have seen over and over since Trump took office.

More importantly Brand can be impacted by any information presented to the audience whether it is “fair and balanced” or more blatant false news. The problem is that the same information causes diametrically opposed reactions depending on which part of the audience you poll. The level of Trust can shift just by which side presents the information.

Trust and Brand are situation specific

Either side, with privileged information, might have an advantage over the other. New information can reverse the situation. Sometimes the data can overlap. Whatever the truth may be, when the populace is divided and polarized the two sides will both claim victory and cite their perception of brand as righteous.

Even when one side is forced to retract their actions they will continue to claim their deeds were justified. Look at the comments that followed a judge’s ruling that the children of families seeking asylum here in the USA had to be returned to their parents.

Even the Trump oriented news organizations rightfully called it a backlash. What they aren’t mentioning is the backlash about treating asylum seekers as criminals. The most descriptive phrase for that is “anti-American.”

Trust and Brand are social or relational constructs.

That means that win or lose you have to play the game. If one side or the other refuse to engage the game is over. Only one brand will continue. If one side does not stand up for what it believes the other will slowly become dominant. Both sides need to be heard. Both need to listen. And both need to consider their actions as well as their words.

Trump advocates continue to say, “He’s doing what he said he would do.” That is true. How he is doing it is another matter. That is not going unnoticed. His loyalty to long term associates is being called into question now daily. Breeches of long-term American values are being noticed by everyone.

Getting to Trust and Brand is based on maintaining certain attributes over time.

The most important part of those components is credibility. People have to believe that your word is your bond. They want to believe they can believe you. To establish credibility you have to be real. you have to be trustworthy. And you need to be the same over time.

But being those things are dependent on how the audience perceives you. Right now, there are friends and neighbors of yours that will say that the current man in office meets all these qualifications. He is authentic. There are few if any like him. But he is not consistent. He is anything but. And when it comes to integrity, I would rather be his enemy than his friend. In short, I cannot trust him and for me that generates a negative brand.

Trust generates positive Brand.

You will have a Brand whether you want one or not.

A negative Brand will spawn terrorists that will do everything in their power to bring you and your organization/government/business down.

Yes, you can have a positive Brand and that will pay you dividends.

Positive Brand advocates will stay with you through the tough times refusing to buy in to another product or service or ideology. They will stay with you until you can match or beat the opposition as long as you don’t betray their Trust.

What is your stand on Trust and Brand?


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