Building Your Brand Catch Phrase

.

Catch Phrases Round 4

To establish your brand, to build your business, you gotta be memorable. If people can’t remember your name or the business name they won’t buy. The best way to generate awareness varies by type of business, the number of employees and available promotional budget:

  • Solopreneurs, particularly independent professionals like consultants, and coaches must find away to become known on little or no budget. Usually, they establish themselves through networking and direct sales. Even when you get past 6 figures in income the promotional budget may be limited. The most successful tend to use 30-Second marketing techniques (whether I’ve trained them or not) to present themselves with a Hook.
  • Small businesses, whether they are product or service oriented, early on will probable also use networking and direct sales to build sales. When your company is building, moving from 3 to 5 people to 25 and more the advertising budget will be constrained. That’s true even if you are running a successful on-line business (Pay Per Click ain’t cheap!). Because you will, in all likelihood, have more media opportunities you’ll be able to position the company, product or service with a tagline.
  • Larger businesses, those that have reached the size where they have sales and marketing staff tend to rely more on advertising and direct sales to generate the cash flow necessary to keep the business humming. Because they usually offer more than one product or service it is necessary to separate the corporate identity from that of the products (or services) offered. If a product or service is promoted on its own, the Corporate logo and tagline may be included in any advertisement but given less emphasis than a slogan.

Familiar Slogans and taglines

MasterCard:

  • Slogan: “There are some things money can’t buy. For everything else, there’s MasterCard.”  Created in 1997 Used in a campaign that appeared in 98 countries in 46 languages. The first commercial ended with an observation describing the time shared by a father and son at a baseball game that became the
  • Tagline: “Priceless”

Dollar Shave Club:

  • Tagline: “Shave Time. Shave Money.” This direct marketed subscription razor service was started by two young men from Venice California with their own savings. It turned heads when it introed in 2012 with a YouTube Video (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZUG9qYTJMsI&feature=youtu.be ) that went viral.

Today, that video has been viewed over 26 million times, the company has grown to over 1 million subscribers and was acquired by Unilever for $100 Billion in cash in 2016. Not bad for a five years work.

Nike:

  • Slogan “There Is No Finish Line”   Remember, a slogan is used by larger companies to differentiate products or services in a memorable way. This is the Nike slogan that has ben employed on a host of advertising campaigns starting in 1977. This unique message reflects what Nike is all about: the next challenge, and the one after that, and the one after that. It leads directly to the
  • Tagline “Just do it” is the better-known Nike message. “Just Do It” hovers over every product and event Nike creates or sponsors, and that’s exactly what makes it the company’s official tagline. It embodies a state of mind and encourages you to think that if you want to do it, just do it. That’s all it takes.

Hooks that work

Hooks are for little guys (& gals). Whether you are starting up or have reached a plateau in your business and feel you need to take it up a notch, 30-Second Marketing might be the solution.

It starts with a hook. Yes, you need to learn to Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close “em as well but start with a Hook. A hook is a short phrase that answers the question “What do you do.” Because it is part of a conversation it should not sound like a commercial. Later, you may adapt it and use it as a tagline but right now concentrate on making it memorable. Link it to the solution you provide for the problem for which 60 to 80 percent of your clients have engaged you.

Here are some tips to make your hook stand out from the crowd

  1. Use an analogy Here’s a recent example from my client files:

Larry Briggs is Leadership consultant. His response to “What do you do?” is Sticky Leadership. He described it in his speaker one-sheet like this:
Sticky Leadership is what comes after vision.
Sticky Leadership is what it takes to get to the next level.
Sticky Leadership is how you take the business you built one step higher.

Sticky Leadership is how successful entrepreneurs get their leadership to stick in the heads, hearts and actions of others.

2. Be specific

The world’s first consulting detective– Author Conan Doyle never claimed this for Sherlock. It is the hook offered by a screenwriter.

Contact Relationship Magician—One I’ve used when pursuing engagements in “Automagic Marketing.”

3. Keep it under 7 words

Imagineering—from the Disney organization. Short for imaginative engineering I’m told.

Defogger and Accelerator—For a management and leadership consultant and coach that brings clarity and speeds up processes.

I take the fear out of Queer—developed by a transgender speaker in a 30-Second Marketing Workshop. Think how powerful that is when directed to a meeting planner planning an “inclusive” event

Need help? Just about everyone does, particularly if you want folks to take action. Even if they remember you there is still the requirement to convince or persuade them to buy at least once if you are to be truly successful. Just call or e-mail.


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 Slogans, Taglines and Hooks

.

Catch Phrases, Round 3

Professional Brands are living breathing things. Logos are the visual representations, slogans, taglines and especially hooks are the verbal. Both formats grab consumers’ attention along with the name of the product or individual involved. At best, a slogan is simple to understand and remember. With luck it becomes a catch phrase they remember if nothing else from an ad or commercial.

What Makes a great slogan, tagline or hook?

  • It’s memorable.
  • It differentiates the brand.
  • It imparts positive feelings about the brand.

Slogan vs. Tagline

Although both “slogan” and “tagline” tend to be used interchangeably, they serve different purposes. 

A slogan often encompasses a company’s mission Slogans tend to be more serious, longer than taglines and, in my view, less catchy.

Taglines are often placed in proximity to the company’s logo on official advertisements, and are dedicated more specifically to brand awareness than slogans. A tagline is used to Position the product or company.

Independent professionals need a hook.

In fact, adhering to the precepts of 30-Second Marketing and finding a Hook, I believe will prove more rewarding. I recommend that it appear as part of a firm’s identity (as opposed to an ad slogan) — so it usually appears in conjunction with the firm’s name and logo.

Memorability is the reason for all three but the hook is the best option because it is intended to be delivered by principals of the firm in person and in media. If you’re an independent professional—a consultant, coach, financial planner, accountant, insurance agent, realtor, IT specialist (to name a few) this little tidbit is for you. A Hook answers the question, “What do you do?” it provides the essential component of a video introducing a firm’s founder or principal. It is a key element in all presentations and appears with the logo consistently.

A Hook is an invitation to a conversation rather than a commercial.

How you identify yourself in the first three seconds will determine whether or not you will be remembered. Prospects will hang all their knowledge of you going forward on your initial utterance. Memorable words will get you a place in their mind and possibly their heart.

The “hook” has been an integral part of 30-Second Marketing since I came up with it to replace that tired old “elevator speech”

The hook, by itself, can establish a Brand. Whichever kind of hook you select, it can do that job.

What are your choices?

,There are three that I know work. Each answers the question, “What do you do?” if you work in North America. They work, but are less comfortable, in other parts of the world.

  1. The Unforgettable Title
    This is a simple way to identify your expertise. Some examples:
  • Captain Crunch (A Certified Public Accountant)
  • Business Defogger (A top-notch Management Consultant)
  • Brand Poobah (A Professional Speaker –moi)
  1. The Beloved Benefit
    This one comes from knowing and understanding the desires of your target audience. It is specific about what you deliver for them in memorable language that comes from their vernacular. Examples:
  • “We remove the paperwork from clean water.” (A client company that is bringing digital approaches to water testing record keeping)
  • “We reboot employee mindsets to unleash their potential.” ( A client partnership that has developed, tested and guarantees their ability to help individuals find balance, eliminate stress and overcome addictions)
  • “We build websites that make rain.” (I used this one in the years that websites were key to new consulting engagements for me.)
  1. The Shock Style Connector
    Sometimes to stand out from the crowd you have to be a little shocking. This approach moves from shock to service and gains credibility along the way.
  • “I’m a Marketing Whore” (A possibility offered in a workshop by a woman who explained that she was looking for a job, had many years experience in multiple companies and had many “satisfied customers” along the way. She got a round of applause for her effort plus two job offers)
  • “I traffic in human flesh.” (An adoption attorney during a 30 Second Marketing workshop. She said it was the intro she used at cocktail parties to “break the ice.” It worked. Two workshop attendees asked for her help.)
  • “I’m a pick-pocket.” (A professional fund raiser who goes on to explain how he identifies donors and how to make them make charitable contributions. The non-profits that hire him never forget him and keep asking for his help)

Think about it.

None of those hooks take more than 3 seconds to set. None of them are easily released. None of them are easily associated with someone else once used.

Most importantly, when you are just wading in they give you memorability that might not come your way for years in any other way.

What is your instant Brand, your catch phrase?


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 and Product Catch Phrases

.

Catch phrases. Round 2

This round-up is dedicated to product catch phrases: Goodies like:

  • A diamond is forever
  • It takes a licking and keeps on ticking
  • Melts in your mouth, not in your hand
  • We try harder
  • Just do it

Do you remember when these were first used?

That’s a trick question as when they stopped being used is probably more important from the standpoint of their memorability for you.

A diamond is forever was first used in 1948 by DeBeers. It was developed by a copywriter at N. W. Ayer Advertising. But that was well after what would be considered a multi-media high content campaign had been going on since 1888. Back then, the major investors in the diamond mines realized that they had no alternative but to merge their interests into a single entity that would be powerful enough to control production and perpetuate the illusion of scarcity of diamonds. The instrument they created was called De Beers Consolidated Mines. De Beers continues to be the most successful syndicate of all time.

Ayer went to work on the account in 1938. The campaign included lush full color ads. Stories about movie stars stressed the size of diamonds that leading men presented to their loved ones. Fashion designers talked on radio programs about the “trend towards diamonds.” They even successfully suggested that De Beers have Queen Elizabeth visit the mines. Psychological testing, used right up to the present, continues to show that women consider diamonds a traditional and conspicuous signal of achievement, status and success…forever.

It takes a licking and keeps on ticking. I can still remember the distinctive voice of newscaster John Cameron Swayze intoning those words in black and white TV commercials from the 1950’s to the 70’s. That was after jewelers resisted carrying the watch because of its low 50 percent mark-up.  U.S. Time Co. decided to find different distribution setting up displays in drugstores, department stores, and cigar stands — with mechanical displays that dunked a ticking watch into water or banged it with a hammer.  Magazine ads stressed the product’s durability, shock resistance, and waterproofing.  By 1951, the company had produced almost 2 million, gaining an 18 percent share of the low-priced U.S. wristwatch market.

Swayze began his 20-year service as the Timex spokesperson when, in 1956 he was replaced as the Network news anchor by Huntley and Brinkley. He ended each spot which subjected a watch to some traumatic contrivance such as a whirling boat propeller or being run through the heavy wash cycle of a laundry machine with the words It takes a licking …

Melts in your mouth, not in your hand is the slogan and a brilliant positioning for M&Ms candies. They are named for their inventors and came about just before World War Two as a way to overcome how chocolate bars melted in summer heat before air-conditioning. They became a familiar part of C-rations during the war generating loyal customers by the millions.

It was one of the key examples of the art of positioning in the articles and later books authored by Trout & Reis who noted that the appeal was to Mom’s who were looking for a way to give their kids a candy snack that didn’t lead to chocolate spotted clothing.

We try harder comes is another example of positioning. It is one way to overcome the problem of having no significant difference from a competitor. At the dawn of the sixties, Hertz was first in rental cars. It was a clear choice. Avis, trailed far behind.

Robert C. Townsend was the president of Avis. During a briefing meeting at Doyle Dayne Bernbach (DDB) advertising he was grilled about the business. He was asked: “Do you have better cars, or more locations, or cheaper rates?” The answer was no to all three. But then Townsend said, “but we do try harder.”

DDB headlined an ad “Avis Is Only No. 2; We Try Harder” it was honest, honest and had an underdog’s fighting spirit. while painting Hertz as an uncaring, corporate behemoth.

Avis as the brave, plucky David taking on the slow, cumbersome Goliath worked. In 1962, Avis was not making a profit and had just an 11% market share. One year after the ad campaign launched, Avis was profitable. By 1966, Avis had 35% of the market.

Just do it is much more recent (1988). It is a trademark for Nike, based in my home town, Portland, Oregon.

According to the Center for Applied Research:

Nike’s “Just Do It” Advertising Campaign– According to Nike company lore, one of the most famous and easily recognized slogans in advertising history was coined at a 1988 meeting of Nike’s ad agency Wieden and Kennedy and a group of Nike employees. Dan Weiden, speaking admiringly of Nike’s can-do attitude, reportedly said, “You Nike guys, you just do it.” The rest, as they say, is (advertising) history.

Just Do It” was not only about sneakers. No longer content to be the choice running shoe of a few thousand marathoners and exercise nuts, Nike wanted to expand its operation to target every American, regardless of age, gender or physical-fitness level. “Just Do It” succeeded. By owning Nikes you were instantly a member of a desirable group. Nike eventually did not even bother to display the word “Nike” in commercials—the swoosh was ID enough.


And so it goes.

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 Catch Phrases

.

A catch phrase, according to Wikipedia “is a phrase or expression recognized by its repeated utterance. Such phrases often originate in popular culture and the arts. They typically spread through word of mouth and a variety of mass media… Some become the de facto or literal “trademark” or “signature” of the person or character with whom they originated.

Do you have a memorable catch phrase?

tAlthough catch phrases can occur within he context of radio or TV or Film or any public medium, they are noted for being repeated. Often they are heard multiple times in dramas, comedies or dramatic situations and become expected.

Here are just a few drawn from TV from the 1950’s to the present:

  • “Bazinga” Sheldon Cooper in The Big Bang Theory
  • “Danger Will Robinson” The Robot in Lost in Space
  • “Now cut that out” Jack Benny, The Jack Benny show
  • “Jane, you ignorant slut” Dan Akroyd to Jane Curtin Weekend Update / Saturday Night Live
  • “Make it so” Captain Jean Luc Picard in Star Trek The Next Generation

And so it goes.

I was looking for a way to end a comment on a social media blog and those words just leapt from my fingers on to the page.

So I used them again.

And again.

And yet again.

They became a kind of signature.

But today as I typed them on yet another comment I questioned where they had come from. I had used those words ending think pieces I publish here as well as under my “Different Slant” business observations and “Personal Notes” that deal with the subject of living in these troubled times.

What is the Genesis?

I asked myself where this catch phrase had come from. That question banged around in the little grey cells for a while and then I turned to Google.  I typed in “Quotes And So it Goes”

In seconds I knew the words “So it goes”

  • Are in the lyrics of a song by Billy Joel
  • Are in the Book of Pi when PI says, “And so it goes with God”
  • Are the title of Kurt Vonnegut’s Biography.

But most importantly the phrase “So it goes” was used continually in Vonnegut’s “Slaughterhouse Five” Most reviewers think it was Kurt’s way of punctuating death in this anti-war classic. Others say it is a common phrase heard in Irish households.

My words are an homage to Vonnegut…kinda.

The truth is It has been many years since I read Vonnegut. The phrase did not trigger his name or stories in my conscious computer. But, I figure the unconscious one must have been fired up.

He said, “So it goes.” I could have eliminated my use of “And” but somehow, for me, that seems right. Regardless, I tip my hat to a formidably funny but deep-thinking author that shifted a young man’s way of thinking a lot of years ago.

Do you have closing catch phrase that will stand the test of time like these?

  1. “Good night and good luck” Edward R. Murrow See it Now
  2. “Bon Appetit” Julia Child
  3. “Let’s be careful out there” Sgt Esterhaus Hill Street Bues
  4. “Good night John Boy” The Waltons
  5. “Say good night Gracie” (to which she responded “Good night Gracie”  George Burns The Burns & Allen Show
  6. “Your Fired!” Donald Trump The Apprentice
  7. “And that’s the way it is” Walter Cronkite CBS Evening News

If no less than Walter Cronkite could begin his close with “And” I reckon it’s good enough for me. I must go now. I’m fighting the urge to write a blog composed of noting but catch phrases.

“Resistance is futile”

“The truth is out there”

“Sock it to me!”

“I’ll be back”


.And so it goes…..

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 and Passive Aggressive Prospects

.

Today’s consumers are Passive/Aggressive.

  • 51% research brands via search engines.
  • 27% want brands to improve their knowledge and skills
  • 44% post an online review monthly

Globalwebindex uses those research results and others to claim that the “new consumer” is primarily engaged with on-line media to “find the brands and products that suit them.”

More touchpoints is just that.

Yes, there are more touchpoints on the way to a purchase. That has changed. But the assumption that on-line is pre-eminent is poppycock. Traditional media still plays a role. Their own data proves it:

  • 63% of consumers discover new brands without using search engines.
  • 73% don’t want brands to improve their knowledge and skill
  • 56% don’t post monthly reviews.

Consistency is key

When half of on-line adults block ads on their mobiles and desktops you need to be sure that the media they do see tells your story the same way every time. What does that mean? In simple terms your value proposition needs to be implemented in a recognizable, memorable way across all media. Simple ways you can do that:

  • Use the same logo in all media
  • Use the same key attribute benefit (both verbally and in video animation) across all materials you present to them
  • Personalize your approach based on why the client/consumer/patient wants your product/service
  • Use their language, not yours to describe what you deliver
  • In short: Go where the money is, sell what they want to buy and do it again.

B to C versus B to B Touchpoints

Awareness (A) Research(R) and Preference(P) are requiredin the context of any purchase journey, Business or Consumer. There is a difference. Here’s how it breaks down:

Consumer                            Both                                       Business

                                                Word of Mouth (A)

Traditional Ads (A)              Direct Marketing(A)          Trade shows(A)

Search(R)                              Website(R)                            Search(R)

Social Media(R)                    PR Mentions (R)                   Linked In(R)

Online Reviews(P)                                                              Testimonials(P)

E-Commerce                                                                         Direct sales

Products sell on line, services not so much

The difference is matter of Trust. Don’t get me wrong. Trust is required before a purchase in either category. The difference is in the object of trust. Usually in a consumer business the Trust is in the product. Business requires the buyer to get to trust with the seller—the person who is going to supply the service.

We could quibble about Software As A Service being more of a product sale but unless the provider is a major corporation it always comes down to building trust in the founder/developer/owner and her/his expertise in the industry.

Building Brand based on why

Whether you sell BtoB or BtoC you will be more successful if you understand why your customer needs your help. More importantly you’ll connect with more prospects if you voice their problem or concern that you solve in their language. Use their words and know what makes them consider your option.

The only way to get that knowledge is to go talk to potential clients/patients/customers and listen. I’m constantly amazed when an entrepreneur builds a product or develops a service without ever talking to the people that might buy it!

Listen to them. Write your value proposition based on what they have to say. Name your product or service in terms they might use particularly if you are cash strapped. Pay a professional to develop a logo that connects with your potential purchaser. Be sure it does by asking them. Pu your key benefit attribute out front so it is easily seen and understood. Stick with it across all the ways you can deliver a message on and off-line.


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

What Are the Key Words of Your Brand?

.

That sounds simple enough but as my client Brent said over lunch, “Finding key words takes a lot of time and you’re still not certain they match up with your brand.

Search engines are dumb.

Type in a descriptor of what you are looking for.  For example, I’ll use “keynote.”

I mean a major presentation by a professional speaker at a meeting or conference. But that is not what Google served up. All I got initially was a lot of information about an Apple program. It took three pages before I found any item about a professional speaker!

Maybe not so dumb…

I changed the query to “Keynote speaker.” That yielded 62,800,000 possibilities and the first page was all about professional speakers and speakers bureaus.

I started looking at how to get really good key words because “keynote speaker” got a lot of possibilities. Way too many!

Key Words are competitive

As you minimize the competition for your key words you increase the possibility of your web page showing up on the first page of the search engine. That gets you up to 90% more views!

Popular search terms only make up a fraction of all searches performed on the web. In fact, keywords with very high search volumes could draw visitors to your site whose goals don’t match the content your page provides.

Long tail key words may be more valuable

This chart from MOZ shows how key words ranked outside the top ten provide over 80% of the searches.

Test and Reset.

Finding key words that match your brand is an iterative process. Trial and error can get you to a better place. I started with: “Keynote Speaker for Independent professionals”

That generated zero, zip, nada so I tried:

Keynote speaker for Consultants 77,100,000 results
Keynote speaker for Coaches       72,000,000 results
Keynote Speaker for entrepreneurs         20,100,000 results
Keynote speaker for solopreneurs           59,100 results

Get more specific.

Since I speak on multiple areas of business development essential to these kinds of businesses I next tried searching based on those possibilities. The results:

Brand Keynote speaker      30,300,000 results
Brand Keynote Speaker for entrepreneurs         9,550,000 results
Brand Keynote speaker for solopreneurs                        87,000 results Networking keynote speaker          11,700,000 results
Networking Keynote speaker for entrepreneurs 12,700,000 results Networking Keynote speaker for solopreneurs  97,500 results
CRM keynote speaker         801,000 results
CRM Keynote speaker for entrepreneurs           410,000 results
CRM Keynote speaker for solopreneurs            39,800 results
Brand keynote speaker for solopreneur consultants     204,000 results Networking Keynote speaker for solopreneur consultants 136,000 results CRM keynote speaker for solopreneur consultants       28,900 results

Focus

Deciding what to do is damned difficult. Trends say there is more interest in brand than networking and definitely more than in CRM. But, the smaller the niche you approach the easier it is to get high search rankings and hence bookings. It looks to me like I should put more emphasis on my speaking site on CRM or possibly crank up a new site.

What do you think?

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 and the Placebo Effect.

.

Go ask Alice

The lyrics to “White Rabbit” written by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane begin with:

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small

And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all…


When it comes to Brand that is correct as far as it goes. Spending to build or maintain a Brand will keep it on track, Cutting marketing to the bone as was done following the merger of Kraft and Heinz reduced the size of the company as well as the shares of all their Brands.

Owners and managers were counting on the placebo effect, that power of the human mind to experience what we expect. Those marketers expected their customers to continue to believe in and buy the brands even if the brands did not reach out to them.

Turns out the customers are on to that trick.

  • You can’t build or maintain share by cost-cutting.
  • You can’t keep customers if you don’t listen to them
  • You can’t convert prospects by solving old problems

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call

To succeed in building or maintaining a Brand you can’t count on where and what you’ve been. The audience is changing. The customer’s methods of evaluating your product or service are changing. The media that reaches them is changing.

Your Brand is the sum total of perceptions held by contacts, prospects and customers.

  • If you don’t keep up the conversation your Brand will weaken
  • If you don’t use social media to get close your Brand will stagnate
  • If you don’t publicize how you are disrupting the category your Brand will lose share.

Small businesses have the advantage here. You can build a stronger relationship with contacts, prospects and customers. You can personalize your communications meaningfully by going beyond using their name and knowing what it is that caused them to build a relationship with your Brand. Once that bond is reached the placebo effect will work for you. They will defer purchase of a competitive product until your similar product is available. They will become your best salesmen.

When the men on the chessboard get up
And tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow

As soon as you begin to have some success you will be accosted by marketing experts who will want to sell you their advice. Stick with the personal touch. It is the shortcut to Brand. Stick with what has been working.

Yes, you’re busy. Yes, you’re getting more business than ever before. Yes, what they say sounds good.

Take your time. Don’t make any long-term commitments. Test their advice. It is your Brand, after all.

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said

Feed your head, feed your head

The demographics of your market are changing. The psychographics of your market are changing. Find out how. Find out by getting as up close and personal as you can. Listen. Really listen to what is going on with your contacts, prospects and customers. Let them help you innovate and stimulate how you can disrupt the arena your product or service is in.

Your Brand is a living breathing entity. Remember you can influence it but you can’t control it. Complete control rests with those that think, feel and believe what is said about it. But if you don’t support it with ongoing marketing it will fade. You need to feed the way you want it perceived or it will lose its luster for fans.

The placebo effect can add to your Brand.

  • The visual appeal of your product or service can make it more desirable
  • A referral from a trusted friend or advisor creates positive expectations
  • Great reviews or testimonials build Brand prior to use by new customers

Here are all the lyrics:

White Rabbit

Jefferson Airplane

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
To call Alice, when she was just small

When the men on the chessboard get up
And tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice, I think she will know

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head

Songwriters: GRACE WING SLICK


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 Little Guy Brand Advantage

Relationships are the heart of the advantage.

Twice this week I’ve seen research reports that verify what brand experts have been saying for years:

“Small brands have a distinct advantage in gaining the trust and loyalty of consumers.”

Those of us the that work with the “little guys” know it is true. What the research verifies is that the advantage accrues in both the Business to Consumer and the Business to Business World.

Trust is a complication

According to the Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer, Trust in traditional media, search engines and social media varies around the world. Here in the USA, Trust in Traditional media is at best neutral (58%), in search engines at 54% and in social media declining, now at just 30%.

Trust Building: Advantage Little Guy

The bond between brands and people favors small businesses:

  • Customer service is the number one way to the heart of a today’s consumer
  • Direct conversations are considered more truthful than advertising
  • Social media is essential to discovering new brands and building an emotional relationship
  • Brands expected to pressure platforms to address fake news and hate speech
  • Brands are obligated to protect personal data (89% in the USA)

Customer Service

Service to the customer is part and parcel of the small business. Just about anyone in the small operation will help you or point you to someone who can. That is the everyday experience. It can be even more impressive when you have problem.

Small businesses generally can’t afford setting up technology heavy customer service departments. The likelihood that you will talk to a real person without having to go through an interminable automated phone message system is high. The probability that the person you talk to will be able to act on your problem without deferring for an approval is significantly higher than you’ll find dialing into the big guys. Even if the matter must be referred to a supervisor you’ll get a resolution now instead of waiting days.

Direct Conversations

Major brands advertise at you. Small brands build relationships. Would you rather have a conversation or hear a commercial? Small brands, particularly as they are beginning get to know you. As they grow they get to know a lot of folks like you. The thing is, for them a lot is a business. The same number for a big business is a drop in the bucket.

So the little guys tend to talk with you, not at you. They understand why you want to eat the whole half-pint of ice cream or how you like your Latte in a mug not paper without having to ask for it. They have listened when you told them you prefer text or e-mail to learn about special sales or events. They pay attention because they know this relationship is important to both of you.

Social media

All brands must act to:

  • Give customers a better deal for their data
  • Create trusted content on social media
  • Join forces to build trust in social media

Those are not my words.  They are straight out of the Edelman report. 

The deal: What they mean is that the consumers/customers expect their personal data to be kept safe, that policies are clear, and that it is okay to build a relationship using that information.

The content: Builds credibility through quality, well designed material that is transparent as to author and sponsorship. Allows opt in/opt out. Stays consistent using the same message across media.

The trust: Brands, along with government and help from consumers are expected to be proactive about data and privacy, create and champion quality content, act with integrity, transparency and humanity.

Brand Obligations

The most recent hate speech reaction of note was from one of the big guys. Nike supported Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the national anthem. Initially the reaction was disbelief. But among the Nike customers the reaction was extremely positive. Nike had a solid relationship which made the decision an obvious one.

Protecting your personal data is not an easy task for the little guy. True, they may have less information and it may be in human memory initially but sooner or later it will wind up in a contact relationship management database.  Even then, it may be easier to preserve as it is too small for hackers to go after it. But, the availability of highly secure cloud storage may partially solve that problem.

Little guy? Build your relationship with clients and customers.

You’ll generate trust and loyalty to build your business and the joy in your life.

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 00

What’s Next for Brand?

A creative montage of a side profile silhouette of a man wearing glasses and colorful artistic accents inside of his mind and body.

It started out being a person to person in person thing.

Names and Symbols came to represent it. Behaviors, ways of doing business, were associated. It varied only slightly due to geography and political affiliations.  Capitalists reveled in it. Communists considered it propaganda and mastered a political version.

But even as it morphed as the size of some businesses increased and crossed borders at the heart it still represented a perception of being a person to person in person thing.

It continued to be seen as person to person but in person got lost somewhere along the way. Lost but not forgotten.

Brand is a shared perception.

The way people who are aware of your brand think, feel and believe about it is the way we approach it today. Masters of branding do everything they can to keep a singular vision of the product or service at the fore. They change only reluctantly to maintain share of mind and market.

What happens when perceptions are individual?

Big data could give sellers and advertisers a way to unlock the connections to a brand person by person. You could find yourself not only retargeted in your e-mail and on-line activities but in a way that gets at the heart of your relationship with the product or service.

You may see a brand as a world shift in how others see your body. But only you believe this shift is taking place. You could use a service because for you it is way to reflect your outgoing personality. But is it? Perhaps for others it is only a way to obfuscate.

Granted, those reactions are similar to what happens today. The thing to think about is how, as we are locked tighter and tighter in a digital embrace, our brand relationships now have a software filter.

What happens to individuals?

We are just beginning to see the impacts of digital culture. A family sits down for dinner at a restaurant. Mother, father and both children must interrupt their use of their smart phones to give their order. They immediately return to their phones. When dinner is served there is no conversation. They look at phones frequently as they eat. There is no person to person connection in person.

BUT there is a connection on line. Each of them is extending their relationship through a digital filter. One is texting an on-line friend. One is posting photos of the meal on Facebook. One elects to write a review of the meal. In simple terms, their relationships are not direct. They are filtered through the internet.

“Looking for love in all the wrong places.”

It is happening today. The internet has already become a surrogate. People vote with their wallets. A friend, exploring how people who buy on line see their relationships with sellers found that purchase behavior is frequently undertaken to win approval from the seller. It is a kind of “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

The receipt of a simple “thank you” e-mail after you give a brand your name and e-mail address is just the beginning. Whatever you were interested in, they are going to personalize messages to you about similar products. They will exploit your emotional connection without a second thought.

Bending the brand

The more the seller knows about you, the more the brand will be bent to be just for you. Yes, the appeal of most brands is pretty much the same for about 80% of their target audience but research I’ve conducted over the last 25 years shows that there are three reasons most folks buy. The secondary reason gets about 12 to 15% The third gets most of the rest.

Imagine if you were one of the second or third group. What if the digitally information served up to you was personalized to make that the primary way you were encouraged to see the brand? Would you want to get the approval of the brand that knew your heart’s desires? Would you go out of your way to keep that brand in the way you showed the world who you are?

The reality of brand automation

We are not there yet. We are well on the way. Human nature may yet find a way to sidestep the tsunami of surrogacy. This is just the latest revelation about brand. Research done 25 years ago verified the power of brand in the marketplace and predicted the growth of “tribes.”

What is old may yet be new again. And so it goes.


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

Use Your Brand or Lose It

A man tries to fix a broken hour glass in the forest.

I can still hear his voice in the gym echoing slightly off the plaster walls,”Use it or lose it.”

That memory floated up from the nether reaches as I listened to a client again delaying business cards, letterhead, etc and also deferring publication of his web site.

Whether you are in start-up, refresh or rebrand mode once the development is done, you need to take action. YOu cannot reverse the sands of time.

  • You gotta put it out there
  • You gotta observe the impact
  • You gotta adjust based on experience

Navel gazing doesn’t work

Not publishing a web site dampens your ability to generate credibility. If you are an elite independent professional (like I work with) you know that before you get hired that potential client is going to check you out on Linked In and review your web site at bare minimum. Failure to launch a web site is a failure to engage with what folks might think, feel and believe about you. In short, new prospects will pass you by. Your competitors will lap you.

Perfect doesn’t exist

The major reason for hesitance is that entrepreneurs, and professionals want their company/product/service offering to be seen as “just right.”  In their view, there is always time to “fine tune” the logo one more time. A website must, they believe contain multiple blogs at launch. That on-line presence should, from their perspective, have everything they believe a prospect would like to see.

How do they know what that ideal client wants?

It is the owner/manager/ professional perception, not confirmed data.

It’s a conversation, not a commercial.

The single biggest mistake you as a business owner/operator can make in marketing is thinking you can control the situation. You control only part of what goes out there. The words you use to describe your products and services may have complexly different meanings for prospects. But you won’t know if you don’t put it out there.

What if you are writing to what you perceive to be your ideal client but you’ve never talked to them? Seriously. This happens way too often, particularly in start-ups. The cure is to have solid research. Too expensive? Go talk to some folks that might be buyers. Beware of “lip service.” That’s when they wax poetic about your product or service until you ask them to make a purchase. Suddenly they are extremely busy but wish you the best…

Why do you think you know what they are looking for? Again, what is your research? Been in business for a while? Sales not as good as you hoped? Does your sales compensation program give those guys and gals a reason to defer client activity to the end of the month or quarter? What, if anything, can rebranding do to change that? It could open a market you haven’t tapped into as yet. It could start a new dialog in your client base. But you won’t know if you don’t activate it!

Will you refuse to sell to them if they are not what you imagined your customers to be? (I witnessed this in a multi-national corporation!) All of us dream of our businesses being well received and running like clockwork. We have this fixed idea of who our buyers are and the way they use our products and services.

Have you looked at the inordinate number of ways Excel is used? At last estimate from a friend at Microsoft, over 90% of the uses were not planned. They can’ keep up with the ingenuity of customers. But they continue to listen, learn and adjust the product to meet the new uses. Marketing is messy. User encounters drive it. But you can’t get the experience to adjust your approach without launching.

How to unconfuse it

  1. Pick a name that has a URL you can purchase
  2. Develop a memorable title, benefit or shocking statement
  3. Say that in words the customer uses
  4. Ask them if it makes sense
  5. If they agree, make that part of the logo
  6. Incorporate the problem you solve how you solve it and key statistical support in a value proposition.
  7. Include the value proposition in every communication starting with your web site.

All of those can be done with the proper application of 30-Second Marketing TM. It isn’t easy but it will get you to the point of involving customers and potential customers.


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