How to Build a Killer Brand

How to Build a Killer Brand

Heart in sightsIt has been one of those months this week.

Planning. Candid conversations. Decisions to hire and fire. Web site assumptions and dialogues. Quality constraints and requirements. Analytics that spiral positive and those that went down in flames.

Brands suffer the impact because brand building is really not for innocents. Either you really understand marketing or you don’t.

Taking careful aim is at the heart of killer brand development.

What not to do.
Here are some mistakes I witnessed this week:

  1. Put a group of strangers in a room, brief them and expect them to walk out as a functioning collaborative team.
  2. Drop the ball on a project because of bad digital filing habits.
  3. Give a web developer 6 chances to respond to basic direction before deciding to fire him.
  4. Consider video approaches without looking at cost as part of the equation.
  5. Become ecstatic over an increased click through rate that didn’t generate sales.

The Killer Solution

Experience over the last 50 years tells me that to build a brand that captures hearts and minds successfully you have to understand how marketing professionals work in teams and their expectations of management. Clarity is what will make you successful.

Be perfectly clear that :

  • The owner/founder/CEO/President—the leader of any small firm owns the brand. Her or his understanding of the Vision, Mission, Position and Value Proposition is what will be applied to all organization communications.
  • Direction on any major project should be in writing and agreed to in advance. The directional document should be the reference point for approvals. Staff can provide additional information but is encouraged to do it before any work is done. If there is concern over the materials delivered the reference point is the direction.
  • A digital “paper trail” needs to be kept and used as the reference when anything goes sideways (as well as a way to assure continuing process improvement). With small clients I had eliminated my Action Reports on all meetings. I’m reversing that decision.
  • Budget, Quality and Outcome are interrelated. There are significant differences in delivery of digital capabilities, video production, and all communication vehicles based on what a firm is willing to pay, the level of excellence of the work and what the expectations of the item are. Too often, even though we have much better visibility of analytics the end results are not the key factor in evaluating marketing efforts.
  • Business Development objectives are the real measurements. Everything done in marketing needs to acknowledge contribution to the target numbers. Be as concrete as possible. For instance:
  • Optimize web site to make it as easy as possible for visitors to self-select the action which will give you a way to connect with them over the time to build a relationship leading to a “sale.” Track all actions. Track actual “sales” to determine the apparent customer journey.
  • Direct Social Media activities to continually tested landing pages that capture data to build relationships over time. Track actions by landing page. Track “sales” as with web site. Review results and test all contact activities to find the ones that lead to “Sales.”
  • Build better ongoing relationships with customers by monitoring opens, comments and direct contacts due to blog and newsletter postings. Modify content to take advantage of proven highest interest. Keep tracking.
  • Test automated sequences in support of direct sales staff. Monitor results.

Trial to buy ScorecardPost status versus your corporate goals on a scoreboard visible to all members of the firm.

Weekly results usually work best. Keep it simple: New info sign ups, New trials, New customers/clients.

Those few items will keep everyone in the game.

 


Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is 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 on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

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

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

Trump Brand Won Because of Trust

161110-blog-photoThere are at least a hundred definitions of Brand but only one that in my view encompasses all the possibilities:

Brand, any Brand, is the outcome of Trust.

Fail to get to Trust and you lose.

A Brand that has a singular vision, a mission articulated in a few understandable words, promoted consistently with words and pictures that touch the emotions will triumph if it gets to Trust. (See the video) http://www.brandbraintrust.com/resources.html

Sometimes it is a matter of how the Brand is positioned:

  • The Clinton tagline was: Hillary for America
  • The Trump tagline was: Make America Great Again!

In hindsight we know that he won because the people supporting him were the disenfranchised middle class that are opposed to the elites that they perceive to have hamstrung the government for so many years yielding control to the moneyed interests—the banks that took their homes, wall street and the big box companies that wiped out main street and the manufacturers that off-shored jobs.

The Trump brand was, pretty much, self-funded. It was Republican but not beholden. It was outrageous remarks followed by others saying “what he really meant.”

The Trump Brand was not a voice crying in the wilderness. It was heard by all the citizens out there beyond and within the big cities.” It didn’t matter what your party affiliation was. Your “tribe” was more important.

The Trump Brand is, for about half the population in the United States, a way to Make America Great Again.  Their belief is that an outsider and a business man can clean house in DC. and “straighten out” things that have “been done to them” over the  years, They Trust that they can “Make America Great Again.”

The last word of that phrase is the most important. The target audience, the people that voted in droves for him in the fly-over states are not looking forward. They see the USA as diminished. They want to go back to a different time. Their desire is to get “government off our backs.” Their hope is that the America they believe in, proudly serve, and honor can rise up and “do the right thing.”

Look at the difference:

  • Hillary for America (What’s in it for supporters? “I’m with her” was just as flawed)
  • Make America Great Again (It is what they want done and it implies the supporters will be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.)

The Trump line was carefully emblazoned on every item offered including the signature red baseball caps (and once or twice a camouflage cap). Hillary’s campaign offered nearly a hundred different designs, comments and reasons why. Little, if any of it, stuck to the wall.

They trusted Trump because in his bellicose way he said to them, “You’re right, we need to go back and I will keep shouting for you as long as it takes.”

They Trust him.

As I said, Brand is the outcome of Trust. I evaluate Brand development and report on it at www.BrandBrainTrust.com. If you’d like a neutral professional to review your Brand, call me.

_____________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher is the founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.

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

Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

The Pitch Ain’t the Title

“A friend told me about trying to come up with a title for a screen play over lunch,” said Gail. “She’s trying to get ready for a meeting with an agent from Hollywood. Apparently you only get a very few minutes and what you say in the first few seconds is critical.” 30-SecondMarketing

Kate snorted and said, “Sounds like every other sales call to me! That is pretty much my day, every day. The thing is you have to know what the hot buttons are for every person you’re calling on and if you don’t you have to find a way to get their attention and their input. Every story can be shortened to the point where it is one sentence long. The trick is to make that sentence intriguing enough that it pulls people into the conversation with you. Fletch’s 30-Second Marketing is the way to do it in networking situations and can be applied in most sales situations as well.”

“You’re right,” I said. this goes by a bunch of names but what it comes down to when you have to write it is:

  • Tell the story in a paragraph or two concentrating on the emotions evoked
  • Shorten it to a sentence about the overall shift in the story
  • Work on the language in the sentence to make people experience it and yet want to know more.
  • Relate it to something familiar to them
  • Given all that, give it a title that leaves them wanting more.

For instance:
Would you like to view a film that centers on the transformation of a son, Michael, from reluctant family outsider to ruthless Mafia boss while also chronicling the family under the patriarch. A lot of people did. It was called The GodFather. As memorable as it is it was not one of the highest box office movies.

The current top in domestic, international and worldwide sales is a science fiction flick. In it, a paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a spy mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the new world he comes to feel is his home. Right. It was called Avatar and to date has made $2,783,918,982 worldwide.

The number two box office leader is one for history buffs and romantics. The fact that a supposedly unsinkable ship went down in the North Atlantic was given an emotional twist by the tale of a starving artist that becomes the love of a high class lady. It was called Titanic and the star-crossed lovers were, I believe, a pure fiction. It was called Titanic.”

Rob, our Buddha of Branding quietly said, “And that, brethren is what we call trimmin’ the fat. There be movies popular down home you don’t have to hear nuthin’ but the title to know what it’s about. Wonderful stories like Driving Miss Daisy, Steel Magnolias and, of course, Gone With the Wind. Notice how the title can be the story all by itself, or give you insight into the characters or summarize a way of life that vanished? The difference of seeing what y’all are trying to sell through the prospect’s imagination makes all the difference. Thing is, they will tell you how they see it. Just listen.”

The Takeaways:

  1. All sales is about finding common ground, understanding the problem and then finding the emotion that connects the prospect to the solution.
  2. You must orient your view, your language and your emphasis to the prospect’s vision.
  3. Get help. Talk to others. Listen to what they have to say. Respond by making your pitch and your title stronger.

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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trust is the Strongest Link for Consultants

“At least once a year I look at how I’m marketing my own practice,” I said

“This year I looked at all the ways to link suspects, contacts, prospects and such to my digital assets.” Brand as central to link strategy

Gail, our resident writer who is always looking for the facts, sounding like a TV cop asked, “So what social media did you put on the list?”

“Well,” Rick offered, “I’ll bet he picked on the usual suspects—Linked In, Facebook and Twitter and maybe a little bit of old-fashioned direct mail since he ran operations in my direct marketing agency for a while.”

“That’s good as far as it goes,” I replied. “I looked at Instagram, too.”

Bubba snorted. The branding Buddha dripped southern disdain as he said “Instagram– isn’t that the chile of Facebook from the wrong side of the sheets?”

Gail snickered and said, “Kind of, but it’s closer to the photo album the Momma wanted to share.”

“In any case,” I said, “you have to have a business page on Facebook in order to put ads on it and you use Facebook tools to build the ads.”

Chris, our young Digital Director for a training outfit said, “What you decided to do with each of them is what is important. Is it possible you’re about to take the plunge into ubiquity?”

Bubba drawled, “You getting’ uppity boy? I know there’s some new blown theory about being ‘present everywhere’ in the digital world. Tha’s why some brands are so well known. And it has more to do with all kinds of media than just the on-line stuff.”

“You’re right again my cracker friend,” I said. “I ran some tests on-line. You remember that old data that linked awareness to preference? Well the tests showed the rule of thumb is true. The difference is you can get the results a lot quicker.”

B@B Purchase process

Chris asked, “Did the numbers work out the same?”

“It’s too early to tell on the longer term items but from Awareness to Preference to Trial is pretty much the same,” I replied. “This is really more about human nature than media. Just because we have more ways of reaching people doesn’t change the way people operate.  The better they know you the more they trust you. If they trust you they respond.

What it does do is force you to look at broadening your approach slightly and to be present enough in any media you use to generate the critical awareness that leads to success down line. It means you have to be very cognizant of your brand across all the media and make sure that all the things you do are linked.”

The Takeaway:

Digital advertising response goes through the same phases as non-digital…just a little faster.

Human response based on trust is what to monitor if you want to make money…not the media.

Your brand is the linchpin of all your promotions. Link everything to it.


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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

 

 

 

 

Copy and the Customer Journey

Bubba, the brand Buddha was pontificating as I slid into my seat. “Tain’t always what you say that matters, It’s what people hear.”

“What people believe already can be a big chunk of that,” I agreed. (I’m Jerry Fletcher and I’m the Watson of this unruly crew that meets over lunch on Fridays.) Customer Journey Map

“What people believe can make a real difference whether you’re talking printing or politics,” said Kate. “I’ve been in sales since I was teenager and both learning the right language to use and teaching folks to understand how important it is has been difficult for me.

Never let anyone tell you there aren’t different dialects in America. There are racial differences, geographic differences, class differences, age differences and where folks are in the customer journey differences. You can’t just blather along. You’ll never make a sale if you aren’t listening and using their words, viewpoints and meanings. You have to talk to them where they are now, in the moment.”

“Got an example?” Chris asked.

She asked him, “Did you ever go to Las Vegas?”

“Sure,” he replied. “It’s the gaming capital of the Universe.”

“And there’s your answer, plainer’n a cake donut with pink icing and sprinkles,” said Bubba.

Chris looked at him completely non-plussed.

“Think about what you just said,” continued Rob in his typical molasses patience voice. You said gaming. That word never was used in the old days as a reference to Vegas or Atlantic City before all the Indian Casinos and the ones on steamboats docked in Mississippi.

Back in the 1970’s Wall Street shifted from calling it the gambling industry to the gaming industry. By the 1990’s only politicians called it Gambling. For a time Las Vegas was promoted as a family vacation spot. Now it’s a little naughtier, you know, what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.”

Folks heard the new word and over time the industry was perceived differently.”

The donut demo
“Let me use that donut idea to demonstrate how this works for Chris,” I said. People go through a number of phases where we can change how they think about a company or product or service:

  1. Awareness
  2. Consideration
  3. Intent
  4. Purchase
  5. Satisfaction
  6. Repeat

At every point on that spectrum you can provide content that will convince, persuade and keep them in your funnel even after they buy.”

Ramping it up
Rob jumped back in saying, “But y’all are mostly working on the front end of that process so you should know how to ramp up there first:

  • Awareness—Listen for the symptoms. Find out how it’s pushin’ on their business. Now, take it a step further and figure out the problem and help ‘em understand it in that larger context.
  • Consideration—This phase is when they’re bangin’ around looking for information Build strategic website pages or videos or blogs or other kinds of content that homes in on the clear ways you can solve specific kinds of prospect’s problems. The more directly it responds to their need the better.
  • Intent— is when they have come to the point where they intend to make a purchase. The information you provide at this point in their path to purchase should include examples of how others have profited from your product or service, that’s hard data, analytics that prove your point but most importantly. Make sure it fits with your earlier information. Include first hand suggestions, observations and comments.”

The Takeaways:

The customer journey or path to purchase doesn’t end when they plunk down the cash.

You have to prove that you know their concerns and interests.

The clincher is most often the small detail that you’ve observed from their questions, or observations they make. Always ask why they selected your product or service.


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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

 

How to Outsource Your Digital Marketing so That Dog Will Hunt

Tony asked me how to resolve a problem for one of his clients. He told me that the client, located here in the upper left corner of the USA was considering “outsourcing his marketing to an outfit in Texas.” He was concerned that there was “more wishful thinking than common sense in play.”

That dog will hunt“That depends,” said Rob who we’ve taken to calling Bubba, the branding Buddha. “If the folks that will work with him know his industry and can provide the right kind of content it could be a marriage made in heaven but just because they claim to be experts don’t make it so. My dog sleeps in the garage. That don’t make him a truck.

Kate snickered and said, “Well put Bubba. I run into this when I get asked to train young sales people. They don’t know what they don’t know and so they claim to know everything. Trouble is, in today’s world they may know quite a bit about digital approaches to customers and have all the lingo at the ready but they don’t completely understand how to connect and go from there to make a sale.”

Rick nodded and then quietly added, “Most of them have not won their spurs in direct marketing and that is all digital marketing is. They have confused knowledge of the medium with understanding messages that work. Their idea of an offer is how long it’s free.”

“That’s all well and good,” I said, “but how do I help Mike with his friend?”

Gail, our veteran writer answered, “Tell him to quit messing around with tactics and start with strategy. You remember that start-up software outfit you told us about? (Cardsmith) That’s an easy way to lay out a strategy and then the tactics for a year-long campaign.”

Chris agreed and added, “As the digital marketing guy in my company I put the plan together with my staff using white boards and sticky notes. It is the same idea but the nice thing about Cardsmith is that you can share it easily even if you’re in different places. The major thing you have to do, regardless of how you do your planning, is to start with an objective, then build a strategy to get you there and then detail all the tasks to make it happen.”

Rick said, “When you are planning,the ability to move things around is really handy as well as the ability to show how things are connected. But I will guarantee you that it is a lot easier staying on plan today in the digital world because you have all the analytics to really determine what is going on, BUT you still have to assign dates to get implementations done and you need to agree up front on what metrics will be considered key.”

“All that is wonderful,” said Gail, “but I keep thinking about Bubba’s dog. If the people you outsource to are experts in digital marketing that is one thing. Do they know how to convince your customers to buy? Do they understand how that channel of distribution deals with their customers? Have they ever gone along on sales calls?

Kate cheered. “Right on sister! She continued, “the worst situation is when you have inexperienced people in both the marketing and sales positions. Knowing their level of capability can make all the difference.”

I said, “I told Tony that his buddy should look into spending a little money up front with a Marketing strategist so that objectives, strategy and tactics could be structured with relevant time lines and metrics so that the money spent would be worthwhile.”

The Takeaways:

Start with a real objective (that management agrees with)

Assess the ability of the people that will do the work on the basis of their knowledge and understanding of your business as well as their digital marketing skills.

Base agreements on specific metrics and timeframes that are sales related (your objective is to make money, not impressions.)


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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

Mission, Position and the Customer Journey

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 2

Chris said, “So 30-Second Marketing has four parts: Hook ’em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close ‘em.

Y’all can take that to the bank, youngster,” drawled Rob. “And when a Georgia Boy lays that on you it is certain true, no doubt.”

Pathway to purchase“The problem,” said Chris is I’m not really clear on how it is different from a Mission or a Position.”

“Foah starters it’s got more movin parts. It’s like the difference ‘tween flinging a beastie into the briar patch and roundin’ up the hounds to go huntin come sunset.”

Rick asked, “Fletch, since you originated 30-Second Marketing (See Part 1) would you please translate what the southern fried branding Buddha just scrambled?”

Mission versus Position versus 30-second Marketing

“Sure,” I replied. “A Mission is for all the folks that need to trust a firm, product or service. A Position is a way to quickly tell suspects, prospects, customers and clients why they should put you first. Usually those will be words in print and there is no opportunity for interaction.

30-Second marketing is about a conversation rather than one of those brief summaries intended to make you memorable in as few words as possible. It encourages interaction.”

Gail, the copywriter and editor in our midst, piped up, “30-Second Marketing is a conversation, not a commercial. You need to invest significantly more time and imagination in crafting your answers than you might think.”

The Path to Purchase (Customer Journey)

Rob’s honey-warm voice slid in. He said, “My friend Gail is tryin’ to sugar coat the fact that it will take a good bit o’ skull sweat to get it right. Moah importantly, you need to get to know your prospect real well. You need to know where he or she is on the Path to Purchase and what is important to ‘em at that point. Don’t matter if it is one person, a couple or a committee, you got to get inside their heads.”

Gail said, “I like that description Bubba. Usually it’s what people call the Customer Journey but Path to Purchase is a lot more direct way to put it. And from my experience I believe that would be easier for folks that aren’t communications pros to understand.”

“I agree,” I said. It took me quite a bit of time to explain the customer journey to some clients the other day. And even when they got it there was difficulty in getting to the level of detail that can influence buying decisions. Something as simple as knowing that a new company was formed by execs from the leading company in the field can make  huge difference. Sometimes, the simple revelation of how you access one of the features of a product can close the sale.

The Takeaways:

Mission and Position are print reminders to make you, your product or service memorable.

The Path to Purchase is the steps your customer/client goes through in order to make the decision to buy.

The more intimately you understand the Path to Purchase the more compelling you can be in every phase of the sale…including 30-Second Marketing.


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, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

 

Marketing Myths vs Math

“Today, I was answering one of those update phone calls to keep a free magazine coming and after the usual address and industry verification stuff the young man asked me whether I preferred the printed or digital version. Marketing Myth: Print is dead

I answered print and then asked him what most people wanted.

He told me print and before I asked said it was preferred about 4 to 1 regardless of the age of the respondent!”

“I can believe that,” said Rick who runs a world-class direct marketing firm. There is research from an ad agency, J Walter Thompson that says 8 of 10 Millennials prefer print because it makes them feel more connected.”

Kate pushed her dreads back over one ear and said, “That’s the Lion’s share of folks that sales people like me have to talk to in the B to B world. There is still a stack of industry magazines and newsletters on the desks of the offices I visit and I can’t tell you how often there is an open catalog there, too.”

Chris asked, “Do you see any post cards when you’re scanning offices? The reason I ask is that we’ve tested using postcards versus e-mail campaigns in my company and the post cards win going away. The call to action differential is as high as 5 to 1 and that causes a huge difference in the ROI regardless of the cost of mailing.”

Gail, our resident copywriter asked, “is that because of the relative lack of competitive mail? I understand it really dropped off over the years so now it gets more attention. A couple of my clients are starting to mail newsletters again and getting great results.”

“I know what you mean,” I said. One of my former clients had a pile of 9 by 12 envelopes sitting in a cupboard and decided to just try mailing for a couple of months. That was a year ago. They are still mailing because their clients keep them. I recognize that envelope and I look forward to getting it each month because of the great heads-up information on security and what Microsoft is doing.”

“Thas’ called branding ol’ son,” said Rob, our southern fried branding guru. “I’ll bet they are startin’ to put deals in that envelope, maybe printed on a different color of paper, to get you to look at them and dimes to donuts you’ve passed some along to clients or others.”

I bowed to him and said, “Guilty as charged.”

“Now let me put the pecans in the pie for all of you,” said Rob. Y’all ever get a mailer from Google offering a deal for starting up an advertising account? Think about that. One of the biggest digital operations on the planet is using mail to get your business. That tell you anything?”

Same way with catalogs. Kate is right about that. Somewhere around 12 billion catalogs mail every year. People are just more comfortable leafing through a catalog than trying to find an item on screen even if they order on line. Print builds brands and can be more efficient than digital.”

The Takeaway

The rumor of the death of printed materials is greatly exaggerated. Print is preferred for some purposes by about 80% of prospects. It is in many cases a stronger method of branding than digital activities. And always provides a more personal touch.


 

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. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

 

 

 

Kick-ass Case History

“For starters,” I said to Nina, “don’t call it that.”

Kick-ass Case Histories in Video and Prin

Gail, the wordsmith in our midst agreed. She said, “I like your term Success Story a lot better.” (Video: How to get the data you need for a Kick-ass Case History https://youtu.be/UcvpMkBynYk)

“But, sometimes things aren’t successful,” said Chris. “In my digital retail marketing operation we often try things that just don’t work at all.”

“But that, young pup, is just findin’ out that you’re barkin’ up the wrong tree,” said Rob our southern fried Brand Guru. “Indeed,” he went on, “in my book that is a success.”(Get the PDF of the Kick-ass Case History form)

Rick raised his voice to be heard over a crash of dishes from the kitchen and said, “Most people think that a case history has to be only about what works but I’ve always found the most valuable experiences are the ones that teach you what doesn’t. Selling direct, like I do, has always been a laboratory. That’s why we test before putting up big bucks. What I’m trying to say is that keeping good solid info every time out of the chute is the only way to really know.”

“If you’re selling, like I do every day, the marketing and sales train wrecks are sometimes the best to convince a buyer,” said Kate. “Being able to give somebody hard data on an approach that didn’t work makes it a lot easier to get them to sign off on one that does. The other thing it does is it gives you a reason to walk away from a prospect if you know they are going to fail or to suggest a test that could make both you and them look good.”

Nina, our luncheon guest, looked around the table wide-eyed and said, “All I really wanted was to put some information on my website that tells people what I’ve been able to accomplish with my clients. It seems like there is a whole lot more to this than I thought. “

“You betcha, sweet pea,” drawled Rob. Most of us have been advising professionals and particularly consultants long enough to know that you need to look at keepin’ track of every engagement and assignment in a way that allows you to use all the information later.” (Video: How to present a Kick-ass Success Story in print) https://youtu.be/KM_lH2Eqrqo )

Kick-ass case history in print

All assignments and engagements,” I emphasized. Here’s a rough list of the ones I think you should keep track of:

  • Client Prospecting
  • Referral Approaches
  • Proposal based engagements
  • Assignments based on a retainer agreement
  • Projects awarded for previous experience
  • Engagements that require training or retraining of client staff
  • Situations that require you, the client or both to stretch

“So you’re saying to keep track of it whether it is business development, business as usual or business with a twist,” said Kate.

“Well put,” I responded. “Early on having a simple form that you fill out helps get you organized to do it. Later, you may pick and choose which of the jobs you take on to do a full write up on but it never hurts to have the information.” Kick Ass Case History Capture Form

Nina asked, “So what is on the form?” (PDF of form)

“All the usual client ID stuff, the kind of project, start and end date, situation, objective, starting data, ending data,” I said.

Rob said, “I like to keep a file with the form. You don’t want to forget any branding data that you might want when you report on it. That could be things like a logo or photos of the client and the client’s business or products. And if graphics are important it is a good idea to have before and after stuff.”

“Words, too,” added Gail. “When you change Mission or Position or Value Proposition it is a good idea to have both the before and after. Other word oriented items I like to include are testimonials. If I’m working with multiple levels than I try to get them from each. And I always like to get them to include the numeric changes in their statements.”

“Don’t overlook video,” said Chris. “If you can get a video that demonstrates what you do or just the client talking about what you’ve done for them you have a winner. What our studies show is that video seems to be the most convincing way to get a point across these days. “Video: One way to do a Kick-ass Video Success Story https://youtu.be/KPCU79FgXvE) Kick-ass video case history still

Kate looked over her glasses at Nina and said, “All that hard data is good. But remember we’re dealing with human beings here. There is a great deal of emotion wrapped up in what we do. Change isn’t easy. Transformation is what we are really doing. People are scared of it. They shy away from it. And then when the work we do kicks in they become proud of it. Don’t forget to capture that emotional content and the newfound strength you help provide. “

“You keep a file like that and you’ll be able to build a powerful Success Story  to publish on the ones that work. You keep the data on the ones that don’t and make that into a Case History by adding one thing: your investigations in to why the anticipated results didn’t happen.”

The Takeaway

To build a Kick-ass Success Story you need to capture the information on every major project or engagement or assignment. Keep a file that doesn’t rely on memory to help you gather the data and materials you need. Then express it in a way that lets people “get it” in whatever medium you are using to present it .

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. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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

Butterflies Have No Choice

Ben, a friend as well as a client said it over lunch, “Butterflies don’t have a choice.”

Butterflies have no choiceWe’d been talking about visualizing and positioning a non-profit he’s working with. The intent of the organization is to provide the necessary elements for a metamorphosis of the members.

All of us in the lunch bunch agreed that the word metamorphosis was a little too sophisticated for marketing purposes and as we talked we kept coming back to different interpretations of Ben’s statement.

Gail, our copywriter who has edited several non-fiction books said, “He’s right. The butterfly is the end result of a metamorphosis. It starts out as a caterpillar with a voracious appetite than wraps itself in a cocoon and when it emerges it is a winged jewel that flits about for a short time and then dies. It has no choice.”

The doctor of direct marketing, Rick injected, “But everything we do is about choice. In fact if there is no competition for something it is hard to make a marketing case for it. And even within the product or service being offered we build in choices in price, complexity, level of service, you name it. People want choice.”

Chris, our youngest member, a corporate digital director said, “But not too much choice. Have you noticed how pricing for just about anything on line has three or five levels and that is it. And more often than not the company that had five now has three. Our tests show that limiting the offering increases sales across the board.”

The sales doyen, Kate pulled her glasses off, squeezed the bridge of her nose and asked, “Ben, does any of that connect with what you meant?”

Ben replied, “Yes and no. I mean, what I was thinking about was the difference between a butterfly and a potential member. A butterfly is going to be one whether it wants to or not. The folks that might join us have to make a choice. They can continue lives of quiet desperation without the knowledge that can transform them or join us. If they want to change their lives to something more comfortable for them we can help. I think of them sort of like caterpillars that can join us, wrap themselves in the cocoon of education that we offer and emerge like a butterfly, a joy to themselves, the community of other members, and the world.”

I said, “That’s why I suggested the butterfly as a symbol for the group. Both of us thought it was right and that judgment has been verified in all of our discussions with the folks that are going to make it work. Most folks can’t come up with the M word but they all understand the idea of giving people the information they need to transform themselves when their lives have been disrupted either by choice or by chance.”

Rob our southern-friend brand guru chuckled and said, “Sounds to me like this choice thing is what you got to tell people about if’n y’all want to get ‘em to join up. ‘Minds me of a lady I once knew that had two or three butterfly tattoos flying up her back. She had a choice. And in my view it turned out right lovely.

You guys are offering folks a chance to go from a situation where they are struggling to one where they take flight. It ain’t the iridescent wings like the butterfly that’s important. The external doesn’t matter. It is the beauty they can find inside themselves that you offer. It is the ability to help them find the butterfly inside and help it take wing. Think about it in terms of an inner glow that your organization can fire up. That radiance lights up the world around the person that is transformed. Your benefit is a serene exhilaration for a new beginning. Their choice is whether or not they want to make the change.”

“And that is why we say Bubba is the Brand Guru. He understands the emotions that are at the heart of customer viewpoints,” I said.

The Takeaway

Don’t get trapped in the external symbols of a brand. The emotional content of your offer is what is remembered. How you say it is sometimes more important than the benefit you deliver.

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. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

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 www.JerryFletcher.com

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