Formula for Creative Brand Marketing

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Some advertising wag once said:

“It ain’t creative unless it sells”

But most of us are standing here on the other side of that evaluation trying to come up with something creative that will sell our brand, product, concept or service. We need a way to figure out what will convince a large enough group of folks to lay down their cash so that we can make a profit.

Building a brand that sells

You can work all the magic of words and graphics on anything but when you bring them to bear on something with a real difference they become unstoppable. A truly unique product or service is much easier to position, promote and sell.

How do you make your concept unique? How do you develop it so it inherently has the differentiation that makes it saleable? What do you need to do to make your offering singular?

Here are three things you can do that will help you innovate:

  1. Act like a child

The sad truth is that our education, though not designed to do so, removes the marvelous questioning and experimentation that we have as primary behaviors when we are children. Do you recall losing track of time as you delved into some simple thing? Have you ever gone back to that ‘anything is possible” set of beliefs? Therein lies one of the most powerful tools available to you.

Experiment. Get your hands dirty playing with the possibilities. Try anything and everything, the less orthodox the better. Keep track of what you find out. The insights you reach could prove valuable.

2. Make new friends

Scientific studies tell us that we are most creative when we see connections across unrelated fields. People with different ideas and perspectives can help you see those connections, questions, problems and ideas.

Network in organizations or groups that are outside your “comfort zone” to gather distinctive new thoughts. Allow those new relationships to direct your reading. Ask the questions that challenge their status quo. Apply their answers to your view of the world. Find a way to merge the two. Test the new “common wisdom.”

3. Renew industry acquaintances

Take along look at the behavior of customers, suppliers and competitors to identify how they do things. Just because it has “always been done that way” doesn’t mean it must continue unchanged.

Borrow ideas from other industries. Try them on and think through how they could change your product or service and the industry in which your firm is doing business. Play out the “what if” scenario alone or with your partners. See what might happen form an operational and an income viewpoint.

We live in a time of disruption.

Join the party.

Apply Sir Richard Branson’s mantra:

A-B-C-D Always Be Connecting the Dots

Here are some what ifs that I’ve been thinking about which you may find stimulating:

Cosmetics

What if you could use DNA testing to develop formulations for foundation makeup for women that was healthy for their skin and offer it in tones that matched their complexion by race?

Commuting

What if you had AI driven vertical take off and landing one or two passenger vehicles which you sold as a subscription service. Think about pricing. Peak and off-peak utilization. Would suburbs expand or contract? How would you control traffic particularly altitude changes in the flow?

Distribution

What if you could find a way to replace trucks as the primary physical distribution vehicles. It wasn’t so long ago that the intermodal revolution swept this industry. That change brought about containers that could be moved on the high seas, via rail, air and finally via truck.

Initially, if you had drones to carry single truckloads you might operate at specific heights above the current freeway system. But what do you do about delivery at the destination. How would existing loading docks affect your transport design? Do you have operators either in each unit or at a distance or do you use AI?

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 Name As Catch Phrase

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Catch Phrases Round 5

Over the last month I’ve talked about Catch phrases as Slogans, Taglines and Hooks. Each of them strive to make your company, product or service more memorable, differentiate it from the competition and give prospects a reason to buy.

What if your name was a catch phrase?

What if just saying your company, product or service name could trigger those positive attributes? What if the name you chose resonates with your ideal client or customer? What if you could rise to the top of your category just by mentioning the name?

It has been done. This kind of pragmatic name can help reduce marketing costs by explaining your offer or value right in the name. Here, in no order, are some examples across multiple categories:

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Diehard was introduced in 1967 after years of research and millions of dollars in development. It was and is America’s most innovative automotive battery — tested, proven and guaranteed to deliver across any circumstance.

What do you a call a language school in Cali, Columbia teaching English to small groups of Spanish speaking business executives:

Google apparently the name started as a joke about the amount of information the search engine could search, or a googol of information. (A googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.) When founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave a presentation to an angel investor, they received a check made out to “Google.”

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This organization went through multiple names, several rounds of investment, buyouts, and management shifts that make “Game of Thrones” look like a stroll in the park to become the most ubiquitous payment platform in the world.

Founded in 1997 in California, this company began as a subscription-based provider of DVDs by mail. Today, with 148 Million paid subscribers from around the world, their primary business is streaming films and TV programs including some produced in-house. There is an apocryphal story that the founder decided to start Netflix after being fined $40 at a Blockbuster store for being late to return a copy of “Apollo 13.”

The name is a combination of the words “Net” from Internet and “Flix” is a shortened version of the word flicks – a synonym for movie.

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This example demonstrates the power of analogy and, if you follow trademark legal actions, how to end a high in the cannabis market. It hails from near Cincinnati, Ohio where I grew up, is privately held and was first sold to consumers in 1997.

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I nearly overlooked this example. When you stop in just about daily you tend to not see the logo. Anytime Fitness is a franchise health and fitness club founded in 2002 and headquartered in Woodbury, Minnesota. Each of their gym facilities are open 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.

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Before Apple resolved to call it ‘iPhone’, it considered ‘iPad’, ‘Telepod’, ‘Mobi’, and ‘Tripod’. Of course, iPad ended up being the name for Apple’s tablet PC, According to Ken Segall Advertisng lead at the time, “Apple considered calling the device ‘Telepod’ because it sounded like a futuristic twist to the word ‘telephone’.” ‘Mobi’ – a shortened version of the word ‘mobile’ was also considered.

The name ‘Tripod’ “did not win out but it did make a big impact on Apple’s original presentation and marketing for the iPhone. ‘Tripod’ stems from the iPhone being a combination phone + iPad + Internet communications device.”

You can name your company, product or service in a catchy way. Stay tuned as you begin to determine if supporters and potential buyers learn about it. Dial in to:

  • Words that describe the benefit
  • What investors call it
  • What clicks with users
  • How foreshortening and combining words get the point across
  • The understandable analogy
  • The power of a simple description
  • Keeping it simple

And so it goes


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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

Building Your Brand Catch Phrase

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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

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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 the Placebo Effect.

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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

When they don’t know what they don’t know

Arrogance + ignorance is dangerous!

This morning a client and I were doing videos for his upcoming weekly Newsletters for the C-suite.

We were providing advice to overcome problems that center on the combination of arrogance and ignorance that occurs in new senior managers when they don’t know what they don’t know.

 “You’re right,” he replied, “what they don’t know they don’t know could cripple them and their companies.”

But it isn’t just the youngsters that have to watch out for that combination. It can happen regardless of your age, your gender, or any other demographic difference.

For instance, Price Waterhouse once reported results of a survey of CEOs of the 2000 largest companies. These executives were asked if they thought electronic commerce would “significantly change business.” Nearly 60% of them said yes.

Problem is, when asked if e-commerce would “reshape how they do business,” only 20% said, “Yes.” 

They believed that the net would impact business but not their business.

Ignorance and arrogance is the deadly combination. How can you avoid that trap? Here are some controls you need to incorporate into your business planning:

  1. Match your use of the web to your best customers and prospects. They will thank you for your concern and interest. You will have to exceed their knowledge just to stay even but it will be worth it as you maintain the relationship that brought you their business in the first place.
  2. Give your customers the choice between people and technology rather than making that choice yourself. The best example here comes from the financial industries where the specialized advice and information to buy and sell securities that was once the province only of brokers is now available to day traders. Yet, some of the organizations which initially offered their services via the net now find themselves opening brick and mortar offices.
  3. Your audience on the web, not you, will determine what they use… laptop, pad or tablet, smart phone and apps. It is critical to your success that your web site work with the lowest common denominator of software and hardware which your client and prospect base have available. If your customers use Mobile and texting, then make sure your web presence can be accessed that way. If, on the other hand, your customer base is confined to a group of web designers apt to have every plug-in known to man as well as the time and inclination to download your specialized software then offer it to them.
  4. Treat each customer individually. Every interaction on the web is one-to-one. That means that you can and should take the time to learn from them each time they contact you. Only in that way can your relationship grow into the trust that will build a loyal customer base. But be careful. Acquiring information you don’t use is just as bad as not asking at all.

Another thing to keep in mind is that people want to know why you’re asking and how you intend to use the information including whether or not you intend to sell it. Take the time to tell them.

Nothing is as important as getting to trust. To become the constant resource for your customers you need to offer useful content. But the context of the site and the service behind that site are the true value to the customer. In the final analysis, whether you do business on the net or in person this remains the same. Make sure your service rewards loyal behavior and that you maintain their trust by honoring it.

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

Peeling the Onion of CRM

Why I chimed in.

In the Q&A portion of a webinar I was attending the other night someone asked the folks assembled what CRM they used.

I could tell by the answers that there were several different understandings of Contact Relationship Management.

I’ve spoken on the subject on three continents and what I heard caused me to chime in.

Confusion is natural

Not long ago and not so far away business people kept track of their contacts with a rolodex. More sophisticated operations had card files on clients that could be accessed by the sales staff. A friend that was in the jewelry trade told me how they used color coding of the cards to visually differentiate the gentlemen’s purchases for wives and “lady friends.”

Direct marketing operations used master files to have data on purchases, recency and frequency.

Even back then the difficulty was in the multiplicity of processes in use. It is the same today. With the advent of the computer, accounting programs were drafted into use to keep files. Today, it is not uncommon for businesses to keep their customer records in Excel.

Software for salespeople

The granddaddy of software built specifically for the purpose of managing all the contact data a salesperson or a company could muster is ACT!. Initially it was a flat file rather than a relational database and offered limited capability for sending letters. (The internet and e-mail were in the future!)

Over time the product came to offer 15 special fields to enter data that was not “standard.” It became more and more robust and is still in use in a relational database form today.

The man that introduced ACT! is responsible for the top selling CRM product in the world today, Sales Force.com a cloud-based product.

Contacts vs Prospects vs Customers

Products originally built to track customers or clients started to get used to follow the actions of prospects who were people that had been contacted and established as a “sales lead.” Of course, none of this could work without input from each of the salespeople. Therein is a huge problem. Sales folks don’t like doing that detailed kind of data entry. So I developed a 3 step mantra that they could apply after each sales call:

  1. Note what happened in the prospect or client file
  2. Decide your next action
  3. Put a follow up date on that action and when it comes up just do it.

(Incidentally you can use this process in a paper-based CRM, any software CRM and it works in Outlook as well.)

It worked when sales managers encouraged it and let the rest of the sales force know about the results.

I start where the software stops

That’s when I honed my expertise in the CRM arena. It was difficult enough to get salespeople to use the systems let alone purchase lists of suspects, do the mailings and phone calls necessary to assure that it was really a lead worth pursuing and then maintain the contact over time. I showed companies how to go beyond CRM software to what I termed Automagic Marketing kluging automated e-mailings, data capture and timely automated sales follow-up as well as prospect qualification.

E-mail became a universal cure but if you didn’t automate it the costs were too much to bear. Solutions like Constant Contact appeared on the scene providing the ability to use graphic e-mail rather than text alone. Organizations started using these products for Newsletters and on-line magazines. Mail Chimp is a good option these days. These programs operate from lists loaded into them, require proof that the folks on the lists opted in and have no CRM capabilities. For that you need to connect them to your CRM system.

Autoresponders The first were part of e-mail transfer agents. They created bounce messages such as “your e-mail could not be delivered because…” Today’s autoresponders can handle if-then branching sequences as well as time delayed responses and even action-based triggering. Responses can be automatically entered into your CRM system with the right hookup. The best available at the moment in my view is Active Campaign. Visit their web site to see how this sophisticated kind of product works. (Note that Active Campaign is introducing a CRM linked to their Autoresponder capability.)

E-commerce solutions

The first “complete solution” software that became a market dominator was Infusionsoft. It included a store, upsells, downsells purchase tracking and the ability to accept payment (with a link). More importantly it was a fully functioning CRM with individual and bulk, text or graphic e-mail capability, autoresponder with linkage to telephone as well as snail mail. Today there are a host of systems available. Here are some to consider if you intend to sell from your website:

  • Infusionsoft
  • Click Funnels
  • Kartra
  • Ontraport
  • Builderall
  • Active Campaign (with a store integration)

Pricing for these ranges from under $20 to $300/month

Before you leap be sure of what your real objectives are.

Need help with that? E-mail me.

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 Overlooked Dimension

The world is 3-D.

Our eyes are specially adapted to focus on a point that exists where our mind directs. So why are most of our business models two dimensional?\

The Z-axis

The Cartesian Coordinate system has three axes: X, Y and Z.

The Z-axis is overlooked most of the time. The most frequently seen business graphs use the X and Y axes in an L shape with time on one dimension and money on the other. The next step up is to set up a graph with the X and Y axes crossing at a center point. Suddenly one can put ranges from bottom to top on one and left to right on the other. This sort of graph is particularly good at comparative outcomes.

The whole story

You can’t tell the whole story with just two axes. That is why often there is slew of graphs in a business presentation. And you’re asked to assemble the data in your mind to get the whole picture.

I was intrigued with this problem in the days before I started my Consulting practice. (That’s why my corporation is Z-axis Marketing, Inc.) I believe we restrict ourselves to essentially two-dimensional thinking because of the tools that were available. Pen and paper do not lend themselves to 3-D visualization. Yes, it can be done but it takes the ability of an artist to really be convincing and plotting data is not easy.

The trust factor

Then, too, how do you decide what three factors really tell the story of a business? In my view you need to show the interaction between:

Time (in most cases months and years but days and weeks can prove useful)

Money (the primary measure of any business– can be stated as income, revenue, profit etc.)

Trust (the single factor that can make or break any organization in my view)

Trust is best demonstrated by situations such as the Tylenol poisoning recall. The share of market dropped to 8% when cyanide was found in product on the shelf. They recalled all products, developed tamperproof packaging and returned to the market recapturing their 35% share of market.

In my experience, Trust is the predicator of success or failure for all independent professionals. I have been comparing the citations of Trust in testimonials and reviews versus the pricing and estimated income for consultants and coaches for the last 15 years and seen the proof of the saying:

People do business with individuals and companies they know, like and trust.

And Brand is an expression of that trust.

Data Points

So why don’t we have programs on every business desktop to give us 3-D graphing capability?

We don’t have sufficient data points. Scientists gather data on every variable they can find. Often, they are drowning in data. Businesses don’t. If it isn’t part of the accounting package it is given short shrift.

That is because the Z-axis is best used to show how a social factor impacts the bottom line. Acquiring the data in the time required is considered “expensive and not part of the essential data needed.”

And so it goes.

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Jerry Fletcher, Brand Poobah is a sought-after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, as well as founder 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.

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

Brand Stagecraft

Think of your brand in a concert hall or conference room

Yesterday I reviewed the latest blog from Science of People. One of the items was about how to use the physical elements of the stage to enhance your ability to communicate when making a speech.

That got me thinking about how we present information about our brand on web sites.

Brand is the expression of Trust.

How you stage yourself, your product or service makes a difference. Your words can tell prospects they are seen, heard and understood. That creates a level of empathy. Your authority must sync with it to get to Trust. Stagecraft can make the difference. Let them see an expert guide.

The body has a language of its own

Some people craft what they say as if the world will hang on each word. It doesn’t. Your physical appearance in the space impacts it just as much. The elements of body language that can impact your meaning are:

  • Facial Expressions (including your eye movements)
  • Body posture
  • Gestures
  • Breathing
  • Touching to include handshakes

Brand is all about getting to trust. If your posture gives the lie to the empathy you are presenting in your words, you lose. A direct gaze in a Latino culture is a challenge or a romantic indicator. Want to come across as an expert? Relax your hands. That indicates confidence and self-assurance across most cultures. Breathe. Take full deep breaths. Shallow breathing means you are nervous.

All that applies whether you are in a one-on-one meeting, on stage or on video.

Blocking for intimacy

The stage has a front (closest to the audience), a middle and a back (upstage). Intimacy increases the closer you are to the front. It is the same with photos you use on your web site. It is the same in any video you do. Think about how in a movie there’s a shot of the city that cuts to a street with our hero and guide walking along that cuts to a close-up of them talking. That builds intimacy without saying a word. As the distance between the presenter or product is reduced the intimacy increases.

Importance is all about placement

Looking at a stage there is a left, a center and a right from the audience’s viewpoint. If you are presenting something that has a time line involved you may want to begin at the audiences left and work your way to the right to physically enforce the time frame. If you use flashbacks as part of your presentation, always move to the point in the linear narrative where the action occurred. Your audience will get it without a lot of explanation.

All of us have seen web sites with pricing and benefits arrayed from lowest price and inclusions on the left to most on the right. Sears Roebuck started this with their catalog offering of Good, Better and Best. Most commonly today these options are identified on web sites as Silver, Gold and Platinum.

Position can also indicate importance.

In cultures that read left to right/top to bottom, the tendency is to place the most important item on the left moving to lesser items to the right. Where should your most important service be positioned in the offering on the web site? The service panel templates usually have three options. I recommend putting your signature item on the left, the next best revenue producer in the middle and the lowest of the three on the right.

Position vs Intimacy

Combining position and intimacy of graphic can shift this reaction. Frequently there is emphasis put on the center item to supercede the positional importance.

For instance, place an intimate photo of the product/service in the center flanked by less intimate graphics of the other two services. Our tests show that the intimacy of the graphic tends to be the governing factor when there is a difference. If the graphics are similar, position wins.

Shakespeare said, “All the world is a stage…

Look at how you block your brand appearance to enhance your connection with your audience.
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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