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

What the Heck is a Brand Poobah?

Glad you asked.

You know how people tell you that you need to have brand for your new company or product or service but don’t tell you how to build one?

What I do is show independent professionals, Entrepreneurs and small business owners how to instantly craft a trust-based brand they can use on and off line.

Practice makes perfect.

I’ve done it hundreds of times. Some examples:

  • Business Defogger and Accelerator Jim Grew, Management and Leadership consultant
  • When you can’t afford to lose Don Douglas, Negotiator
  • The Untangler Shell Tain, Money coach

Each of those has a full identity connected to it. Each is built on a Vision, a Mission and a Position unique to the individuals involved. Each targets the heart of their ideal clients. Each can be delivered in words, graphics and combinations that never lose their singular qualities on and off line. Knowing how to do that across multiple businesses or products or services is essential. I believe if you have more than one, you need to keep your Brands separate but equal to the task of building a trust-based relationship with the buyers or end-users of the product or service being offered.

What is a Poobah?

I thought it came from the Middle east like Vizier but the Wiktionary says:

  1. A person who holds multiple offices or positions of power at the same time.
  2. A leader or other important person.
  3. A pompous, self-important person.

Friends tell me I qualify on all three.  It goes deeper than that. This is one of those memorable phrases that has lost it’s meaning in antiquity. It comes from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado first performed about 1885. It is an entirely fictional title initially meant to puncture over-inflated egos. That has changed in the century since, I think.

I probably learned of it from a less exalted source: the Flintstones where it was the title of a senior official in the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes, an ongoing spoof of secret societies and men’s clubs in this cartoon series.

Go for the positive!

I’ve been lucky enough to qualify for number 2 above having been a CEO successfully building an Ad Agency, PR firm and later leading operations in a world-class direct marketing firm.  Multiple offices or positions? Only because I had to give memorable names to the multiple businesses I was involved with at the same time. Over time I’ve been promoted as:

  • Marketing Rainmaker
  • Networking Ninja
  • Contact Relationship Magician
  • Brand Poobah

Why Brand Poobah?

I’m trying it on for size. I want to know if others believe it sets me apart as a leader. I need to find out if it makes folks believe that I have expertise in multiple areas. I used it in front of a room full of consultants not long ago. It stopped the incipient buzz. Every ear in the room was on me when I said, “You know how” down through “What is a Poobah.”

I’m looking at building it out but before I do I need to hear from you.

What do you think?

Vote for __ Leader/Expert or __ Pompous Twit.

Just hit reply and send either of the above. I promise, I will listen. And I might even contact you.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry 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 is Built on Moving Parts

I finished the on-line training for 30-Second Marketing TM and posted it on Ingomu. It is just one element of the four in Secrets of a Networking Ninja.

Brand is trickier

The second element I’m adding is called No Budget Branding TM but I’m combining parts of other products developed earlier to make this one as complete as I can. Some of the things I’ve learned over the years get in the way. This is a DIY (Do It Yourself) product and so I’m working my way through some of the expertise I bring to a one-on-one session and finding ways to incorporate the benefits without a physical presence.

I believe Brand can refer to a company, product or service. Sorry, I don’t include Personal as the only time, in my view, that Personal enters the equation is when it is linked to a company product or service offered by an independent professional. In other words, John Q. Public is not a brand. John Q. Public Accounting could be.

Trust keeps it spun up

Funny how teaching can help you see things you hadn’t before. As this video explains. Brand is an expression of Trust. But, building this program has confirmed that once you’ve set out to build a brand and spun up the promotional whirl, the thing that holds it all together is the Circle of Trust. Without it, it all comes crashing down. With it and judicious inputs to influence it you can keep it building. Trust allows you to influence Brand but you can never completely control it.

A flywheel instead of a funnel

Jon Dick, in a blog for Hubspot, explained how a new model, the flywheel replaces the familiar funnel putting a new spin on customer acquisition and retention. Jon relates the strength of the flywheel to how it maintains and increases trust as well as the momentum you need to keep things spun up.

A flywheel approach forces you to align all your marketing and sales efforts because any friction can slow the flywheel and wear trust down. In Jon’s words: “…your flywheel produces more growth as your customer count increases. If you can add ‘density’ to those customers, by getting them to adopt more of your products or be more ‘sticky’ even more momentum and growth can be achieved.”

Brand is Built on Moving Parts

Brand is the sum total of perceptions about your company, product or service from all the publics that are aware of you. It is an expression of trust built on a complex set of factors that must be considered. Here are the elements that will make up the program I’m preparing:

  • Vision (from Lightning in a Bottle)
  • Mission (from Lightning in a Bottle)
  • Prospect Viewpoint
  • Value Proposition
  • Profitable Niche
  • Position
  • Persona (a core of Trust wrapped around with Product, Price and Passage (Distribution) encased in a Name
  • Promotional Whirl (Trust Tools and Spin Tools)
  • Performance
  • Perception
  • Prospect Feedback
  • The Circle of Trust

You can see my dilemma. But I’m doing my best. In a week or two this program will be available. Will it be easy? No. Will it work? Yes, as well as the user wants it to. The key here is that I’ll be right beside you in spirit and the program will be changed over time as we find the difficult parts that need more elucidation. And, if you get really hung up the folks at Ingomu will make it easy to contact me direct.


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry 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

Peeling the Brand Power Onion


It’s difficult for some folks to develop the hook, the instant brand, in their 30-Second Marketing approach.

It ain’t easy being green.

Today, a client described getting to 30-Second Marketing as “peeling the onion.” Like so many he has difficulty in finding his way into the mindset of his ideal client/customer. Achieving a level of empathy gets more difficult the further you are separated in terms of gender, color or culture. “It ain’t easy being green” is the way Kermit the Frog summed it up

My way or the highway

Often a CEO or President has become so entrenched in her/his way of thinking that they assume everyone thinks like they do. They believe that prospects don’t have the problem they state if it doesn’t match their perception.

If you can’t see the problem as a prospect sees it your solutions will be invalid. It could be you, Mr. or Ms. CEO on the highway instead of the other way around.

Pareto’s 80/20 rule was right

In developing 30-Second Marketing with clients over the last 20 years I’ve found that successful independent contractors find that about 80% of those who hire them report the same problem. Yes, they have other problems but in the target population there are only two others that creep up in importance. Neither is as important as the first.

The secret is to use their words

Listen. How do they describe the problem? Is there a single word that gets at the heart of it? How do they go on about what is bothering them? If something is truly bothering them the deeper you go the more you hear the despair. They start with frustration and wind up somewhere around hopeless. Your job is to capture the words they use because those words are the ones that will touch their emotions. Decisions are made and action taken based on emotion. Sure, you might rationalize it later but the emotional trigger is the one you need to get to.

Let ‘em off the hook

Have a client look back on why they hired you. Emotions will come out that didn’t before the engagement.  Emotions you’ll hear: Fear, Anger, Sadness, Disgust, Surprise. Compare what they say now to other’s comments. Look for the pattern Frustration can be substituted for anger. Frequently, in lawsuits folks want a “Pit Bull” because they don’t want to be surprised. . If you identify an emotionally loaded word as the real problem, you may have to be cognizant of their feelings and instead of using the word refer to “some people” or “others”  when describing the situation.

Don’t try to impress me with 50-cent words.

You won’t. And you won’t convince or persuade your prospect either. To be successful, your brand must be presented in words a 5-year-old can understand. Keep it simple. Instead of describing yourself as a Digital Device Technician try being a member of the “Geek Squad.” Become the CPA who says he is ‘Captain Crunch.” Describe yourself as the Networking Ninja and have people remember you for years. The secret is to use their words.

If you are a scientist, dumb it down for me. If you are a lawyer, do not obfuscate. If you use language that is part and parcel of a lexicon shared by only a small fraternity of people, get real. The more difficult it is to understand what you do the less successful you will be. It really is that simple.

Here are the kind of results you can expect when you peel the brand power onion:

  • Defogger and Accelerator Management Consultant. Doubled his revenue.
  • We take the paper out of water testing Founder. Sold the company for north of Five Million dollars
  • The Untangler Money coach. Tripled successful client intakes after each speech.

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, founder and Brand 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.

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

Marketing: The Edge to Late Entry

I’m running late today. Usually my Saturday morning posts are in your e-mail box by 3:00 AM

Not today.

Gone but not forgotten

Yesterday, the Toys R Us stores across the USA closed.

At its height it had 1,690 locations around the world. Ownership of the stores changed hands multiple times but it dominated toy sales pushing out smaller, local toy stores wherever it opened.

Toys R Us first lost is market dominance to Walmart in 1998. It struggled unsuccessfully to maintain, it’s position. The last time it had an annual profit was 2013.

The lesson learned

Smaller toy stores simply could not match the variety, volume and pricing of the larger Toys R Us that used the big box strategy to build an iconic brand. Big box based companies can easily supplant a single category competitor. You can have a competitive edge when you are late into the market but that edge needs to be honed continually.

Tilting toward the internet of things

Looked into Best Buy lately? Just about any electronic gadget you need can be found on their shelves including a lot of the items that qualify for the soubriquet: Internet Of Things. The sales force is being trained to understand buyers versus final users and to optimize their Geek Squad brand for completing the sale.

I heard through the grapevine that their Geek Squad has been trained in installing and servicing scads of new household gadgets. More importantly, they are being trained in how to deal with seniors.

The moral of the story

Someone in the marketing department has realized where the biggest market for these digital goodies is, how they get sold and the skills required to build a trusted brand. A friend tells me that a sensor that detects whether an aging relative is in bed, accessible across the net, is sold to a son or daughter as a way to check in on Mom or Dad. It is one of the items the Geek Squad is ready to install! Staying on top of market shifts can extend the life of your organization even if you are late to the party.

Better late than never

I spent most of the last week doing an inventory. A couple new Strategic Partnerships caused me to dust off productizing plans for the intellectual property I’ve developed over the years as a consultant and professional speaker.

My partners and I have looked at the offerings for independent professionals and small businesses and found them generally wanting. Most are rehashes with little or no relevant statistical support. Proven processes, tips and techniques are hard to come by.

The edge to late entry

Marketing Without Money TM products we deliver (learn more) will be thoroughly tested and adapted to the life style of the owners of professional practices and small business. What that means is that they will be available in Video, Audio and PDFs. It will be a subscription service with small cohorts. Regular webinars that are heavy on Q&A will highlight program keys and provide bonus materials. The programs will be continuously refined with new additions available to all subscribers.


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, founder and Brand 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.

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

 

 

Brand is a Matter of Time

In an instant.

You can brand yourself, a product or service in an instant. That’s true, but only when you are making first contact. When you are not known by that contact you can be whatever you decide to be. Your product or service can be positioned so that is clear and presents you memorably.  That’s the “hook” in 30 Second Marketing.

For a short time

After the conversation engendered by your “hook” which gives you a chance to explain the problem you solve for about 80% of the folks you work with, the “Hold” and how you, your product or service is different from others in the market, the “Pitch” they will remember what you told them if it is relevant to them.

Or it could be “Sticky Time”

Deliver your Hook, Hold and Pitch believably and they will remember for themselves, Keep you in mind as a referral and literally come back to you years later. I’ve been speaking as the Networking Ninja since 1993. People that saw me as much as 20 years ago still seek me out.

Ripple time

It is like dropping a pebble into a pool of water. The ripples move out from the center and engage with someone. If that person buys in it sets up another set of ripples that keep expanding.

Bunch time

Every brand starts with just one advocate. That one refers you, your product or service to the next and the next until you have small bunch of fans. For some, that small bunch is all that is needed to be successful. For others it is the beginning of a tribe. Still others need a nation to stay in business.

Fallout happens. Our clients or customers will turn over in time. Their loyalty is a matter of how well their needs are met. You need to look at these items to be sure you are on the right track:

  1. frequency of purchase /Loyalty–average length of engagement
  2. Referrals over time to maintain the business
  3. Compensation Method and LTV (Life Time Value of each client/customer

Counting down to Success

Too often, independent professionals bill hourly. Product oriented companies think only of single sales and service organizations think in terms of projects. Here are some direct comparisons using LTV as the key decision point drawn from my files:

Item       Frequency         Loyalty         Referrals              Payment              LTV

Product  1-time               Product Life        0                        $20                         $20

Product  1-time               Product Life         0                       $20
with refills 10 x /year       $5 per time                                   $50                         $70

Service 1-time project    1 to 3 months      5-10% will refer $2500                    $2500

Service on
retainer   Annual Renewal  Avg 3 years     up to 20%           $1000/mo            $36000

Intellectual
Property  1-time               Product Life        up to 10%           $150                    $150

Intellectual  Subscription  Avg 1 year         up to 10%            $150/mo             $1800
Property

Intellectual   Retainer +    Avg 1 year          up to 10%           $1000/mo
Property      Subscription  Avg 1 year                                     $150/mo            $13800                                                  

What time is your brand operating on?


Jerry at Cafe in Venice

Jerry at a cafe along a canal in Venice.

Jerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, beBee ambassador, founder and Brand 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.

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

3-Second Branding

You can’t control brand but you can influence it.

Brand has been part of the expertise I’ve offered for going on fifty years.

I stumbled into this: the only time you have really powerful influence on brand is when the slate is clean.

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.

You’ve got 3 seconds.

How you identify yourself in that first few seconds will determine whether or not you will be remembered. What you say is the “hook.” 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?


Jerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, 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.

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

 

Chutes & Ladders To Build Your Brand.

 

They didn’t have the game when I was a kid.

We got it for my daughter when she was in grade school. It is a counting game where you move from the bottom of the board to the top. Where you land determines your progress toward the goal. A Chute, like a playground slide takes you down while ladders take you up.

It is all about mindset.

Yours. Others. Whether we go along or not is dependent on the convictions in place both before and after individuals engage. Chutes are pre-engagement. Ladders are once we begin attempts to influence another.

Chutes, in the real world turn out to be positive or negative according to Robert Cialdini in his new book Pre-Suasion. His first book, published 20 years ago, (Influence) was about the six key “ladders” that marketers, advertisers and sales professionals use to convince and persuade.

A chute is my way to describe Pre-Suasion.

It occurs:

  • Before you are in a position or situation to be sold.
  • Before the discussion of features and benefits.
  • Before the emotional appeals.

It happens when you or your prospect are in a frame of mind that will color your reaction to all the ladders. You are on the chute and what you feel, think and believe in that moment is predictably what will make the difference in your reaction.

This is behavioral psychology finally exploring the complexity of factors that control acceptance of advertising, marketing and sales techniques.

Too often we use a Ladder approach, stacking up all the features and benefits of going our way and at times yielding to the hard-won knowledge that decisions are emotionally, not logically based. Yet we fail because the chute our prospect was perched upon ran counter to our approach.

The power of setting the stage.

Shakespeare noted that “All the worlds a stage” Before you, as a player, utter a single line, consider the stage. Is it conducive to the outcome you hope to produce? If you can control them, how would you change the trappings? Could you change the speech that precedes yours? Is there a musical or sound note that could be injected to change an attitude? Is there a lighting or art effect that can change the mood?

30-Second Marketing TM, the technique I teach for self-introductions is a powerful example of how the elements revealed in Cialdini’s book set the stage.

Why 30-Second Marketing TM works.

  1. You wait until they ask, “What do you do?” that shows focus on you.
  2. You hook ‘em. You respond with something memorable like, “I’m a Networking Ninja.” That generates curiosity and puts them on a chute because they want to solve the mystery of the title.
  3. Next you hold ‘em with a statement like, “You know how you, like most people, are really uncomfortable introducing yourself…” A nod or other positive response will tell you that they are with you and that you have now personalized this conversation to them.
  4. Then you pitch ‘em. You say something like, “What we do is teach you how to have a conversation instead of doing a commercial. We help you mothball that elevator pitch and use a technique that is a shortcut to Trust that you can do in 30-Seconds or less.
  5. You close ‘em on a date and time to sit down in their office to work out the details of how you can work with each other. You set the stage.

______________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja, is a sought after International Speaker, 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.

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

 

 

 

Brand is the Answer to So What?

So WhatYou get out of college. I’m not a commodity, you think.

Want to bet?

“But I have this advanced degree I had to go to school what seems like forever to get.  I’ve got special initials behind my name. I’ve been accepted in some special groups.”

So what?

You get your first “real job” and discover that you do know some things and know how to do them without tripping over yourself or anyone else.

You say, “I’m pretty good at all the regular business software and I can write a report, a letter or an e-mail that will get read. If I can’t do something, I say so.”

So?

“I’ve been working my whole life… well most of it any way. I brokered desserts in grade school and then in high school I worked at a pizza place and I did some tutoring along with the pizza thing. Worked my way through College…at least part of it because the scholarships didn’t cover all of it.”

So what?

“I learned the value of money and what it takes to get to the place you want to be and how working at low paying jobs isn’t the way to get there. That’s why I went to College and why I studied business because that’s where the money is. I figured I could ladder some jobs in small to medium-sized companies and work my way up to the point where maybe I could get a piece of the action. I’ve been pretty consistent about how I operate regardless of the company. “

How’s that working for you?

“If I had it to do over again I’d go after more leadership positions in College, maybe even sooner. Working with people, being a manager is a set of skills I’m learning on the job. It is tough to get a team to pull together. Management is about getting people to get done what needs doing. Aside from the politics that’s how you get measured. I’m doing okay even though I won’t compromise my principles.”

Now What?

“There are people in the company that believe in me. They are sending me to some training. Frankly, I don’t know if I’m ready for it. Maybe they are seeing something I’m not.”

What are they seeing?

Honesty. Consistency. Integrity.

Those are key ingredients of Trust.

They are responding to your personal brand even though you did not set out to establish one.

A positive personal brand can make all the difference in your life.

Comprehension was just 30 seconds away.

When you took those 30 seconds to decide on working as a youngster.  You were beginning to build your personal brand.

Awareness was less than 30 seconds away.

Each time you moved to a more demanding position, once you thought it through and concluded that you could keep your persona intact, you built on your personal brand.

Acceptance is under 30 seconds away.

The fact that you still question your capabilities even after all you’ve been through tells me you want to be the best you can be and you are always evaluating.

Trust, the key to personal brand, is garnered 30 seconds at a time.

Deciding to work. Honing skills. Advancing. Managing. Standing tall through it all. 30 seconds plus another 30 seconds plus another until you have a life time.


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

Three Scary Brand Questions

I told them I was going to make them uncomfortable.

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

My advice came from these three questions:

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

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

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

You can’t hear what you are saying.

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

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

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

You are not an “elevator speech.”

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

Conversation or Commercial?

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

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

So what?

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

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

Good Question.

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

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

Get Scary.

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


Jerry Fletcher is a beBee Ambassador and founder/Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

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

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

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