Consultant Marketing From Nobody to Somebody

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Normally I don’t sell from the stage when I speak. At least not for the last 15 years.

I just about always collect contact data to begin a relationship.

I always  take  the time to visit with anyone interested in learning more.

A salute to product.

As a result of a consulting contract an event manager has asked me to speak at three of his events later this year. He specifically wants me to sell 30-Second Marketing TM from the stage because it supports and adds to the planned experience of the program.

You missed one thing

My report said that overall the 2-day event had been well done and provided some unexpected presenters and subjects. “But,” I said, “You missed one thing. The people that attend these entrepreneurial events come in two varieties:

  • Men and women completely new to start-ups
  • Experienced entrepreneurs trying to avoid further failures

Both of those groups need one thing that they generally don’t get in on-line or in-person events.”

They need a brand but no one tells them how to build one.

I said, “Your program talked about all the social media needed to get to a mass market brand. It was excellent in that regard but provided no solid method to develop the words that would set an individual apart. Brands are built one contact at a time. One gem of a contact plus another and another until you have a string of them. Like a string of pearls. You have to be memorable to one person before you can be remembered in the same way by a crowd.

From Nobody to Somebody

Three seconds is all you’ve got to go from Nobody to Somebody. That’s true in person or on line. How you answer the question, “What do you do?” will make you stand out from the crowd or continue in oblivion.

A Memorable Hook is just the beginning

You can get to Trust, build a brand and generate referrals in 10 seconds if you have the right words.

The right words

You think through the conversation before it happens so you can find the right words.

You don’t have to come up with something on the fly.

You can truly connect with people by using the right words.

  • The right words… Can make you memorable in a heartbeat.
  • The right words…can generate trust as you introduce yourself
  • The right words…allow people to sort themselves into prospect or referral sources
  • The right words…can establish a brand in the time it takes to speak them

Moving from Vision to Product

Most entrepreneurs have the ability to have others connect with their vision. They start with family and friends and expand to other funding resources but then comes the time to sell their product or service in order to be successful and they are stymied.

They have to stop selling the vision and start selling the product or service. Then they have to expand that market or get faster repeat.

The right words make the difference.

The formula is all about the words. It always includes a Hook, a Hold, a Pitch and a Close.

The Hook changes your generic title to something Memorable in the vernacular that inextricably includes your name.

The Hold must be presented in the prospect’s words with full understanding of their fears, ambitions, concerns and perceived risks.

The Pitch must be definitive in how your process or ability or approach delivers that is not available elsewhere while giving them an easy way to explain it to someone else they believe it will fit.

The Close is more about taking an order when they are ready to buy than selling. Yes, give them concrete examples of what you’ve done for others. Talk about outcomes you’ve delivered.

Then there is the guarantee.

If you operate in the English Language and fully participate in an in person or on-line 30-Second MarketingTM Workshop and can’t develop words that work based on your fellow student’s viewpoint, I will give you three hours of my personal assistance, If, after that your fellow students still say it is a lost cause you get your money back. No ifs, ands or buts.

And so it goes

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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Brand Building

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Andy asked me to sit in on his Brand Marketing Summit over the weekend in Los Angeles.

As one participant summed it up:

“This was a successful young guy translating traditional branding for Millenials.”

I can verify that.

I was one of the “Mad Men” working in advertising in New York in the 1960s when branding first surfaced in the national lexicon. Trout and Reis would later coin the phrase Positioning that came at it from a different direction. They wrote several books on the subject.

No matter what you call it, the masters of advertising in that halcyon era preached the gospel of differentiation to make companies, products and services stand out from the crowd.

Everything new is old again

No, I didn’t mistype that. Here’s the model presented in the workshop.

Although the process from discovery to sale is presented here in the form of a funnel it harks back to all the theories of how mass advertising works developed before there was Daarpa’s darling daughter, the Internet.

Those were simpler times

Back then the big kahuna of awareness was TV. Everybody wanted to be number one in the consumer mass market. You could buy TV time on networks (there were only three!) or locally. So, Tony the Tiger told kids about Frosted Flakes on the network kid shows while Jack’s Autobody told adults who to call about that fender bender.

There were business magazines and consumer magazines, not to mention Radio and Direct Mail and Outdoor.

Attraction, in the day, came to be called preference. What that meant was that of the brands available you, the customer, liked one better than another.

Brands we knew incorporated Appreciation, Respect, Credibility and Certainty in Awareness and Preference. Throughout the heartland of the USA whole towns were dominated by Chevy or Ford. You would be considered a traitor if you bought the other brand. Coke was the champ. Pepsi was the challenger. That Mean Joe Greene commercial for Coke ran in 1979.

That was the way it was for about thirty years (1960 to 1990). The funny thing is we’re being told that mass market awareness is the key to sales success in today’s world. Unfortunately, most of us can’t afford a local TV commercial much less enough network spots to begin to build awareness.

Not to worry, the internet proponents say.

The internet is under 30. Social media are teenagers.

The world wide web did not exist until 1992. Google, founded in 1998, might be considered a very young adult. Facebook, YouTube and Twitter are all teenagers. Yet, social media is being promoted as the new way to achieve mass market awareness.

Notoriety can be achieved but individuals pay more in time and personal space than many are willing to give up. You can generate mass market awareness. Here’s what it takes:

  1. Have a memorable “hook,” a way that people can put your name and a relevant word picture of you in their mind when you introduce yourself in person, in print and on-line.
  2. Use their words to speak to their problems. Forget those fifty cent words you want to use to impress. Speak simply in the words they use to talk about why they need help. Their words are appreciated because you show respect when you use them.
  3. Use your client’s experiences to tell them what you can do. Your credibility goes up when someone else speaks for you. Concrete examples of the outcomes you and a client have achieved will move a prospect one step closer to engaging you.
  4. Stick to your value proposition. One. Do not try to shift your approach for each audience and individual. Consistency is what builds trust. Be honest, direct and tell the story the same way every time.
  5. Be in as many places as you can particularly the ones that your clients may also frequent. Mass market awareness should always begin with the places you might find an ideal client and go on from there.

The attention span of a goldfish.

Microsoft apparently did the research to verify that the human attention span these days without additional stimuli is that long (8 seconds).

There are additional studies that tell us that you have just 3 seconds to get remembered when you meet someone in person, in print or on-line. Just 3 seconds.

To begin a relationship that might end in a sale you need the right words.

The right words is why 30-Second Marketing TM works.

You think through the conversation before it happens so you can find the right words.

You don’t have to come up with something on the fly.

Connect

You can truly connect with people by using the right words.

The right words… Can make you memorable in a heartbeat.

The right words…can generate trust as you introduce yourself

The right words…allow people to sort themselves into prospect or referral sources

The right words…can establish a brand in the time it takes to speak them

Find your right words.

View this video: https://vimeo.com/393362328/97e414e6a6

Then call me.


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Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing in the Beginning

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I was interviewed on a Podcast last night.

I had approached the interviewer because of a post she had put in a group I’d been asked to join on Facebook. Usually I don’t engage on that platform but there she was, right up front when I clicked a link to the group.

We had chatted briefly on the phone, set a date for the interview and she said she would send me all the particulars.

When she called a little after dinner she was concerned that I had not responded to her e-mail.

I immediately searched my e-mail files and found zip, nada, nothing. She did the same and discovered that it was in her draft folder and had not been sent!

She asked if I could talk now to record her blog.

I said, “Certainly.”

She clarified a few points and then proceeded with the introduction.

Our connection is an event promoter who is launching a nationwide tour in March. I’ll be one of two keynoters in San Diego in November. He wanted me to keynote in multiple cities in the west but I no longer get a kick out of being in an all-day event, flying at night to the next city and doing it all again the next day. So I passed on Phoenix and Las Vegas.

Then I was asked to introduce myself.

Here’s what I said:

“My name is Jerry Fletcher, I’m a master of consultant marketing. You know how everybody tells you that you have to have to be memorable but nobody tells you how to do it? Well what I do is help consultants, coaches and entrepreneurs craft a unique trust-based marketing strategy to build a business, a brand and a life of joy.”

Memorable? She asked

“You have three seconds to use words face-to-face or on-line to get someone’s attention. Three seconds to say something or register or a strong headline to get through the armor we all have on our minds to open the way to further conversation. In the next ten seconds you must give them a reason to want to talk to you.

A commercial is not going to get it. People would rather have a conversation than listen to a commercial.”

Nobody is legendary right out of the box.

What you say in that first three seconds must give them a way to recall you. It should include your name and a memorable hook. That is the beginning of what I call 30-Second Marketing TM. Over time you will move through a series of steps that bring you closer and closer to that client/customer. Here’s the progression:

Memorable

            Trusted

                        Branded

                                    Employed

                                                Unforgettable

And for a few elites: Legendary

For her, it is the beginning.

Her questions revealed that she is moving from a full-time job in healthcare to coaching. She is fired up. She has taken the training and is now certified but like all indpendent professionals, consultants, coaches and solopreneurs she is having difficulties figuring out how to market her services.

I explained that the marketing that works in the beginning is not the same as she will use as her business grows and will change yet again when she is established. Of course, I have the benefit of the consultant marketing research studies I’ve done over the last 16 years.

Companies are built one contact at a time.

One gem of a contact plus another and yet another until you have a string of them like a lustrous string of pearls. In time, with trust some become clients, some become referral sources and some become both. Networking will always be a part of the successful firm’s marketing strategy. It will diminish in relative importance over time but will always be there. Along with direct sales activities, no matter what the business entails it is what the new entrepreneur must count on in order to pay the bills.

Speaking puts more targets in your sights.

I didn’t discover this fact of life. L learned about it by interviewing a consultant that had authored a book. Because of her I signed up for a newly formed group that I helped become the local chapter of the National Speakers Association. I’ve been a professional member of the National and the Local since 1993

If you have a process or viewpoint that can help solve a problem for individuals you can take that same information and build it into a speech crafted with signature stories and incidents along with content that will change the lives of  those in the audience. In doing so you will generate memorability, trust and brand. You will bring a part of that audience to the point that they want to work with you. You will be able to close the deal to work with them. And, assuming you deliver as promised, you will make yourself unforgettable.

Walk away from the podium.

Get your first appearances in places like your local Rotary. You won’t get paid by them or other small local groups that would like to hear your message. That is okay. You will need the practice and to learn what people really want to hear.

Slowly but surely you will develop the skill to speak without notes and to roam a stage finding positions that will help you make your point. Later when you are pursuing an appearance at a larger organization you will be asked, “What is your fee?” It will happen and from that day on you will be a professional speaker. Just remember, “It’s not about you. It’s about them.” Make sure your audiences always leave with information they can put to work immediately and that you have a way to continue the relationship.

Between those who come up to speak with you when you finish and those that provide you with their contact information your business and your referrals will continue to grow.

And so it goes.

Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Getting Ready to Get Ready

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I offered a free 3-Day Challenge.

Two thirds of the room signed up.

I figured it was a good way to build trust while working out some of the kinks in the first of a series of new experiential products with a small group.

What I learned.

I knew that most informational products sold okay but the purchasers didn’t implement the actions recommended. The research shows that 80% don’t even open the item after they have paid for it and downloaded it! And of the 20% who do open it up only a handful (20 to 25%) ever finish and implement!

In other words gamification techniques must be applied in order to get the purchasers to put the training to work.

Expectations versus reality

I wanted to be sure that this proven process got implemented. I carefully set things up so the perceived value was greater than the stated price ($197) the product included:

  1. A bonus video demonstrating the 30-Second Marketing self intro technique
  2. Module 1:
  3. An overview video for the course.
  4. A graphic roadmap of the course
  5. Trial Hook worksheets in writeable PDF form
  6. A zoom coaching call with all participants to share their work (and build community)
  7. Module 2:
  8. Hook’em worksheet with tips on resources to help craft creative breakthroughs
  9. Directions on how to come up with more memorable hooks
  10. A Higher recall worksheet (writeable PDF)
  11. Challenge Winners worksheet (with segment for recording the groups suggestions)
  12. A 30-Second Marketing Briefing
  13. A zoom coaching call to share their progress and provide feedback

 It worked but not as well as I had hoped. I was targeting 80% of those who signed up completing the course. Shifting the goal to actual use of the material being developed makes a difference. No longer is the measure of success a simple sales metric. Now it is a true measure…whether or not the purchaser got their money’s worth.

The numbers

The entire pitch was 3 minutes out of a 2-hour presentation. It was a small group, just 12. Eight of them signed up. Three completed the first worksheets. The same 3 showed up for the Zoom coaching calls. None of them completed the Module 2 worksheets. (1 did a day later)

BUT, all of them felt the product was worthwhile and all said they had learned a great deal about how to present themselves and their offering in a new way that they believed would pay off.

Mission Accomplished.

Along the way we helped one participant figure out how to expand his potential market and how to change up another’s presentation to get her unique difference across more quickly.

Shifting these individuals from doing a commercial to having a conversation was what I had set out to do. That got done. Will they be more memorable in the future? Probably.

An epiphany

One of the participants, after hearing the group agree with her friend’s suggestion about how to identify herself said,

Hmmmm… interesting.  Seems that would let me tailor what I say next based on whether I’m talking with an executive, business owner, manager or staff person.

That made it all worth while

The lesson for us all

I’ve been doing one-on-one consulting with consultants long enough to know that getting ready to get ready is a common failing. We all do it. We bite off more than we can chew. We sign up for a course, then get busy and figure, “well I can always come back to it.” We procrastinate.

There is a solution. As one of my clients puts it:

“Define the three things you believe will change your business for the better.

Pick one.

Do it.

Rinse and repeat.”

Stay tuned. More to come on putting more positive experience into the products it takes to build a business, a brand and a life of joy.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and CEO of Z-axis Marketing, Inc.

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing strategies that build businesses, brands and lives of joy.

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

Consultant Marketing Mindset

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Take a hard look at the photo.

What do you see?

Me, I see a very confident young woman. My impression is that she knows who she is, has mastered some capabilities and expects you to acknowledge her expertise.

How can I get all that out of a photo?

You make your mind up about anyone, in person or in media in the first 3 seconds.

How do you want to be perceived? What do you want your personal brand to project? How do you introduce yourself? How “Real” do you come across?

Currently, there is a commercial that portrays the danger of hiring someone that is “just okay.” The series is, in part, humorous but if you want to get hired you need to be perceived as more than barely competent. As the commercials say, “Just okay is not okay.”

You need to convince four groups:

  • Your Associates
  • Your Prospects
  • Your Referral sources
  • Your clients

But first you must convince yourself

All of us fear rejection. Somewhere north of 98% of people are afraid of public speaking. Most of them would prefer death to doing “the talk.” What about less-open appearances or interactions with strangers? Not quite as death-defying but still seen by some as a disaster about to happen. Whether you’re an introvert or extrovert makes no difference because just about everyone has a fear of being seen as inadequate.

Self-doubt must be erased.  

Whether you’re applying for a job, presenting in a corporate conference room or trying to get a consulting engagement over breakfast or lunch you need to be confident in your skills and how you present yourself. That 3-second judgement capability is something you can control. It is not logical. It is emotional. With powerful people it is a skill that has been carefully honed.

Overcome the impostor syndrome

All of us, on occasion, feel we are impostors. We judge ourselves more harshly than all those with whom we come into contact. The key here is to listen to the concerns and take steps to overcome them. Here are three suggestions that will allow you to stand tall, command the room and be memorable:

  1. Disconnect before the meeting. Look at yourself through the eyes of those you are interacting with—individual or group. Can they possibly know more than you do about your special expertise? It is truly doubtful. The more years of experience you have, the greater your practical knowledge. They simply don’t have the experience you’ve compiled. Do they know more about another subject or arena? Probably. But not yours.  Their view of you will be that of the inferior. Their expectation will be that you will teach them as you advise. They will incline towards respect.

Walk your talk. Let the confidence reek. They will sense it.

  • Practice positive self-talk. Do what it takes to know your audience. Check them out on social media. Understand their way of thinking based on their writings, interviews and appearances. No time to prep or a networking situation? Say, “Self, you’ve got this. You’ve thought yourself through 30-Second Marketing TM https://vimeo.com/358198046  so you know how to Hook ‘em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close’ em. More importantly you have honed your ability to listen, react and really be interested in them. 

  • Stop trying to close. The worst advice I’ve ever heard for a consultant is, “Close early and often.” Put yourself in the prospect’s position. They are anywhere in the process of deciding from just starting to think about it to shaking hands on an agreement. The better advice is, “Agree to work with them after they have sold themselves.”

That brings us back to erasing self-doubt. One of the best ways I know is to keep track of your successes. Prepare a case history https://vimeo.com/352835268 or success story after each engagement. Note the key outcomes. Review those files on a regular basis. If you are going into discussions in a similar industry you’ll have the facts at the ready should you need them. More importantly you’ll get the self-confidence boost you need to overcome any residual impostor syndrome. About to step into the unknown? If you follow my direction on your success stories you’ll find that your regular reviews will give you buoyant assurance in your abilities in your chosen field.  

Being at the top is a matter of mind over matter.

If you trust yourself, it shows. If you’re certain you have the experience, it becomes apparent. If you assert your convictions you will garner respect. The confident get the contract. Those with self-assurance do it again. And again, And again.

And so it goes.


Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com 

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for on and off-line Trust-based Consultant Marketing and Brand development advice that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy.

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


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