Brand is a Rainmaker

In times gone by, there were folks that hoped or believed they could get nature to relent and to turn cloudless skies into rain that would wash away a drought if only in one little part of the country.

Some seemed successful. Others, not so much.

Desire doesn’t change.

Each of us want there to be some sort of magic formula to bring new business to us without our having to work for it. We want the gods to smile on us. We’re willing to wear clothing we were wearing when we were successful before. That special tie comes out for the “big pitch.”  The unmatched socks get worn on purpose when we’re going for a new job interview. That railroad watch your Dad gave you gets wound up for the first time in years.  The rabbit’s foot key ring once again settles into your pocket.

The charm is your brand.

  • Sorcery doesn’t deliver potential clients. Staying true to your brand does.
  • Voodoo will not bring a customer to you. A brand that delivers will.
  • Alchemy doesn’t solve customer problems. You do and that is what your brand is based on.

You make the rain.

Although my blog appeared here each Saturday for the last month, I was half a world away from my office. I wrote those weekly comments on Brand before I left on a trans-Atlantic voyage followed by visits to Barcelona, Madrid and Washington, DC. I maintained my work with current clients (when I had internet connections). I wasn’t looking hard for new business. I was taking a vacation and meeting with some folks in person that I enjoyed from internet contacts. I thought I might be of assistance to some of them along the way. Turns out I will be.

Sometime when it rains, it pours.

As initially planned I was going to spend a few days sightseeing in Barcelona and return home. But then internet contacts in Madrid agreed to meet with me for lunch or coffee and so I extended my stay to take a high-speed train to Spain’s capital. Here’s what transpired:

  • I had coffee with the managing director of the largest speaker’s bureau serving Europe, Central and South America. He asked if he could add me to their database 10 minutes into our conversation.
  • I had lunch with the Spanish speaking former employee of a client based in Singapore. Later, because of her new coaching business I introduced her to the speaker’s bureau.
  • The founder of a social media service agreed to have coffee with me. I asked why things had “gone dark” after an initial burst of funding acquisition. He told me, in detail, and then proudly said that they had held the company together and it was now profitable. Then he asked for my consulting help in building the business in the USA.
  • I telephoned a client when I reached DC to find out how his knee surgery had gone. He asked me if I would take on an assignment for an association he is working with. I said, “Of course.”
  • A client “hip-dialed” me yesterday morning. We chatted briefly and then he asked me to meet with a consultant he knows. I agreed and the luncheon meeting is set.
  • This morning I got a message through the social media site that another member of group is as he put it “Looking for a professional speaker that may be interested in assisting to bring a virtual reality product to the market in North America.” We’ve agreed to talk about it.

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

Just like you can’t control Brand, you can’t control the pace at which new business opportunities come to you. You can however, influence both.  You start by staying true to what you do. You stay honest and forthright. You decline when you have to but you always try to suggest someone else that might be able to help.

Most of all you build Trust. You do it in each conversation. You do it more in your actions.

I didn’t have to introduce Rosa to the speaker’s bureau, but I did.

I wasn’t calling a client about his knee surgery, I was calling a client that over the years has become a friend. Help him with the association? I’ll do that regardless of the fee.

Have lunch with a prospect when one of your best clients asks? Definitely. He knows the prospect will get honest answers and didn’t even think to ask.

Hear out a founder who has come through the valley and has emerged profitable? Accept an assignment? Done, in all humility.

Agree to talk to an engineer about becoming a “product ambassador?”  You bet, because I’m convinced that contact came about because of my conversation with the social media network founder in Madrid.

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

What Are the Key Words of Your Brand?

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

Search engines are dumb.

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

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

Maybe not so dumb…

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

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

Key Words are competitive

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

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

Long tail key words may be more valuable

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

Test and Reset.

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

That generated zero, zip, nada so I tried:

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

Get more specific.

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

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

Focus

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

What do you think?

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

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Trust-based Brand development, Positioning and business development for independent professionals on and off-line.

Consulting: www.JerryFletcher.com
Speaking: www.NetworkingNinja.com
DIY Training: www.ingomu.com

Brand 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

Brand Anew

Woman developing marketing mindset

When is it time to rebrand?

  • If people can’t remember the name of your business it may be time to rebrand.
  • If people can’t spell the URL for your website, it may be time to rebrand.
  • If people recall your name and not the name of your business, it may be time to rebrand.
  • If people start to think of you in connection with one product more than the one you started with, then it may be time to rebrand.
  • If the market is disrupted and your business becomes passe, it may be time to rebrand.

There are other reasons.

Mergers. Acquisitions. Legal hassles. Reinvention of a product line. To apply new technology. To update the graphic representation of the company.

All those are valid. But the difference from that first list is in the viewer. Those first five reasons are all from the viewpoint of the client or customer. They might be asking you to change to build a better communications stream. It is all about them.

Your prospects, customers or clients are the heroes of the story.

Brand happens whether you like it or not. If you believe as I do that brand is the sum of all your interactions with a prospect, client or customer and an expression of their trust in you then you must pay attention to the signals they send.

I learned the hard way.

When I opened my consulting practice in 1990 I incorporated under the name Z-axis Marketing, Inc. like most entrepreneurs I didn’t research the company name. I just jumped in. Bad move.

The original logo

I was slow to learn that people just couldn’t remember the name. Then one day a client and friend told me he couldn’t remember the URL for my website when he was trying to do a referral. That got my attention. But I didn’t do anything about it immediately. I took the time to investigate what other independent professionals did.

A basic rule.

I found that independent professional brands are locked to personal names. Over time the name may be shortened to just the last name of the founder/owner. Or if it is a partnership or ensemble the shortening may be to the first two names on the masthead or the first letters of the names. Examples abound:

  • From the world of fashion: DKNY (which is Donna Karan New York)
  • From the world of consulting: Ernst & Young
  • From advertising: JWT (J Walter Thompson)

This is particularly true for small firms and start-ups. In initial phases of a business, the reputation of the founder(s) is what will lead the way to client acquisition.

Now you know who built this company

An introduction

These days when I’m asked to introduce myself at a networking gathering or even in response to the question, “What do you do?” Here’s how I respond:

“I’m Jerry Fletcher, the Brand Poobah.

You know how people are always telling you that you gotta have a brand to be successful?

What I do is work with independent professionals to craft a unique trust-based brand to build a business, a career and a life of joy.

I’ve found unforgettable brands for 127 independent professionals at last count.”

Multiple Brands

Now my name is a part of all my brands. All? Yes. I began speaking in 1993. The topic I selected was Networking. I became the Networking Ninja. By then, I was smart enough to know that my name had to be part of the brand.

Fast forward to this year and you can see how the logo has changed.

But another change is coming. Over the last two years I’ve been asked about Brand more than ever before. Google Trends shows me that interest in brand far outweighs interest in social networking and has done so over the last 4 years.

That is why you’ll begin seeing this logo. And why I’ve been blogging about Brand now for two years.

Are you ready to brand anew?

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in Colombia
On stage in Bogota, Colombia/

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

Brilliance on a Napkin

How often have you been in conversation over lunch with business associates and watched as they reached for a napkin to sketch a concept?

Not often I bet unless you are lucky enough to enjoy a meal with a “thought leader.”

Amygdala hijack

Concepts are hard to come by and harder to present in a way that is understandable. Often, years of experience and research come to frustration as the paper blotches and smears you’re carefully contrived graph or sketch. Even when all involved share similar experiences and background it can prove to be truly challenging.

The effort is what Laurie Buxton, the Neuro-humorist describes as an amygdala hijacking. That’s a surge of neurons in your vestigial lizard brain that brings you joy, frustration and sometimes laughter.

Sketchy but beautiful

These ideas when drawn on the porous paper bleed every which way. The lines may be ragged but the intent is quickly obvious from the accompanying explanation. Positive ROI follows when you put them to work. That’s because the narrative is so rich in the vocabulary of first-hand experience.

Brilliance on a napkin

I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to a powerful concept illustrated on a napkin a number of times:

  • The Brand/Direct Scale, invented by a former client and his partner to show the difference in ROI dependent on the percentage of direct marketing versus Brand use in ads.
  • The Consultant Value Jump developed by the Alan Weiss Community and shaped like a ski jump seen from the side that portrays how fees can be increased as engagement time decreases.
  • The Promotional Whirl from the heart of my own Brand Gyro that uses over-lapping circles to make both the new Trust tools and traditional Spin Tools understandable.
  • The Brand Introduction Curve a Marketing director and I put together for a training session with the divisional directors of a Fortune 500 company. The major difference we incorporated was using a full cross-hairs X-Y axis and showing all the time and costs in development before the product was introduced and began (with luck) to generate ROI
  • The Brand Disruption Curve used by a management consultant friend from Toronto to convince clients to begin considering the mortality of their brands and how to be prepared for the shift.

Less is more

Using a napkin as your art board means you must strip away all the extras and get to the heart of your concept. Space can be a concern. Multi-faceted symbols can prove difficult to render. Writing can yield pathetic results. Less is more in napkin conditions.

Radiance

I was rattling on about this over Thai food with a friend. She put down her chop sticks, picked up her purse, searched out a pen and then picked up a paper napkin. The waiter removed our dishes and she put the napkin in the middle of the table between us saying, “All those things about presenting an idea on a napkin you said are true but it also gives you one thing that is less expected.  It makes your imagination a part of the concept. Let me show you.

With that she drew a small box about a quarter inch square to one side of the napkin. Three inches to the right of it she drew another. This one she filled in. Then she said, “Most people see decisions this way…black or white. A few have been taught that there are many greys that separate them.

But I tell my clients to imagine the colors of the rainbow filling that space in the middle. Not only do we have more than two ways to go we have infinite choices, all of which can bring new light into our lives.”

Imagine your rainbow.


Jerry Fletcher­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry 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 Business One Speech at a Time.


Jim’s done it. Manoj’s partners do it. It is a regular part of Shell’s marketing.

A target rich environment.

What could be better than getting in front of a group of people that can buy your products or services and are committed to listen to what you have to say?  Think about how hard you work just to get the ear of one.  Consider the time it takes you to convert just one lead.

It’s worthless if you don’t know what you are doing.

You can turn all those folks Into terrorists that want to destroy you and your business if you’re not careful.  You can offend, aggravate and otherwise piss them off by trying to sell them your product or service. Don’t do that.

Jeremiah learned what works.

Early on when he introduced his software to his industry he worked a booth in the trade shows in neighboring states. He learned that most folks that were running family businesses like he grew up in were not looking for digital solutions to the problems that had been around since, as he put it, “I was axle high on the tractor.”

Those early days were tough times. He and his partner were stoked when people would just talk to them. People wanted to know how this new technology might fit into a tough schedule in an industry that had never had any penetration by electronic devices. None.

He was asked to speak at an upcoming trade show.

He knew if he tried to sell people would walk out on him and he would never be asked to speak again. He knew how back-breaking the work could be for both the testers and the folks back in the office. He knew because he had done it.

He knew that he had a solution that would work for the testers, the folks in the office and the utilities they had to report to. He was an engineer after all and comfortable coding answers to the things folks in the field needed.

He told his story of living in two worlds.

He began by talking about how he and his sister used to sit at the kitchen table figuring out his Dad’s route for the next day and filling in as much of the paperwork as possible. Then he spoke of being trained in the field, doing the work as their second tester and virtually doubling the family income.

He told them how his family put part of that money away so he could go to college where he graduated as an engineer, went home and rejoined the family business and began applying what he had learned.

He uses the familiar smart phone to show people the future.

  • Jeremiah shows them how an app that was part of his software works like GPS to plot the most efficient route for them
  • Jeremiah shows them how they could record all their measurements on the phone.
  • Jeremiah demonstrates how all the data on a client could be e-mailed to the office so they aren’t always a day behind.
  • Jeremiah shows them how the billing can be done electronically on the spot.
  • Jeremiah makes sure they know he and his people would be there to help them from the start to the finish.
  • Jeremiah soothes their concerns about the coming digital wave by being a man of both worlds.

He speaks with candor, understanding and concern. He has become the expert the industry turns to.

He is building his company one speech at a time.

He is scheduled to speak all across the country in the coming year.


Jerry FletcherJerry 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 Your Voice

Every sense you have is how you respond to Brand.

Sight is a major input. It streams graphics and color and your name.

Smell, the most deeply rooted and emotionally stirring perception entry can lead you to incredible savories, repulsion, fear and fornication.

Taste can trick you or send a trickle charge to your amygdala.

Touch will be rewarding whether you deliver or receive it.

Sound. Your most used natural sound ability is your voice.

It can be raised in song.

It can whisper. Or scream.

It can be broadcast, recorded and played at will.

Your voice can be memorable or drab.

It is part of your personal brand, like it or not.

Why your voice is important:

  • The most common way we communicate today is via telephone.
  • The internet gives us all the possibility of being on-air personalities
  • It is one more way to separate yourself from the pack

A Speakers Bureau Owner once told me, I go to bed with your voice every night.” That left me a little non-plussed so I asked her what she meant. She replied, “I like your Networking Ninja tapes and your modulated delivery. I listen to one lesson each night. I learn something. Your voice calms me and I turn the player off, roll over and go right to sleep.”

All this came back to me as I listened to a Pod Cast I guested on recently. You can hear it at any of these links:

Training Unleashed Website: http://www.trainingunleashed.net

ITunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/training-unleashed/id1274213431?mt=2

Stitcher: https://www.stitcher.com/podcast/training-unleashed

iHeart Radio: https://www.iheart.com/podcast/263-Training-Unleashed-28643038/

C-Suite Radio: https://www.c-suiteradio.com/shows/training-unleashed/

Record yourself.

Listen.

Is your voice distinctive? Is it memorable? Does the way you turn a phrase get attention? Is your chuckle infectious? When you laugh do people laugh along with you. Do you pause to give people time to digest your ideas?  When you get nervous do you sort of spew?

Take the time to make your voice distinctive.

Make it part of your brand


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

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.

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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

 

 

 

Do you Look Your Brand?

Your logo is the least of it.

Part of my job as a consultant and speaker is to help independent professionals and small businesses see how important every graphic, photo and video is to their brand.

Adults relate to people not symbols.

It is easier for grocery shoppers to pick Newman’s over a host of competitors. Which do you lean toward, General Mills or Betty Crocker? Given the choice so you opt for coffee grown, picked and shipped by Juan or one of the raft of others on the shelves?

Animals come in second.

Can you believe a Super Bowl with no commercials featuring the Budweiser Clydesdales? When it comes to batteries do you want the Energizer Bunny ones or the other guys.

Cartoon Personalities come next, particularly with kids.

Four out of the top five cereals are hyped by a cartoon character (Frosted Flakes, Lucky Charms, Captain Crunch and Fruity Pebbles). Ever wonder the King Kong of movie production in the last few years is Marvel?

Here’s how that impacts you and your business.

  • If you are an independent professional, your name and your image should be part of every way you promote your brand. For example, recently I decided to do more speaking. My new card reflects that in the visual which is a photo taken during a keynote. If you’ve ever been to a conference the impression is that this is a keynoter.If you can manage it, use a photo that allows the person viewing to make eye contact with you. Spend the money to have a professional photographer capture your essence. Selfie’s just don’t get it!
  • If your business is a separate entity providing a product or service not tied to your name or professional capabilities consider using an animal. I’ve known a very successful writing instructor that built her identity around her Newfoundland Retriever. At one point one of the most successful speakers I know had a blog “written” by his dog.

Be careful how you choose. Not everyone likes insects, or snakes or a mélange of other critters. Usually you need to stay away from the scary ones but sometimes the fear factor can make you more memorable. Or, you can do a switch up by using a comforting story or image. One of the highest readership blogs I’ve ever written was about a Mama Raccoon.

  • If you like cartoons, consider the expense. There are a lot of low cost logos that are cartoons. The problem is we are trained very carefully from youth to expect cartoons to be animated. Full scale animation is costly in terms of both time and money. Some amazing things have been done recently in software that may help you overcome this difficulty. Check into it before you walk away from the potential.

The key is to keep it consistent.

Every time you produce anything that will be seen by your customers, prospects, connections and referral sources make sure the visual reflects the image you want to present to them. That includes looking in the mirror as you leave your lair. Even if you are just running out to get an item at your local grocery, you need to look your brand.

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Jerry SpeakingJerry 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

Personal Brand Out Of The Dark.

I went dark back in mid-November.

Shift happens. I put my house on the market and it sold. The condo I wanted to buy had not received FHA approval. The mortgage company bureaucrats demanded data at the last minute. Mom was in the emergency room so I flew back to the Midwest.

Then, not only Murphy but his minions decided it was my turn in the barrel. I figured my Personal Brand was going to take a hit.

Keeping your personal brand means you have to:

  • Constantly keep it in mind.
  • Unceasingly support it.
  • Always keep it visible.

That is especially true when Murphy and Minions grab hold of your life.

I’ve just come through three months of coping with the Murphy clan.

According to Google:

Edward Aloysius Murphy Jr. (January 11, 1918 – July 17, 1990) was an American aerospace engineer who worked on safety-critical systems. He is best known for his namesake Murphy’s law, which is said to state, “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.”

How do you sustain your personal brand when everything you do seems to diminish your ability to look after it?

For me it started with three apparently unrelated decisions:

  1. I would assist Mom in getting the eye surgery she needed by being there.
  2. I’d sell my house, downsize and bank a little cash on the way.
  3. Speaking appearances would get more attention in 2018.

I wrote about how Murphy and his Minions started changing my life regarding the first two decisions in my Personal Note Series (Best Laid Plans, To Market To Market).

Little did I know back then.

You are who you are and that will not change catastrophically unless you run afoul of the law in a major way.

I went dark for three months. My last Small Business Marketing Blog and weekly commentary last appeared in mid-November. Updates to my Brand web site and Facebook page stopped about the same time. My regular contributions to BeBee became a trickle of comments and then just stopped altogether.

I did maintain my consulting business clients but had to discontinue most of my new business activities. I flew to Cincinnati, Ohio from my home in Portland, Oregon four times in two months Two of the trips were unplanned because Mom was in the Emergency Room.

There were a few concerned business phone calls but It wasn’t until I cancelled the land-line phone service that I got any major reaction. I only have one phone number now: 503 957-7901

Be yourself. Don’t allow the events of the day to muddle how you connect.

Base your personal brand on your core competence, convictions and confidence. Stick to it through thick and thin. People understand that your professional abilities can be impacted by emotional situations. You need to be transparent about how Murphy and Minions are impacting your emotions. They will give you credit when you are candid.

Honesty, candor and your web site are the night light you need when Murphy and Minions force you to go dark.

My consulting site continued to generate leads and proved to be the primary resource for clients that were referring prospects. The comment, “I felt I knew you before we met in person because your web site gave me so much information.”

Over the next few weeks you can look forward to updates in my speaking site (www.NetworkingNinja.com)

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Jerry SpeakingJerry 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