Trust, Brand and How to Get There

Brand is based on perceptions.

The greatest of these is trust.

If there is no trust, there is no positive brand. (Video Link) BUT there can be negative brand. Seldom if ever does a brand exist that is trusted by 100% of the populace. Even within the target audience for the product or service there will always be some that don’t get the message. There will be group that is not on board for many reasons chief of those being a negative experience.

Consider the current approval ratings of the Trump administration. More importantly, consider the desperate straits of leadership in the departments of the federal government where A and B list candidates are scorning appointments and refusing to serve.

When less than 50% of the population trusts you, you have a brand problem.

Trust and consequently Brand are dynamic.

Trust can change as quickly as new information becomes available and in today’s world that is just a tweet away. It doesn’t matter who tweets as we have seen over and over since Trump took office.

More importantly Brand can be impacted by any information presented to the audience whether it is “fair and balanced” or more blatant false news. The problem is that the same information causes diametrically opposed reactions depending on which part of the audience you poll. The level of Trust can shift just by which side presents the information.

Trust and Brand are situation specific

Either side, with privileged information, might have an advantage over the other. New information can reverse the situation. Sometimes the data can overlap. Whatever the truth may be, when the populace is divided and polarized the two sides will both claim victory and cite their perception of brand as righteous.

Even when one side is forced to retract their actions they will continue to claim their deeds were justified. Look at the comments that followed a judge’s ruling that the children of families seeking asylum here in the USA had to be returned to their parents.

Even the Trump oriented news organizations rightfully called it a backlash. What they aren’t mentioning is the backlash about treating asylum seekers as criminals. The most descriptive phrase for that is “anti-American.”

Trust and Brand are social or relational constructs.

That means that win or lose you have to play the game. If one side or the other refuse to engage the game is over. Only one brand will continue. If one side does not stand up for what it believes the other will slowly become dominant. Both sides need to be heard. Both need to listen. And both need to consider their actions as well as their words.

Trump advocates continue to say, “He’s doing what he said he would do.” That is true. How he is doing it is another matter. That is not going unnoticed. His loyalty to long term associates is being called into question now daily. Breeches of long-term American values are being noticed by everyone.

Getting to Trust and Brand is based on maintaining certain attributes over time.

The most important part of those components is credibility. People have to believe that your word is your bond. They want to believe they can believe you. To establish credibility you have to be real. you have to be trustworthy. And you need to be the same over time.

But being those things are dependent on how the audience perceives you. Right now, there are friends and neighbors of yours that will say that the current man in office meets all these qualifications. He is authentic. There are few if any like him. But he is not consistent. He is anything but. And when it comes to integrity, I would rather be his enemy than his friend. In short, I cannot trust him and for me that generates a negative brand.

Trust generates positive Brand.

You will have a Brand whether you want one or not.

A negative Brand will spawn terrorists that will do everything in their power to bring you and your organization/government/business down.

Yes, you can have a positive Brand and that will pay you dividends.

Positive Brand advocates will stay with you through the tough times refusing to buy in to another product or service or ideology. They will stay with you until you can match or beat the opposition as long as you don’t betray their Trust.

What is your stand on Trust and Brand?


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

 

Your Brand is Trump

Charlie asked me to write a letter.

He purchased a list of high wealth individuals in the suburbs near his office. He has about 50+ years experience in wealth management. He no longer sells, trades, manages or otherwise represents clients in investing matters.

These days he keeps his hand in by providing second opinions. He can give you a true cost analysis of your investing plan and can tell you who you can trust.

The sample letters he passed along were atrocious. They were supplied along with the list and were all about selling products like annuities and combining funds into IRAs and consolidating everything with one broker. Little if any of the information provided was really what prospects wanted to see. I proposed a series of letters or notes that centered on the concerns of the prospect rather than products.

Stop selling, listen and start taking orders. Too often financial professionals get wrapped up in showing us their deck of cards. They forget that we want to know that we can win with their help. When they stop selling, listen and provide the assurances we need we begin asking them to purchase for us.

Your Brand is not based on the products you offer. I’ve watched certified financial planners change organizations they work with regularly to get better commission rates. It is infrequent that they change to get a better deal for clients. (but that does happen with the best of the lot.)

Your Brand trumps all the products.

  • If the prospect thinks that you know your stuff, your brand is trump.
  • If the prospect feels comfortable working with you, your brand is trump
  • And, if the prospect believes that he/she can trust you, your brand is trump.

Your Brand is the questions you ask. Chuck’s questions, which we put into an ad for the city symphony program are like these:

  • Are you really set for life?
  • Will your retirement be a walk in the park or a long slog into the sunset?
  • How much is your financial adviser costing you?

Your Brand is the answers you give. Being set for life depends on how long you live. In today’s world that could be longer than you think. Staying healthy makes a crucial difference in what you can afford for that last mile. Too often, your planner gets a commission continually buying and selling charging fees each time. Charlie gets no commissions, no payments out of your principal. He charges a fixed fee for his review.

It all comes down to integrity. You’ve got to have it to get to trust. Trust is the trump card and Trust is the outcome of 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

Agree to Disagree

My daughter and I agreed to disagree.

Neither of us felt that risking our relationship was worth going for a singular opinion.

In part, it was the topic. We ranged over the efficacy of firing non-performers in what she calls “the private sector” versus how difficult it is to fire a government employee to the protections for women provided by working for a government particularly in the Pentagon.

We skated into a debate on monetary policy as well. I contended that the political view I preferred was fiscally conservative while socially liberal even though the combination currently does not exist.

Her view was that the USA had been bailed out of a deep recession by a strategy totally at odds with all the historic conservative approaches. She pointed out that it was liberal over the top.

I had to concede her point even though I still believe the bankers responsible should somehow pay for their misdeeds.

Will that ever happen? I doubt it. However, I still hold hope that our gutted Department of State will be resurrected. She pointed out that Congress could help that by pulling some of the funds awarded the military and putting them into diplomacy instead of supporting chest thumping.

Neither of us think Congress has the cajones for that. It would take a commitment similar to that required to fire a government employee. She tells me that the paperwork involved quells most interest in that solution. Instead, employees are advised that their position is being phased out and they should look for a new position. They are not required to meet any requirements during that process and are paid even though in some cases the office or cube they worked in no longer is available.

And they wonder why civilians detest them!

The flip side of that is the protection afforded the employee. You can’t lose your job just because the boss doesn’t like your looks, attitude, etc. You can only be fired for cause and the paperwork, warnings, and legal wrangles mitigate against speedy dispatches. As a manager in private companies less complicated requirements still made my blood boil.

I’m a little old fashioned that way. In my view, you should get to keep your job if you do it. If you don’t, I don’t think it is your right to claim payment. If you are holding back the productivity of a team or group I think you should be replaced.

Should you be dispatched without a warning? No.

Should you be tossed aside if you are ill or hurting? No.

Should you be given a chance to meet the mark? Yes.

Should all the exchanges be covered with paperwork? I suppose.

Would I change that paperwork? Yes. 

I believe that we should borrow an idea from organized labor. The person being fired should have a representative—one that is not aligned with management.  I agree with my daughter, that is particularly important if it is a woman in the crosshairs.

 What do you think?


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

 

Raise Memorability of Your Personal Brand

The word lever was absorbed into English from the Old French levier. In essence it refers to making something light by raising it in a specific manner.

You can raise the memorability of your personal brand at three times in your life:

  • When you launch
  • When you are building your business or your career
  • When you’re established

Let’s take each in turn.

When you launch. Our first rockets had gyroscopes in them built by Honeywell. They were the size of softballs and were specified to be able to correct the lean of the rocket on the launching pad up to 10 degrees. The engineers built them to specification but because of extraordinary care added miniscule improvements which gave the gyros greater resilience than anticipated. The rocket made it into space. The gyros had worked even though the lean exceeded 13 degrees

Small, well-focused actions can produce significant enduring improvements. The elements of vision can engender incremental improvements just like that.

Your vision should include these elements (courtesy of Cascade Software www.executivestrategy.net )

  1. Output No matter what you do the output is the effect it has on customers or clients. For Example: A bakery makes bread, pies and cakes but the outcome is customers enjoying those goodies.
  1. A Unique Twist Define that Unique twist which you (or your organization) bring to that outcome. Express that different approach, the something that will make you (and your staff) successful where others have failed. Returning to our example: Because we only use premium grade locally sourced ingredients.
  1. Quantification Find a way to let folks know what you are talking about in terms of who you are trying to impact. Make it a little more down to earth and easier to visualize. Back to our example: Every customer within walking distance of the store.
  1. Human Connection Add a human “real world aspect. Help people conjure up a sloid mental image. The more tangible you can make it the better. In the example: Ensure that every customer who leaves our store does so smiling.

What is your vision statement?

Our wordsmithed example would be: Producing and selling locally sourced bread, pies and cakes that are so delicious and satisfying that every customer that leaves our store does so with a smile.

 

On the way up Whether you operate solo, have a partner, add staff as an entrepreneur or within an organization as a manager you need to have a mission that can be shared with your familiars. They need to understand what drives you.

        “People don’t buy what you do. They buy why you do it.”
Simon Sinek

Here’s the worksheet some of my clients have described as “fiendish.” But it works. Give it a try.

  1. What—what one or two words describes what you or your business do in terms of what you deliver? Example: Delivery (for a package service)
  1. How—add one word that says how you provide it. In our example: Overnight which gives us Overnight delivery
  1. Where—Tell people where you provide the service or product in just a few words. Back to the example: in the USA which adds up to Overnight delivery in the USA.
  1. Who—Tell me who it is for. Be brief but paint a picture with one or two words.In the example we might say: for businesses hence Overnight delivery for businesses in the USA.
  1. When—In a word or two, tell us the need use or occasion that helps make your offering special. Example: on a deadline yielding Overnight delivery In the USA for businesses on a deadline.

Given all those answers, Why is it you do what you do? What is the reason you and your team get up each morning?

What is your Mission Statement?

Our example, if you haven’t guessed, is Federal Express when the mission was; Package delivery in the USA when it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight.

 

In Orbit

You might think that once you’re established that you can rest on your laurels.

You can’t.

Now is the time to truly make a difference. If you have lived up to your vision and your mission you will have made some contributions to the knowledge in your area(s) of expertise. You will have been at times a contrarian and a cheerleader. Look back at those considerations.

Now look forward. Will the approaches you championed hold up into the future? Have you assured that your knowledge is available to others? Have you shown them how to put it under the microscope?

Here’s a brief checklist of actions you should consider for this part of your Brand journey:

 

  • Mentor someone in my organization or the industry
  • Speak on controversial subjects in print, on-line and in-person
  • Back your opinions up with facts (especially when the facts point a different direction) and don’t be afraid to reveal your process.
  • Ask others, especially those younger, their opinions and listen.
  • Learn the tricks of futurists and practice them.

What’s on your list?


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

Your Customer Service is Your Brand

Brand is an expression of Trust.

That means that every contact you or your organization have with an individual can impact how much they trust you and just what they think feel and believe about your brand.

A recent experience with a company demonstrates how to screw this up:

If you are a senior they offer a wonderful service.

They are there when you’ve fallen and can’t get up.

They are there when you need to get to the emergency room now.

You would think they would be there for the relatives after a loved one passes on.

Wrong!

First they call and demand the equipment. Then they dictate how you are going to return it.

Yes, they will have UPS pick it up at no charge.

No, it does not have to be returned from the address of the user. Your business, your home or a neighbor is acceptable as a pick-up point.

Maybe you could leave it on the porch if you can’t be there.

You can’t get a prepaid label sent to you so you can take the equipment to a UPS Store on your own schedule. Explaining that you are in another state 2200 miles away from the equipment and not available to wait for a driver to get around to you does no good.

You must take time out of a wall-to-wall schedule when you are in Mom’s home town because sending you a prepaid label to take to a UPS store “can’t be done.”

Never mind that you’re grieving. You must to do it their way.

I won’t be held hostage by having to wait for an unscheduled pickup.

I won’t accept responsibility or liability for goods left on a porch at their direction.

I will cooperate with a customer service person who listens and tells me the truth. (So far, I’ve spoken to at four and my situation is off their scripts and it is obvious that management has no Trust in their staff.)

I’m done, except for a letter to the Chairman and CEO of the organization.

My letter will detail the multiple telephone discussions and refusals to listen. More importantly I will reiterate some points I’ve made on platforms across the country.

  • Your brand is an expression of Trust.
  • Your brand is a reflection of all the trust points in your organization.
  • Your brand strength requires Trust in yourself, Trust in your company, Trust in your employees, and Trust in your customers.
  • Your brand is the sum-total of all those points of trust. If they diminish your organization will wane and die.

____________________________________________________________________

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

 

 

 

Your Personal Brand as a Eulogy

I hadn’t intended to be there.

My daughter and I had agreed to fly in for weekend meeting with Mom to make sure we were handling her finances as she wished as she moved to long term care. We wound up at Mom’s funeral.

There was a small turnout.

Some family, a few from the neighborhood but the greatest attendance was the ladies of the sewing circle. They are a group of women that sew quilts for infants and children at the local Children’s hospital. Mom was a founder of the group and a member for 55 years.

Kelly, my daughter, led off.

She began the eulogizing by telling us how her Grandma responded when she had told her that she could only visit once a month. Mom just looked over her glasses and said, “Honey, you’ve got a life and a career out there in D.C. That’s where you need to be.”

What single word describes you?

The minister asked the crowd to describe Mom in a word or two. The ones that stuck with me are: Feisty, Kind, Ornery, Caring, Live Wire, Listener, Direct, Open

In every case, the initial zinger was followed with a modifier: Feisty but Kind, Ornery but Caring, Live wire but willing to Listen, Always Direct but Open to other views.

What my feisty Mom taught me about building a brand.

  • Speak your mind…gently. You need to have opinions and you need to voice them. But even if you differ from everyone around you, your manner can be respectful. And it is okay to change your mind if it makes sense to do so.
  • To challenge social stupidity, ping pong ‘em. Find a partner that shares your viewpoint preferably for different reasons. Team up and come at the numbskulls from two directions. Use both emotion and logic to argue your case. Stay with it until you win.
  • Walk your talk. Though she spent most of her life as a homemaker, Mom thought women should be independent. She may have been the neighborhood, “cookie lady” but she could and did lead the charge for social changes she believed in. She lived alone after Dad died until she was 95. She surprised her sewing circle members by purchasing a new car when she was 94!

You can be frank and beloved.

You can’t convince or persuade if you are inconsistent. You can’t be seen as on top of it if you aren’t. You can’t build lasting relationships if you don’t really care.

You can be feisty but gentle. You can be a little ornery if you soften it by caring. You can be the live wire of the group but also be the one that gets even the most reticent involved.

Your personal brand is the considered perception of you and all your actions.

What are the words they will use in your eulogy?


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry 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 and Charisma

Either you’ve got it or you don’t is not true.

Anyone can be more charismatic and anyone can build their personal brand by doing so. The question is: Are you willing to pay the price?

The price may be a shift in your emotional quotient (EQ) because charisma is judged by observers, not you. You may have to change the way you present yourself to the world… all the time.

Behavior dictates how you are judged.

As Shakespeare said:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;”

Your audience, whether you are a speaker, manager, politician or a member of the C-suite, instantly makes decisions about whether or not they can devote themselves to you and your vision. Instantly.

They look at:

  • Your movements and stance—if you appear open and move with sureness you will be seen as charismatic.
  • Your confidence—research indicates that if you are perceived initially as having confidence, that perception will not change over time for the viewer who will see you as charismatic.
  • How you present your ideas—using emotionally powerful stories and images that reach into the psyche of your audience makes you charismatic.
  • Your focus—when you are engaged with an individual or a group you are absorbed in them. Nothing breaks that concentration. And you will be seen as charismatic.
  • Your competence and friendliness—which they are judging from an emotional intuitive basis rather than using their logical faculties. Check your charisma score on these tow elements here

Trump is an example.

In his book Charisma in Politics, Religion and the Media, David Aberbach delineates historical pivot points that occurred due to charismatic leaders. He contends that charismatic leaders release the individual of the pressures of life under stress. They seek protection in a group. When individuals feel vulnerable there is a possibility of a charismatic attachment. This can be very dangerous in certain circumstances.

So was Hitler

Charisma can be used for good or for demagoguery. Hitler employed his power to give people a target of hatred, which gave those who felt broken their own sense of superiority.

Is Trump, like Hitler, targeting a group for hatred?

Why does he continually say, “No amnesty and no citizenship.” Why is he trying to destroy NAFTA?  Why are immigration cops being allowed to operate like Hitler’s Brown Shirts? This is not the the kind of positive charisma and leadership displayed by Franklin Roosevelt, Ghandi and Nimitz.

Use your charisma for good and stay tuned.


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry 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

Brand Video Hacks

Video is not a magic tonic for a brand.

Yes, it is powerful when used properly.

Yes, it can put an emotional stamp on what you’re selling.

Yes, it will deepen your product or service identification.

Video only works to brand when it is consistent.

Keep your visuals, verbals and vision as much the same as you can regardless of where in the sales funnel the video will be used. Your initial video should obviously be the same message as the landing page and the one on the website. Yes they can have variations but since we know we are dealing with limited attention spans, consistency and repetition are essential to build your brand.

The eyes have it.

The secret to powerful testimonials and any presentation on video, no matter what level of equipment you are recording with is being able to see the eyes of the presenter. They should be looking directly at you. My way of getting that to happen is to speak to the person on video from just next to the camera. In looking past the camera at me they give the impression they are looking directly at the viewer.

A tip of the hat to a video of Michael Caine teaching a master’s acting class for that tidbit.

Be careful to avoid shadowy eyes. Seating the subject in the light from a window will give them a healthy and flattering glow.

Seeing the eyes builds trust. It is that simple. Ever notice that meetings that use jumbotron projectors with operators that concentrate on capturing the presenter’s upper body and face provide a deeper confidence in the speaker and the message?

You also see with your ears.

We’ve grown up on audio that just keeps getting better and better. Our expectations are for a full rich sound on a video. You can’t get that recording in a sound swamp. Nor can you get great sound without putting a microphone in close proximity to the presenter.

You can get an adapter for your smart phone or DSL camera that will increase the capability immensely. Or, you can take a note from my playbook and get yourself a video camera that is ported for a microphone. My sound set up uses a lavaliere microphone remoted to a unit that pipes the sound straight into the recorder.

The key here is that you can improve your video quality significantly for less than a hundred bucks!

Steady as she goes.

One last simple but impressive hack.

Use a tripod.

There is nothing worse than trying to understand a video shot hand-held. Yes, the Blair Witch Project was shot hand held. It helped give it that quirky look. Thing is, when you’re pitching yourself, your product or your service you don’t want quirky. You want steady, sure, comfortable.


Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry 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

 

Is Your Brand Singular?

UniqueAre you:

  • Focused
  • Unique
  • New
  • First
  • Defining

Successful brands are at least one of those.

Focused

The problem with most entrepreneurs is that in their rush to please customers they keep adding products or services and confuse people. Big companies are notorious for making this mistake. Automobile companies may be the best example of the worst behavior. Can you even begin to name the cars that Chevrolet manufactures today?

However, if you stick to one thing, then people identify you with that singular product or service or category. Examples: Starbucks, H&R Block, Subway.

Unique

There is only one Alan Weiss or Taylor Swift, or, for that matter, you. There is something unique in every individual. What is it about you that identifies you in other’s minds? One of my clients, a management Consultant is known for his ability to bring clarity to leadership of mid-size companies. He is known as “the Defogger.” Another is branded by her ability to help you see the psychological reasons you get tangled up in with managing money. When it comes to money knots, she is known as “the Untangler.”

If you are a professional or consultant your brand is a mixture of your skill set, your personality and how well you succeed in getting to trust. Ask your clients or patients or customers how you are different in their eyes. Use what you find out to let new connections have a better picture of you in their minds.

New

Brand spanking new, never seen before is not common. More often, yours is a new entry in an existing category. Every Salon that opens is new to the neighborhood but not to the category. Every young man or woman that passes the bar is a new lawyer but does not yet have a brand. Just because you are certified as one kind of professional or another doesn’t mean you have cachet. It may take years.

New is easier with products or services or even how people pay for your services. A former client (WingVentures) trained people to become pilots. The standard pricing in the industry is an hourly rate payment for the instructor plus an hourly rate payment for the aircraft plus the fuel cost for the aircraft each time you take a lesson. When he offered an all-inclusive price to go from novice to a pilot’s license he was not sure it would work until the first time he tried it and the client handed him a check for the full amount. The new approach netted him executive clients from not only his local area but from across the USA and Europe.

First

Don’t confuse being first with being first, ever. You can be first in your geographic area, first in your category or first to jump from one prospect audience to another.

Being first ever means you have to have a completely new product or product implementation. For example, false fingernails have been around since ancient times but Acrylic finger nails were invented in 1954. Fred Slack, a dentist, broke his fingernail at work, and created an artificial nail as a realistic-looking temporary replacement. After experiments with different materials to perfect his invention, he and his brother, Tom, patented a successful version and started the company Patti Nails.

Today, acrylic nails come in do-it-yourself kits. Professionals continue to offer them along with other kinds of false nails.

You will definitely not be the first to offer false nails but you could be the first to offer your own designs in your neighborhood.

You could be first to offer the service in the local barber shop with special nail designs just for men. Just thinking.

Defining

Sometimes a brand becomes the definition of product or service. Ever ask for a Kleenex or a Xerox? Ever specify a brand because they own the word that defines the solution to your problem? For instance, if it absolutely positively has to be there overnight you would probably call FedEx. Have a small cut? Sounds to me like you need a BandAid.

Remember my client the flight instructor? He offered Executive Flight Training. We oriented all discussion of the service and ancillary services to busy executives that wanted to get licensed on their schedule. There was a Private Pilot’s package, an Instrument Rating package and even a Jet Transition package. We even put together special deals for lodging for out of towners to come in for up to 21 days of training.

You can define your Brand with a word. It is best if it is a name but just hooking your brand to a specific word in the prospect’s mind can make you singular.


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