Brand is Trust, Not Just Celebrity

Brand betrayed

Why is it that so many folks want to be famous? Why do they crave celebrity? Why do they chase after the figment of Personal Brand?

Blinders.

Counterfeits have been around since the first Brand evolved. Fakes follow in the footsteps of innovators today as they have down the centuries. But even those are more acceptable than the so-called Personal Brand.

Some people believe that hype can replace product or service development. They believe in faking it until you make it. They believe that fame is all there is to brand.

They can’t see the problem of living a lie. They are victims of an over-active imagination that overlooks the key element of Brand: Trust in a product or service delivered.

Brand, initially.

In the beginning, in the really old west (the Middle East) the term brand stood for a symbol burned into the hide of critter owned by a particular person. It was used on slaves as well as animals. Later it was burned into wooden packaging like barrels.

The symbol itself became a roughshod form of a trade mark. That’s how this whole brand thing got started. It was a way to show who owned something.

Maker’s mark

A Trademark was and is a symbol cut or etched, printed or woven into an object made by an artisan. Today, it may appear on or be part of the packaging of an object or idea. You’ll find them on ceramics, glass, metal work, furniture, food and sundries, you name it. Always it is a way to identify the work of an individual, a group or organization. It identifies products for sale.

It crosses all cultures. The Chinese used to call it a Chop. Americans call them Trademarks and Service Marks and they are legally registered. Independent professionals from early civilizations to yesterday across the world, used such symbols for signs and on the seals of documents when that was a “thing.” It was a way to have a coat of arms much like the nobles served.

Brand evolved

Brand became important to makers, buyers and the merchants that connected them. It celebrated the esteem of the buyer for the maker providing a real mark of the quality conveyed.  It simplified the contract between merchant and buyer by presenting the buyer with a known proof of the quality of the item. It gave the merchant confidence when trading for the goods that they were the “real thing.” The merchant enjoyed greater credibility with the buyer because of this simple device.

At the heart of all that social interaction was Trust. It was trust for a product made by a person who took pride in their work and applied a mark to witness that pride. It was a symbol of trust between maker, merchant and buyer.

Personal Brand seekers suffer from not having that pride. They, in most cases, do not craft goods or services. Instead, they concentrate on their image. Sooner or later the deception will catch up with them.

When that happens, it ain’t pretty.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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 Building Trust With Strangers

Brand is an expression of Trust (video).

Think about how many profiles you have on line. If you are like most business people you have one on Linked In. Most of us average six that we can remember! Profiles sum up who you are, your education your experience and may include some references from satisfied customers.

What you do

All those profiles have one thing in common. They are about what you do. They give your title and your position and what the company is all about. They answer the question, “What do you do?” in all kinds of ways to make you look credible, honest and trustworthy.

Times have changed

When we lived in villages you and your product or service would be well known in the local community. A very few managed to build a reputation that reached the next village. Usually that was because of the excellence of the product. The smith made superior knives. The weaver had patterns not seen elsewhere. Seldom, if ever did those reputable products get sold in other countries.

Trade needs governance and finance

The further afield people went to trade goods the more risk all of them took on. Think of the ships of Venice sailing off laden with goods purchased by the merchant princes to sell in other ports hoping to fill their ships for the return voyage with the wares available there. They were still practicing business one to one. But the folks that stocked their ship on both ends needed a way to be sure they got a fair price for their goods.

Banks became the middlemen. They loaned money to the merchant traders to buy the goods on the promise of being repaid. They evaluated each loan much as they do today…on the basis of trust.

What is your credit score?

The single most important evaluation for getting a loan in today’s world is your credit score. This is data captured by three different services reflects your behavior over time in terms of repayment of debt. It includes auto payments, credit cards, mortgages, etc. The assumption is that you will treat new debt as you have treated it in the past.

The problem is that there are other factors that go into a loan’s risk assessment. They also look at your income stream. Independent professionals get clobbered here. A consultant friend with credit scores at the high end of the scale has income that fluctuates. Even though he owns 6 rental homes and has never been late on any of those mortgages, the bank won’t loan him money to purchase another rental.

What is your Trust Score?

There is no widely accepted service for this but have you looked at what people have to say about you or your product or service on-line? You are reviewed and rated by the services you use. Your product or service is rated whether you like it or not.

Trooly, acquired by Airbnb in 2017 could provide a staggering array of information from on-line sources to rate your trustworthiness. All they needed was your first and last name to mine the rich wealth of digital data available on just about anyone.

Trusting a perfect stranger

Today, we need to trust strangers because we do business on-line. We assume a trusting nature but need to look hard at the reviews and ratings before we digitally plunk down our money. There are apps becoming available to help us.

Tala, developed as an app for smartphones allows this new idea of micro-banking to work in developing countries by evaluating the loan requestor based on the data on their phone. Items like:

  • Current spending
  • Consistency in income
  • Size of their network
  • Length of calls (over 4 minutes indicates stronger relationships)
  • Regular connections to more than 58 contacts
  • First and last names in contact list (more than 40 suggests the person is 16 times more reliable)

The net effect is that they don’t need a credit score to determine if someone is trustworthy.

Then there is the promise of Blockchain Technology.

That is on tap for next week.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

Personal Brand: To Be Remembered

We are tribal.

Family. Extended family. Clan. Others who have married in.

Each of us, at our core, wants one thing: To Be Remembered.

Whether we get there via fame or infamy, we care not. For some is it is good enough just to be recognized by the clan. Others need the affirmation and admiration of a larger group. I suspect it is in their genes.

No matter the reason, we now have the techno gee-whiz abilities of the internet to boost our “personal brand.”

But that technology comes at a cost. To be truly, deeply remembered you still must engage in person with other human beings.

  • Your blog won’t get you there.
  • Your attempts to go viral on YouTube won’t get you there.
  • All the picture posts and notes on FaceBook will not get you there.

Your fond hope of having new visitors to the mummified digital files you leave behind is probably not going to happen. As much as the internet provides quick easy access to a lot more people, there is no connection in that connection.

Connection

In 20 years of investigating and speaking on social networking I’ve found that the road to brand runs through the junction of connection to Trust. Meeting a host of people, we find just a few that we want to continue the dialogue with. They are the ones we find interesting as potential customers or referral sources and some that are just fascinating in and of themselves.

Fascination

That attraction doesn’t always go both ways. It can but it is not required. For them to find you spell-binding, you may have to work at it. You may consider gilding the lily, spiffing up your personal brand by trying to appear as something you are not.

Not a good idea.

Engagement

You are better off being yourself and letting them know you are interested by asking questions to learn more about them. Engage them in conversation instead of doing that “elevator pitch” commercial.

Ask them:

  • How did you come to be in this business?
  • If you weren’t doing this what would you do?
  • Business is only part of life, what do you do for fun?

Trust

If they return the interest you are on the highway to Trust and a real “personal brand.” But you have to stay on the high road. On line and in person you shouldn’t try to enhance your value. Be who you are. Stick with honest, consistent information. That might change a little over time with education and experience but at the core you need to stay the same.

What’s at your core?


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

 

Trust in Brand and Business Today

Two Measures of Trust
It is the time of year when two different organization publish the results of their research on Trust:

  • The Edelman Trust Barometer
  • Reader’s Digest Trusted Brand Survey

And if you’re googling the topic you may see The Alignable Most Trusted Small Business Brands where only 3 of the top 20 are not digital products but do rely heavily on digital implementation.

An International Look
Edelman has been doing and annual survey since 2000. Each year they query thousands of people around the world regarding the level of trust they have in NGOs, Government, Business and Media.

The study this year, conducted primarily on line, encompassed 28 countries and included 33,000+ respondents.

The polarization of Trust noted in 2017 is not abating.

  • 20 of 28 markets now distrust their institutions
  • Institutional Trust dropped 37 points year to year in the USA
  • In the US, government is considered the “most broken”
  • Worldwide, nearly 7 in 10 worry about false information or fake news being used as a weapon
  • Trust in media platforms continues to decline while trust in journalism has rebounded

Voices of Authority
One bright note is that people perceived to be authorities are regaining their credibility. “People like me” which for a time led the way have plummeted in the rankings. (my guess it that fake information and fake news is taking its toll and that reviews that are inaccurate are steadily undermining them).

Those with Trust Rankings over 50% in order now are: Technical Expert, Academic Expert, Financial Industry Analyst, Successful Entrepreneur.

The survey makes it clear that business is expected to lead the way back to trust.  Borrowing a phrase from Ford, For CEOs Trust is job one. The key mandates for business are:

  • Safeguard Privacy
  • Drive Economic Prosperity
  • Provide jobs and training

Trusted Brands
The brands we trust in the USA are surveyed by all sorts of organizations annually. There are reports on just about any category you can think of.  I like the Reader’s Digest study because it is a pleasant walk through the average American household and you learn a little about where the product originated. Here is a bakers dozen from this year:

  1. Weber Grills
  2. Nestle Bottled Water
  3. Tylenol
  4. Kellogg’ Cereals
  5. Silk (Milk alternatives)
  6. Tetley Tea
  7. Clif Nutrition Bars
  8. Coppertone
  9. Purina pet food
  10. Lysol
  11. Toyota
  12. Scotts lawn care
  13. Nike

Who do you trust?


Jerry Fletcher, Networking Ninja,
is a sought after International Speaker,
beBee ambassador, founder and Brand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

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

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

 

Networks = Net Worth

New World of NetworkingOnce your net worth was a single network.

No more.

Now it is up to three with another on the way.

New world of NetworkingYes, there are overlaps, but each is distinct in how it contributes to your life.

Personal Network

These are people close to you.

These are the people in your inner circle.

These are the people you want to stay connected to no matter what.

It starts with family. Add friends of long standing, trusted advisors, all the men and women you count on to tell you the truth and make life more worth living.

Their worth to you can’t be accounted in dollars and cents. These are the people that ‘get” you, ones that have your back and are there for you, no matter what.

Social Network

Formerly, this was the domain of clubs, membership organizations and volunteer groups. It still is, but the opportunities have exploded due to the internet. You can be friended for any reason or none at all. There’s a group for every interest. Can’t find one that suits you? Start one of your own.

People seldom move from the Social Network to the personal but it is not unknown. Men and women try out dating sites. Some wind up getting married. People write articles and viewpoint posts in beBee hives, agree to meet in person and SHAZAM! their relationship ratchets up.

The worth?

  • Finding your mate is a value most of us seek assiduously.
  • Establishing an intellectual relationship is never easy. The net of the Social Network is that it allows you to do so faster.
  • All of us profit from sharing with like minds. Here we can be sure that we are not alone and that we do, indeed, have a “tribe.”

Business Network

Customer or clients, referral sources, folks you can refer and specialists you recommend without reservation fall into this category.

Every business must, in the beginning, rely on networking to raise capital, make a sale or just be allowed to make a presentation. If your business is product based, sales determine whether the company lives or dies. Service company? Long term your reputation will determine your fate. And as you become better known, others will ask your opinion about the folks that help you build your business, the advisors you listen to and the professionals you would use to solve a specific problem.

Dollars and Cents Net Worth

If you keep track you can chart a profit or loss to the relationships. You meet someone at a networking event, hit it off and soon you find that you are working with them. You note the income and the profit. That client/customer refers a friend who declines but suggests you talk to his mastermind group. You do and find yourself with two new clients. The income and profit from them can be attributed to that chance meeting but too often we don’t track this sort of thing.

Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to track of those contacts, the results they produce and repeat them. If you’d like to learn how, e-mail me and ask about Nonstop Referrals TM.

Block Chain Network

Technology refuses to stand still. This is the “leapfrog” technology in networking in my view. It was originally developed to make cryptocurrencies like bit coin possible. Block chain technology gives internet users the ability to create value and authenticate digital information with greater security than ever before by distributing the files to multiple computers.

What is the payoff?

What new business applications will result? Those distributed ledgers enable the coding of simple contracts that will execute when specified conditions are met. Imagine how that would work if you are wanting to be sure your intellectual property is secured and can’t be copied if you want to share it or sell it. Think about how your profile can only be changed by you. Consider another level of security to any digital network you involve yourself in. It is well worth watching for the new networking capabilities that are sure to come.

Stay Tuned.


Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

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

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

 

Build Brand Not Melange

Your ability to deliver a solution as a consultant or professional changes over time. It becomes more complex and nuanced.

At least it should if you get better at what you do.

Does that mean your brand should change?

Yes. And no.

Yes.

  • Yes, you need to make sure your prospects are aware of your increasing abilities.
  • Yes, you need to give them specifics of how you are now more qualified.
  • Yes, the why of your decisions needs to be shared.

No.

  • No, your basic brand positioning should not change.
  • No, the brand perception you deliver should not shift.
  • No, add capabilities, not products.
  • No, you’re after brand strengthening not extension.

My letterhead carries this positioning statement: Trust-based strategies that build businesses, careers, and lives of joy on and offline.

Here is how that statement evolved:

Circa 1990: Marketing strategies that build business.

I know that is a bit like a pickle label but over the years the basics haven’t really changed that much. As I began speaking as the Networking NInja it shifted to:

Early 90’s: Business development strategies that build businesses, careers and lives of joy.

That’s because people began using the things I taught to change their approach to their careers or used that knowledge to find their “someone special.” The additions came from conversations with folks that wanted me to know the impact I had on their lives.

Then came the era of every business acquiring a website. Never one to pass up an opportunity…

Somewhere around 1995 it became: Websites that make rain & business strategies that build businesses, careers and lives of joy.

That’s when I discovered what I now call 30-Second Marketing. I’d stand up in a meeting and say: “We build websites that make rain” and sit down. Three to five people would ask to talk to me afterwards. I closed 60% regularly.

My promise to them was this, “we will build you a web site where you can change every word and picture by yourself. We will, however do everything in our power to keep you from messing up the navigation.

Websites that make rain was eliminated from the positioning statement about 1998. I still provide strategic direction, copy and suggested visuals for web sites. (Yes, I’ll recommend how to bring yours into the current world. E-mail a request and we’ll talk.)

It looked like CRM (Contact Relationship Management) was going to be the next big thing. I jumped in with both feet and actually got licensed by some early providers. The trouble with CRM was and is that it complicates a very necessary capability and asks salespeople to be clerks.

2000 or thereabouts:  Trust Based Strategies that build businesses, careers and lives of joy.

Those of you that know me well know that I consider Trust the linch-pin of all successful marketing. This video puts it in perspective:

I shifted gears and very quickly moved into how to use the new digital technologies to automate marketing. Those early days of kludging auto-responders to information sites to stores to you name it were like the wild west.

But it gave me the last few words to put into the position:

Just after 2010: Trust-based strategies that build businesses, careers, and lives of joy… on and offline.

I’ve never shied away from the fact that I offer strategies to build businesses. My skills in Networking over laid the skills developed to become the CEO of an ad agency. The ability to acquire and sell web-development  skills added early adopter capabilities that translated to CRM and on-line marketing. Ongoing research into the psychology of Marketing and Sales led to the comprehension of Trust as the key factor throughout.

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

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

 

 

 

 

Brand is a Conversation. Are You Listening?

IntroductionLess is less.

John said, “make it short and sweet. Copy these days…almost any information needs to be bullet points. Everything has to be quick because people don’t have time for a lot.”

Early that afternoon I was meeting with a client’s web jockey. He was complaining about the length of callout copy below the fold on a home page saying, “It doesn’t meet my criteria for a lead page. “

Later I got an e-mail introduction from someone that evidently had sipped the same Kool-aid. Here’s what it said:

“Promised I would introduce you to Joan. Her e-mail is above.”

The clue phone started ringing. I realized that a lot of us keep buying the idea that our words need to be shorter, more compact and more scannable. But the impact of that idea on building a brand is toxic.

Brand development is about building a relationship, establishing mutual trust and letting that trust guide your behavior.

Every time it is tested, long copy beats short copy for building effective communication. So why don’t we start using the amount of words it takes to get the point across?

What is the best way to introduce someone?

  • In person
  • Via online conference video (like skype)
  • Via telephone conference call
  • Via e-mail

Regardless of what method you use certain things need to be conveyed based on your knowledge of the personal brand of each of the individuals.

Introductions should include:

  • How you know each individual
  • What they do for a living
  • Something they may have in common
  • How they might be helpful to one another
  • A glimpse into your personal relationship

Here’s how that sounds:

“I met Jerry when we were working on the same chamber of commerce committee at least 10 years ago. He did some things for that committee that changed how the whole chamber got attendance up. That’s because he’s a very sharp marketing guy. He’s been consulting for at least 25 years. He’s helped a lot of companies including mine.

I know he spent some time at Harvard like you did and reads history same as you. He’s been involved with a lot of startups including software companies like yours. I told him about your beta site. He looked at it and sent me a note full of suggestions. I figured it would be a good idea to get you two together instead of just passing along his note.

If I have a question about marketing, he’s the guy I turn to like when I had to re-invent myself and my company not long ago.

Now Jerry, let me tell you a little about Ernie…”

Would you want to meet someone introduced this way?

____________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

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

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

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

Personal Brand is Who You Ain’t

Personal BrandQuite frequently your personal brand is not what you feel, think or believe in your heart of hearts. It is not your dream.

Brand is the sum total perceptions of all those people who think, feel or believe they know you. Your brand is the outcome of the trust they have in you. It is their dream, not yours.

Sometimes what you want to be is at odds with everything they know (or think they know) about you.

How do you:

  • Use what they believe about you to change their view?
  • Give them reasons to believe the difference?
  • Provide visual, verbal and implied touch experience to convince them?

How do you persuade them to believe who you ain’t?

There is an elegant example of this currently being revealed on social media. Here is the video: (Click here to view)Malkovich Video stillAs Mr. Malkovich says in the video, “I am always the figure in someone else’s dream. I would really rather sometimes make my own figures and make my own dreams”.

Personal Brand is about how you control that dream. They won’t change unless you show them a different picture of yourself. They won’t have insight into your real character until they’ve observed it. They won’t change their opinion until they experience the new you.

Details of the John Malkovich story are at www.BrandBrainTrust.com. I’m sure we’ll see Mr. Malkovich in conjunction with another film or stage play but will it be as actor, or director or costume designer? He has been all three. But now, it appears he wants us to see him as a men’s fashion designer.

This is not some stunt dreamed up by a publicity agent. It is a well-crafted high-budget brand development campaign on a good-sized budget that incorporates video, a social media campaign and a connection with a design-oriented do-it-yourself website development company.

That connection is with SquareSpace and is the first entry in their “Make Your Next Move” campaign.

According to Ad Age, David Lee, chief creative officer, Squarespace said, “The campaign is a reminder that you don’t have to settle for anything less than anything you want to do.”

Squarespace worked with JohnXHannes, a creative collective based in New York, to develop and produce the campaign. The campaign was produced by Smuggler and Flower Ave., directed by Miles Jay and photography by Zach Gold.

What is important here for you is making the commitment to be your Personal Brand.

Decide if you need to shift the way you dress or the look feel and photography of your on-line persona.

Think through how you might extend your reach among the people you want to convince with joint promotions or strategic partnerships.

Most of all, be sure the “why” of what you’re planning is something you can wear consistently until it is time, once again to make a change.

____________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

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

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

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at www.BrandBrainTrust.com

Is Brand Personal, Professional or Product?

Grand PoobahYes.  It is those three and more. You’ll find brand sorted into these groups on www.BrandBrainTrust.com:

  • Personal
  • Coach
  • Professional
  • Consultant
  • Startup
  • Product
  • Business

Those seem to cover all the permutations that displayed significant differences in my analysis of brand development and outcomes as I organized the site.

Personal Brand

Each of us has a personal brand whether we strive to do so or not. Each of us is perceived by those who know us well as having specific traits views and quirks. Folks that don’t know us as well have opinions about us based on how they come into contact with us and how important the interaction is to them.

The outcome of your search for love, a job, a new career or all three is predicated on your Personal Brand. You have one and it has a numeric value. It is called a Klout Score. When you share on social media you build your social influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score. Then, too if you are active on Twitter and Facebook you’ll have a Kred score. I’m more of a Linked In kind of guy who tweets only when I take a bus (and I never take buses) so my scores are not that great.

The point is, you can build a following and generate measurable results on-line. Google’s infinite memory adds to your perceived credibility, believability and, over time, whether you are trusted or not. But on-line is only part of how you need to change and adapt to satisfy your desire to get a better paycheck, ditch that boring routine, or just change climates.  Your Personal Brand will make or break you. Here are some books that might help:

  • Strengths Finder from Gallup (includes access code to assessment and website) Worth the price to assure that you know the talents that make you unique.
  • Stand Out by Dorie Clark subtitled: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. You may have heard about “thought leaders.” This is a road map to becoming one.
  • Reinventing You from Dorie Clark. This is a “step by step guide to defining your brand and imagining your future.” Solid advice.

Professional Brand

Lawyers, CPAs, Doctors, Dentists Naturopaths, Financial Planners, Insurance Agents, Realtors, Coaches, Consultants, Beauticians, Contractors and a slew of others make up this Brand category.

Professionals work with individuals or companies or some combination of both. Coaches tend to provide one-on-one assistance but in most cases are not required to be certified or licensed. Consultants on the other hand are often comprised of a full team that works with organizations. Professionals regardless of how they connect with clients tend to be certified or licensed. Lawyers have to pass the bar. Accountants and Insurance agents need to maintain a state certification. Financial Planners must adhere to state and federal regulations. Contractors, Beauticians and Realtors are licensed.

Networking is not the only way to develop a Professional Brand.  It can be a major part of your marketing plan. It can get you in front of potential clients but so can all these approaches:

  • Speaking (including on-line video)
  • Writing (including on-line content marketing)
  • Teaching
  • Sales Promotion
  • Direct Marketing
  • Trade Shows
  • Edutorial
  • Sales Materials
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Social Media

Professionals have more ways to influence their Brand Development than ever before.  Legal and/or cultural restrictions have been skewed nearly beyond recognition by the advent of the internet. There are law firms currently spending millions on internet advertising. There are specialists in content marketing for financial planners. How could you better reach your ideal clients?

Product Brand

Familiar. Intriguing. It’s your favorite beer, the batteries that keep on working, the heels you lust after and the perfect tech goodie. It’s the thing you’ve never touched yet feel you know intimately. Or you’ve been a customer for years and wouldn’t think of trying something else.

Product Brand comes in three flavors. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been there in startups when a Brand was born, suffered through the naming debates, bellied up when it was christened and helped get it on its way. And I’ve worked with the companies that a Product Brand can become. The three flavors I decided to keep in www.BrandBrainTrust.com are Startup, Product and Company.

If you’re an entrepreneur, all three of these classifications are ones you might want to follow. If you find yourself trying to figure out whether to put your brand budget into the company or a product or some combination we will have outcomes you can study and compare. But, if you are like most you will want to know the behind the scenes stories of products that have become more than the widget in the box.

We’ll show you how in the box thinking that makes the box bigger is a better way to go than thinking outside the box. Stay tuned. It will be worth it.

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Jerry Fletcher is the founder of www.BrandBrainTrust.com  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.

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

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