Formula for Creative Brand Marketing

.

Some advertising wag once said:

“It ain’t creative unless it sells”

But most of us are standing here on the other side of that evaluation trying to come up with something creative that will sell our brand, product, concept or service. We need a way to figure out what will convince a large enough group of folks to lay down their cash so that we can make a profit.

Building a brand that sells

You can work all the magic of words and graphics on anything but when you bring them to bear on something with a real difference they become unstoppable. A truly unique product or service is much easier to position, promote and sell.

How do you make your concept unique? How do you develop it so it inherently has the differentiation that makes it saleable? What do you need to do to make your offering singular?

Here are three things you can do that will help you innovate:

  1. Act like a child

The sad truth is that our education, though not designed to do so, removes the marvelous questioning and experimentation that we have as primary behaviors when we are children. Do you recall losing track of time as you delved into some simple thing? Have you ever gone back to that ‘anything is possible” set of beliefs? Therein lies one of the most powerful tools available to you.

Experiment. Get your hands dirty playing with the possibilities. Try anything and everything, the less orthodox the better. Keep track of what you find out. The insights you reach could prove valuable.

2. Make new friends

Scientific studies tell us that we are most creative when we see connections across unrelated fields. People with different ideas and perspectives can help you see those connections, questions, problems and ideas.

Network in organizations or groups that are outside your “comfort zone” to gather distinctive new thoughts. Allow those new relationships to direct your reading. Ask the questions that challenge their status quo. Apply their answers to your view of the world. Find a way to merge the two. Test the new “common wisdom.”

3. Renew industry acquaintances

Take along look at the behavior of customers, suppliers and competitors to identify how they do things. Just because it has “always been done that way” doesn’t mean it must continue unchanged.

Borrow ideas from other industries. Try them on and think through how they could change your product or service and the industry in which your firm is doing business. Play out the “what if” scenario alone or with your partners. See what might happen form an operational and an income viewpoint.

We live in a time of disruption.

Join the party.

Apply Sir Richard Branson’s mantra:

A-B-C-D Always Be Connecting the Dots

Here are some what ifs that I’ve been thinking about which you may find stimulating:

Cosmetics

What if you could use DNA testing to develop formulations for foundation makeup for women that was healthy for their skin and offer it in tones that matched their complexion by race?

Commuting

What if you had AI driven vertical take off and landing one or two passenger vehicles which you sold as a subscription service. Think about pricing. Peak and off-peak utilization. Would suburbs expand or contract? How would you control traffic particularly altitude changes in the flow?

Distribution

What if you could find a way to replace trucks as the primary physical distribution vehicles. It wasn’t so long ago that the intermodal revolution swept this industry. That change brought about containers that could be moved on the high seas, via rail, air and finally via truck.

Initially, if you had drones to carry single truckloads you might operate at specific heights above the current freeway system. But what do you do about delivery at the destination. How would existing loading docks affect your transport design? Do you have operators either in each unit or at a distance or do you use AI?

And, so it goes


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

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for 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 Name As Catch Phrase

.

Catch Phrases Round 5

Over the last month I’ve talked about Catch phrases as Slogans, Taglines and Hooks. Each of them strive to make your company, product or service more memorable, differentiate it from the competition and give prospects a reason to buy.

What if your name was a catch phrase?

What if just saying your company, product or service name could trigger those positive attributes? What if the name you chose resonates with your ideal client or customer? What if you could rise to the top of your category just by mentioning the name?

It has been done. This kind of pragmatic name can help reduce marketing costs by explaining your offer or value right in the name. Here, in no order, are some examples across multiple categories:

.

Diehard was introduced in 1967 after years of research and millions of dollars in development. It was and is America’s most innovative automotive battery — tested, proven and guaranteed to deliver across any circumstance.

What do you a call a language school in Cali, Columbia teaching English to small groups of Spanish speaking business executives:

Google apparently the name started as a joke about the amount of information the search engine could search, or a googol of information. (A googol is the number 1 followed by 100 zeros.) When founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin gave a presentation to an angel investor, they received a check made out to “Google.”

.

This organization went through multiple names, several rounds of investment, buyouts, and management shifts that make “Game of Thrones” look like a stroll in the park to become the most ubiquitous payment platform in the world.

Founded in 1997 in California, this company began as a subscription-based provider of DVDs by mail. Today, with 148 Million paid subscribers from around the world, their primary business is streaming films and TV programs including some produced in-house. There is an apocryphal story that the founder decided to start Netflix after being fined $40 at a Blockbuster store for being late to return a copy of “Apollo 13.”

The name is a combination of the words “Net” from Internet and “Flix” is a shortened version of the word flicks – a synonym for movie.

.

This example demonstrates the power of analogy and, if you follow trademark legal actions, how to end a high in the cannabis market. It hails from near Cincinnati, Ohio where I grew up, is privately held and was first sold to consumers in 1997.

.

I nearly overlooked this example. When you stop in just about daily you tend to not see the logo. Anytime Fitness is a franchise health and fitness club founded in 2002 and headquartered in Woodbury, Minnesota. Each of their gym facilities are open 24 hours a day, 365 days out of the year.

.

Before Apple resolved to call it ‘iPhone’, it considered ‘iPad’, ‘Telepod’, ‘Mobi’, and ‘Tripod’. Of course, iPad ended up being the name for Apple’s tablet PC, According to Ken Segall Advertisng lead at the time, “Apple considered calling the device ‘Telepod’ because it sounded like a futuristic twist to the word ‘telephone’.” ‘Mobi’ – a shortened version of the word ‘mobile’ was also considered.

The name ‘Tripod’ “did not win out but it did make a big impact on Apple’s original presentation and marketing for the iPhone. ‘Tripod’ stems from the iPhone being a combination phone + iPad + Internet communications device.”

You can name your company, product or service in a catchy way. Stay tuned as you begin to determine if supporters and potential buyers learn about it. Dial in to:

  • Words that describe the benefit
  • What investors call it
  • What clicks with users
  • How foreshortening and combining words get the point across
  • The understandable analogy
  • The power of a simple description
  • Keeping it simple

And so it goes


.

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

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for 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 and the Placebo Effect.

.

Go ask Alice

The lyrics to “White Rabbit” written by Grace Slick of Jefferson Airplane begin with:

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small

And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all…


When it comes to Brand that is correct as far as it goes. Spending to build or maintain a Brand will keep it on track, Cutting marketing to the bone as was done following the merger of Kraft and Heinz reduced the size of the company as well as the shares of all their Brands.

Owners and managers were counting on the placebo effect, that power of the human mind to experience what we expect. Those marketers expected their customers to continue to believe in and buy the brands even if the brands did not reach out to them.

Turns out the customers are on to that trick.

  • You can’t build or maintain share by cost-cutting.
  • You can’t keep customers if you don’t listen to them
  • You can’t convert prospects by solving old problems

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call

To succeed in building or maintaining a Brand you can’t count on where and what you’ve been. The audience is changing. The customer’s methods of evaluating your product or service are changing. The media that reaches them is changing.

Your Brand is the sum total of perceptions held by contacts, prospects and customers.

  • If you don’t keep up the conversation your Brand will weaken
  • If you don’t use social media to get close your Brand will stagnate
  • If you don’t publicize how you are disrupting the category your Brand will lose share.

Small businesses have the advantage here. You can build a stronger relationship with contacts, prospects and customers. You can personalize your communications meaningfully by going beyond using their name and knowing what it is that caused them to build a relationship with your Brand. Once that bond is reached the placebo effect will work for you. They will defer purchase of a competitive product until your similar product is available. They will become your best salesmen.

When the men on the chessboard get up
And tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow

As soon as you begin to have some success you will be accosted by marketing experts who will want to sell you their advice. Stick with the personal touch. It is the shortcut to Brand. Stick with what has been working.

Yes, you’re busy. Yes, you’re getting more business than ever before. Yes, what they say sounds good.

Take your time. Don’t make any long-term commitments. Test their advice. It is your Brand, after all.

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said

Feed your head, feed your head

The demographics of your market are changing. The psychographics of your market are changing. Find out how. Find out by getting as up close and personal as you can. Listen. Really listen to what is going on with your contacts, prospects and customers. Let them help you innovate and stimulate how you can disrupt the arena your product or service is in.

Your Brand is a living breathing entity. Remember you can influence it but you can’t control it. Complete control rests with those that think, feel and believe what is said about it. But if you don’t support it with ongoing marketing it will fade. You need to feed the way you want it perceived or it will lose its luster for fans.

The placebo effect can add to your Brand.

  • The visual appeal of your product or service can make it more desirable
  • A referral from a trusted friend or advisor creates positive expectations
  • Great reviews or testimonials build Brand prior to use by new customers

Here are all the lyrics:

White Rabbit

Jefferson Airplane

One pill makes you larger
And one pill makes you small
And the ones that mother gives you
Don’t do anything at all
Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall

And if you go chasing rabbits
And you know you’re going to fall
Tell ’em a hookah smoking caterpillar
Has given you the call
To call Alice, when she was just small

When the men on the chessboard get up
And tell you where to go
And you’ve just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Alice, I think she will know

When logic and proportion have fallen sloppy dead
And the white knight is talking backwards
And the red queen’s off with her head
Remember what the dormouse said
Feed your head, feed your head

Songwriters: GRACE WING SLICK


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

The Timid Brand

Headshot of confident senior man with frowning facial expression looking at camera, blurred background

He shambles up to you and fails to make eye contact.

In a halting voice he tells you how your comments have suddenly made it clear to him why people don’t buy from him. He explains that he never before had heard the idea that you must get to trust to get people to accept your ideas, to engage with you and to begin a relationship.

What you say matters.

I opened a speech with my story of how I learned that lesson and, well, he heard what I had to say. The foundation of brand in my view is Trust. Your brand is the sum total of what all those people who are aware of you think, feel and believe about you.

He told me that his problem was that he didn’t know how to get to trust. He told them everything he could think of about the product but they pulled back from him and the only reason why he could come up with is that something about him put them off. He believed he had to close as quickly as possible.

But first you gotta connect.

  • You gotta find a way to introduce yourself.
  • You gotta get people to listen to you
  • You gotta be able to tell them what you do
  • You gotta ask for their business
  • You gotta get to the beginning of trust.

It is difficult for an introvert.

I agreed to meet with him to help him better understand 30-Second marketing. He presented two typed pages that were supposed to tell me everything and asked that I read them instead of asking him questions. He believed I would learn more in that way.

He might have learned more that way but, I believe most people would rather have a conversation than read someone’s idea of their defining information carefully pushed through a word processor, spell checked and edited, unintentionally, to obscure the most salient information.

Conversation is key.

As I queried him I learned that people essentially shut him out because he pressed them with information about any subject with out listening to the point they were making. Over an hour he failed to hear and engage in a meaningful way on Trust, Brand, Selling, Religion, Product attributes, Benefits, Features and most importantly any concept that was new to him.

He confessed that he had difficulty putting himself in someone else’s position or viewpoint. Probed for what other people thought about he and his product, he could not delve into his successful sales and find a common reason why people bought. He could not sum up the problem that caused them to even consider!

Brand is built on similarities

It took over an hour to get to some very candid reasons why he operated the way he did. He grew up one of 14 children in a lower middle-class home. He is a Christian devoted to Bible study with a closed mind about other religions.  His idea of a Networking situation is repetitive attendance at a meeting of coaches none of whom yet knows of his high-end product after months of attendance. He found the idea of seeking out gatherings of potential buyers (such as at Chamber of Commerce meetings) a revelation. To determine potential customers, I suggested that he build a list of the people he had already sold to and write down their demographics and psychographics and their stated reasons for considering, buying and what they now feel think and believe about the product.

A morphing mental portrait

That mental portrait will allow him and you to gird up your loins, enter into a conversation with anyone to determine whether or not there is any interest. In my years of assisting independent professionals and entrepreneurs I’ve concluded:

  1. Between 60 and 80% of all your customers are trying to solve the same problem and the reminder have only two other reasons sufficiently important to note.
  2. If you talk about the highest percentage problem and your solution in their terms you will be successful over time
  3. Listening to contacts and how they talk about the problem/solution over time will allow you to focus ever more clearly on those that buy

Every successful business starts with networking

You can’t sell anything if you don’t go find a customer. Networking offers the lowest cost and fastest way to get in front of more people. It forces you to have conversations and learn about real prospects. By meeting with folks you can learn which will attend a workshop or how to convince the few that will accept a free trial of the product. You can get to a point where they ask the question, “How much is it?”

Sometimes sampling is the key

Instead of scaring them off with a high price you’ll be able to tell them you won’t sell them one until they have proven to themselves that it works for them. And, after the trial, you’ll be happy to do it for a one-time payment or on the terms offered by the company.

Being timid isn’t all bad

Being concerned about people’s time is a good thing. Wanting to not be too intrusive is positive. Being genuinely interested in having a conversation can be rewarding. Those behaviors will be seen but failure to look someone in the eye will send another message. You must present yourself with a modicum of confidence and directness to garner credibility. Too often the timid mistake the behavior of the extrovert as ‘the only way to sell.” It isn’t. Timid with integrity, authority and consistency will build a brand based on trust.


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.
______________________________________________________________________________

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

Conditional Brand

Conditional Brand reaches out through virtual technology

Chris and I met for lunch and to talk about what’s new in automated digital marketing.

After the usual recap of the last month’s activities we got down to cases.

Getting Pixelled ain’t pretty.

 You know how you’ll just casually look at shoes or furniture or a new whiz-bang tech gadget while you’re answering e-mail or stuckon an interminable phone call and then for days later every time you turnaround ads for that sort of stuff keep popping up in your browser? You, myfriend have been pixeled.

The way that works is that a 1×1 pixel is placed on web page and is triggered whenever the page is visited or a positive action taken such as signing up for a newsletter or an information packet or white paper. When that action occurs, the pixel acquires the information needed to retarget you.

You have been retargeted.

Retargeting is a cookie-based technology that uses simple Javascript code to anonymously ‘follow’ your audience all over the Web. Each time you visit a site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, when you browse the Web, the cookie lets a retargeting provider know when to serve ads, ensuring that ads are served to only those people who have visited the pixeled site.

 The Cookie is no dummy

It is stored on your browser. It tracks your movements on the website in question and remembers your behaviors and preferences. It doesn’t transfer across browsers, but most of us use a single browser 80 to 90 Percent of the time.

One common way a cookie gets placed on your browser is via Contextual Targeting. This is most common on those “news” pages in your browser. Click on what appears to be news feed and before you can swipe to the next photo you’re confronted by a display ad. Chomp! You just bit into the cookie.

One step further

The latest wrinkle in on-line marketing takes pixeling and retargeting(or remarketing if you prefer) one step further. It personalizes brand to the maximum. We decided to call it “Conditional.”

Here’s how it works:

  1. You have been pixeled and retargeted.
  2. You return to the web site and are served up the site you first visited.
  3. As you refine your search on the site or look into other products the cookie remembers.
  4. The next time you visit, the site may appear and read entirely differently depending on the information you shared on your last visit because the cookie is relaying where you are in the customer journey for this product or service
  5. Each time you visit the conditional site can change to match up with your previous behavior and stated preferences.

If/then constraints

It becomes very quickly apparent that massive amounts of copy and graphic changes might have to be employed to take this capability to maximum effect.

Few of us have sufficient knowledge of our customers journey and how to shift our web sites to handle different basic personality differences let alone for the massive number of changes going completely conditional might force.

Then, too, we need to maintain the key elements of the brand’s value proposition and positioning. How much personalization can we inject and still maintain the Trust that separates our brand from competitors?

 Conditional websites will come

It is already starting to happen. We will keep an eye on this development and let you know more as we uncover the trend.

Let us know if you run into an example.

______________________________________________________________________________

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry Fletcher is a sought-after International Speaker, a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com His consultingpractice, 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.com0

Brand America Beauty or Beast?

I couldn’t sleep.

So I lay staring at the ceiling and thinking about my Saturday morning missive.  I went from trying to figure out how folks were seeing the phrase, “Make America Great Again” to wondering how people on other shores saw our country.

I searched Google on several terms with these results:

Perceptions of America

  • How Americans are Perceived by the Rest of the World (August 4, 2016)
  • Perceptions of America (April 4, 2011)

That led me to look into:

Is America great Again?

  • Is America Great Again? Data Say No. (January 23, 2018)

America’s International Image

  • America’s International Image Continues to Suffer (October 1, 2018)

Research Reports don’t get at individual’s emotions.

I started trying to drill down and had a phishing attack on my computer. But I had seen enough. Governments around the world thought significantly less of America under the current president than his predecessor (by huge amounts in many cases).

All those countries I’ve always thought of as allies now see us as rich, technological wizards with weapons that are the best in the world but tending toward being bullies led by incompetents in government at all levels.

The American Dream

The few reports that included interviews with individuals all showed the same skew. People still spoke of the “American Dream” in terms of “equal opportunity” and ‘rule of law” and “technology leaders.” They see us as “friendly, outgoing people.” They think we are “over tippers” and “eat too much” and we are “loud.” They look to us for movies and music and entertainment of all kinds.

Most of them don’t understand why we are involved in so many wars. They don’t want us to be the world’s policeman. They want help with getting rid of fascist governments but fear the drift of our government in that direction.

I think it is safe to say that they see us as both a beauty and a beast.

The Base is happy

I’ve asked Trump supporters how they feel about how things are going. Those I’ve talked to seem to think everything was better when Reagan was president. They are happy with the President’s “progress” so far. They think, “the outsider we elected is doing just what he said he would to DC and it’s “about time we had somebody that would tell off foreign governments.”  A few are beginning to be concerned about healthcare and how they are going to be able to retire but they are not expecting the government to take any action.

The Progressives are looking for direction

Those are the folks that used to be called the “Left” or “Liberals.” They are the ones the Republicans are now terming Socialists. The difficulty is that this opposition to those in power have no singular viewpoint. There is no one cause that they all rally around. That may be their last great hope. Would they join forces for the real American Dream? Could we get them together?

Do you have a Vision for America?


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry SpeakingJerry 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 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