Consultant Marketing Visual Cues

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Little things can mean a lot.

Start at the top, with hair or the lack of it. That works whether you are male or female. Unruly hair that looks like a frightened rooster just won’t get it. On the other hand being expertly coifed and looking like a model may be a bit much. The key is to fit in to the comfort zone of the audience and be just one notch above it.

You want to get to trust. Trusted advisors get the contracts.

One notch better

If there is a single piece of advice in this regard, that is it. Recently, at a conference attended by top independent consultants from across the country one topic that ran through the lunch room was that clients were asking that the men not wear ties. The consensus was that was a good idea until key players in a meeting showed up in cravats!

I’ve not worn a tie since 1990 when I opened my practice. But I wear special shirts when I do a keynote that have a hidden placket and a collar that buttons tight to the neck. I have them in both black and white. My notch down is a turtle neck worn with a sport coat.

The women at the lunch table simple laughed and said the one notch above was a good idea but the way to do it was not power suits. Their advice was to have great high value accessories—scarves, purses, and most important, shoes. One noted that women knew expensive shoes the way guys know cars.

A signature item

A few of my clients have considered trying to stand out by linking themselves with key items of equipment. One was forever trading up his laptop to the smallest, lightest and most advanced until one of his clients asked how much time he spent after each upgrade learning to use it.

For awhile one client was over the moon about his expensive fountain pen until a CEO told him that he never bought a pen in his life and had no intention of doing so.

Cars, watches, airplanes, etc. Those don’t matter to most of the folks that sign the checks. They are, at best, borrowed marks of excellence. Only something that relates uniquely to you will generate the memorability you are after.

One of my clients uses a tangled skein of purple wool to visualize the money knots in all our minds when she’s speaking. The color is the same that is used in her “Untangler” logo.

Graphic consistency

I started with your appearance because the human face recognition skills far surpass our visual cognition in every other area. We are better at sensing when something is amiss then when all is okay. Other graphic elements to consider:

Color The color in your logotype needs to be the same wherever it is employed. If the color plays a major part in identifying you. It needs to be consistent. Where?

  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Website
  • Signage
  • Vehicles
  • White Papers
  • Brochures
  • Presentations
  • On-line Content

Typography The type style you use for your logo may be so singular that it will prove too hard to read if used for all the text in your materials. That is not always the case. The critical decision here is the selection of a single type style for all the required word elements—headlines, subheads, text, captions and even footnotes. Your mission, should you choose to accept it is to make it all easily readable.

If you tend to produce a lot of your own content there are a couple other tips you may want to employ:

  • Try to keep your line length under 50 characters. Tess show that the human eye tends to tire if the line length is too long. Apparently, resetting to the next line “wakes up” the eye.
  • Use flush left ragged right. Do not use the other options available in Word (Center, Flush right ragged left and Justified) All of those are harder to read.
  • Multiple columns of information tends to be perceived as for business purposes.
  • Eye traps (bolds, underlines, italics, bullets, lists, indents, and initial caps) can enhance read through.
  • Use reverse (white type on black background) very sparingly.

Process Diagrams I never met a consultant that didn’t have a process. Like most of us they like to have diagrams that help explain their unique approach. Too often those diagrams are drawn anew each time. Again, consistency is the most direct route to Trust.

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The style of the diagram also needs to be constant. This is particularly true if there is motion or implied motion in the process. That is why I use a gyroscope as the primary overall illustration for the Z-axis Process. You can use a photo or a graphic extracted from a photo or linear graphics. Arrows can be hard-edged or brush strokes, open or filled in. Here’s a hard edged example straight out of Word

Whether you use hard edged or loose design the key is to keep it the same throughout and to use the same descriptors throughout.

Photography/Illustration Be careful to assure that your photos are all the same level of quality. If you use color photos, do so on everything (unless you have a historic black and white or tinted photo that lends credence to your “About” story) Seldom if ever should you swap back and forth between photography and illustration. Pick one and stick with it.

Most importantly, be sure all your designs look like they came from the same family. A good designer can give you a “look” that helps brand you, make you memorable and get you one step closer to becoming a trusted advisor.

Like mama said, “Mind your Ps and Qs and use consistent Visual cues!”

And so it goes.

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

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

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

Consultant Marketing Website Panel 1 Options

Can your home page first panel pass the three second test?

Three seconds is all you have for your brand to register with a visitor. That visitor is like a stranger you’re meeting for the first time as you’ll see in this video https://vimeo.com/351932771

The first panel on your home page must get across:

  • Who this is for
  • What problem it solves
  • How to take action

Dissecting the panel I have in development.

The navigation bar is often not streamlined to make that first glimpse as powerful as it might be. You need to have your logo up there in the upper left. Make sure it is clickable. That way you don’t have to put “Home” in the navigation.

Keep the pages listed to an absolute minimum. You can use the footer for all the wonderfulness that proves you know your stuff.

Put a call to action button at the far right. If you are lucky to catch someone at the point they are willing to make an interactive commitment you want to make it as easy as possible for them.

You’ll find I’ve followed my own advice. Here is the first option:

Option 1

Background Image is usually the first thing people see. We are, after all, visually oriented. The image should give us the idea of what the shift is like on the other side of your advice.

It is the kiss at the end of every romance movie ever. It is the celebration of a team. It is the fond hope of the target audience.

Here is the first alternate. Notice how the copy and the photo play to success.

Option 2

Headline is where things get tricky. We need to get the unique difference across in just a few words. You need to consider these things: 

  1. Awareness level of most visitors. Are they aware of the problem you solve? If not, that is part of your job here. Are they aware of solutions? If so, you may want to offer a comparison to a known solution. But if they are well along in the customer journey and already aware of your brand you need to find a way to engage more personally with them
  2. The job to be done. What, in their terms is the job they need to get done that you or your product/service might do for them. How you refer to what you do needs to be in terms of, “Here’s what you can do with our product.”
  3. What it’s worth to the prospect plays a key part in how you will be perceived. If you have a value proposition for your business this will be an integral part.

Here’s an option that might play better with women. Note how the headline has been shortened.

Option 3

Subhead is optional but I highly recommend it. It gives you the chance to add to the value of your headline, expand and define the job the product does and personalize your pitch for the target audience. The more these words come out of the situations your prospects find themselves in the stronger they will be. The more you can let them see you understand the emotional context they find themselves in the more they will be drawn to you.

Notice how the subhead has changed slightly to include the phrase “lifelong success” which is gender and age neutral as illustrated by this example:

Option 4

Call to action (CTA) After all that skull sweat to find just the right words you can’t let it go to waste. You can’t expect the visitor to know what to do if you don’t tell him/her. You don’t need to put your primary CTA on the first panel. But you do need to put at least one simple button there that is the overall action you want folks to take.

You need to give the visitor a simple mechanism to connect with you. In the case of the Master site we have button in a color contrasting from the background image with the words Arrange a Chat. That drops down to the primary home page CTA that is a form that gathers additional data about the prospect. Why? I’ve written before about “Skin in the game.” If a prospect will answer a few questions they are more likely to be someone I’d like to work with.

Here’s a tip: include a second CTA but make it not as prominent. Offer the visitor a less direct close. Give them an option.

This is glimpse into the thinking and development process I use with every website. This is just the first panel on my new site in development. Which design will I launch? Right now, I’d probably go with the old guy version. Which do you prefer?

And so it goes

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

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

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

Formula for Creative Brand Marketing

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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

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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:

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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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


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

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

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

Brand and the Placebo Effect.

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

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

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

Brand Anew

Woman developing marketing mindset

When is it time to rebrand?

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

There are other reasons.

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

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

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

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

I learned the hard way.

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

The original logo

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

A basic rule.

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

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

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

Now you know who built this company

An introduction

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

“I’m Jerry Fletcher, the Brand Poobah.

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

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

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

Multiple Brands

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

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

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

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

Are you ready to brand anew?

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

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

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

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

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.

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­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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