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.


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.


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.


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?


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

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



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

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



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

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: Speaking:


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, 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, 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

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.



Is Your Brand Singular?

UniqueAre you:

  • Focused
  • Unique
  • New
  • First
  • Defining

Successful brands are at least one of those.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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

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.






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

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.


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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 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

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.


Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at

Is Brand Personal, Professional or Product?

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

  • 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 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.


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


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Trump Brand Won Because of Trust

161110-blog-photoThere are at least a hundred definitions of Brand but only one that in my view encompasses all the possibilities:

Brand, any Brand, is the outcome of Trust.

Fail to get to Trust and you lose.

A Brand that has a singular vision, a mission articulated in a few understandable words, promoted consistently with words and pictures that touch the emotions will triumph if it gets to Trust. (See the video)

Sometimes it is a matter of how the Brand is positioned:

  • The Clinton tagline was: Hillary for America
  • The Trump tagline was: Make America Great Again!

In hindsight we know that he won because the people supporting him were the disenfranchised middle class that are opposed to the elites that they perceive to have hamstrung the government for so many years yielding control to the moneyed interests—the banks that took their homes, wall street and the big box companies that wiped out main street and the manufacturers that off-shored jobs.

The Trump brand was, pretty much, self-funded. It was Republican but not beholden. It was outrageous remarks followed by others saying “what he really meant.”

The Trump Brand was not a voice crying in the wilderness. It was heard by all the citizens out there beyond and within the big cities.” It didn’t matter what your party affiliation was. Your “tribe” was more important.

The Trump Brand is, for about half the population in the United States, a way to Make America Great Again.  Their belief is that an outsider and a business man can clean house in DC. and “straighten out” things that have “been done to them” over the  years, They Trust that they can “Make America Great Again.”

The last word of that phrase is the most important. The target audience, the people that voted in droves for him in the fly-over states are not looking forward. They see the USA as diminished. They want to go back to a different time. Their desire is to get “government off our backs.” Their hope is that the America they believe in, proudly serve, and honor can rise up and “do the right thing.”

Look at the difference:

  • Hillary for America (What’s in it for supporters? “I’m with her” was just as flawed)
  • Make America Great Again (It is what they want done and it implies the supporters will be a part of the solution and not part of the problem.)

The Trump line was carefully emblazoned on every item offered including the signature red baseball caps (and once or twice a camouflage cap). Hillary’s campaign offered nearly a hundred different designs, comments and reasons why. Little, if any of it, stuck to the wall.

They trusted Trump because in his bellicose way he said to them, “You’re right, we need to go back and I will keep shouting for you as long as it takes.”

They Trust him.

As I said, Brand is the outcome of Trust. I evaluate Brand development and report on it at If you’d like a neutral professional to review your Brand, call me.


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


Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at

Time and Lessons Learned

Dad died Wednesday, just after noon. Black Iris

Mom called at once. Then I began to cancel meetings and obligations while rushing to get ready to catch a red eye from the upper left corner to the heartland.

He was a quiet man, not given to any kind of rhetoric. Gentle, too, for a man who stood 6 foot two in his youth. As a child I was amazed at how those huge hands of his could touch like a moth’s wing.

Though he never finished high school he had an abiding interest in figuring out how things worked. If it was mechanical, he could fix it. Before printed circuit boards he was the guy in the neighborhood that fixed radios and TVs for spare pocket change. He taught me what I know of auto mechanics including the fact that the job is not done until the tools are cleaned and put away.,

Dad was passionate about three things: His family, being a railroader and his tinkering. He loved Mom. You could tell by the way he looked at her, especially when she didn’t know it. Loved me, too. Never missed a game when I was playing high school football. Always found  a way to encourage me.

He found a way to help me finance a college education and got me a railroad pass so I could work in New York on my co-op job while studying advertising in college.Black Iris

But the defining thing about him was that he was a railroader. My first memory of him was running down the railroad platform at Norwood station when he came back from the war and leaping into his arms. I was 4. He was 25.

For the next 40 years he worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad as a fireman and then an engineer. He was proud to wrangle those big steam locomotives and later, the sleek diesel engines.

After he retired, he and Mom camped all over the United states, at first with a tiny tent trailer and later with a big fifth wheel unit. They had just started home from a visit to see their granddaughter, Kelly, when Saint Helens blew for the second time. They drove through eastern Washington into the night to escape the falling ash.

But time catches up to us all and at the last he had difficulty remembering. In a way, I think that may have been a good thing as he had lived such a full life and could no longer.

I will miss his gentleness, his passion and his advice that ” It doesn’t matter what you say, it’s what you do that counts.”

Jerry Fletcher