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

Brand Edge On

A friend once described the Platte river (near Denver, Colorado) as a mile wide and an inch deep.

Your brand might be like that.

You have a choice to make:

  • Maintain your broad coverage
  • Dive deep into a select audience segment.
  • Try a little of both

The broad brush

Your target may be portrayed in broad brush strokes at the beginning. Most entrepreneurs believe that broad appeal will get them the most customers.

Maybe.

More often the broad appeal helps those who will become their best customers/clients find the company, product or service. That gives the appearance of a brand that works. But if you don’t regularly probe the information your customers/clients are willing to give you the profiles of your best purchasers will not be revealed.

Edge on

How can you tell? The rule of thumb is that the more niched you are, the better off you’ll be. Generally, that is true. To evaluate your situation, look at the depth of what you know about your client base, the percentage of your sales that cluster in one group, initial and repeat purchases as well as the estimated life time value (LTV) of the individuals as well as where you want to take the business.

The more carefully you describe your avatars, verify them with market research and, over time, add details to their portraits the better you will understand the kind of people that can make you successful. If you’re well-funded, that research can be done by a specialist firm. If you’re little guy, under-funded, or a start-up you may have to do personal interviews to get a handle on that better picture.

What works? I’ve been successful with all three of the choices. More successful with a deep dive. Most successful with the combination and carefully watching the metrics.

Deep Art

The more detailed portrayal of your ideal customer/client the greater the probability of enhanced profits. True, there may be fewer. But each will be worth more in most cases. Repeat purchases are the primary reason as well as a tendency to accept higher prices. The fact that you have found them and are personalizing your approach establishes a large emotional difference from competitors. It makes your brand unique.

Detailed knowledge of two or three groups can not only add to your profits, it can extend the life of your business. A financial planner might open the doors and quickly find that her primary customers are Baby Boomers but that they are referring their children who are in the cohort known as Boomers II or Generation Jones born between 1955 and 1965. They, too, refer other youngsters, born between 1966 and 1976 (Generation X).

The planner may find that Generation X is significantly different from the older clients. But her only way to build the business long term is to understand the differences, speak their language and make the picture familiar to them.

The cohorts are often put into “Buckets.” You could easily identify the three noted above. But the Brand oriented planner will take it a step further using automation software that allows you to “tag” each contact with a full array of ways to sort them into segments within the groups. Here are just a few:

  • Demographics (Age, sex, income, education, housing etc.)
  • Psychographics (Observable personal behavior)
  • Engagement (The degree they respond to your offers)
  • Purchase Behavior (purchases, repeat purchases frequency, recency)
  • Satisfaction (Reviews and testimonials)

Wade in

Keep track of what you learn about your customers/clients. The depth of your knowledge will impact the value of your business every single day.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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 the Path to Joy

These days when people ask me what I do, I respond:

I’m a Brand Poobah.

You know how everyone tells you that you need to have a brand but nobody tells you how to do it?

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

If you are interested, I’ll give you brand examples and hard data on the transformations we have achieved.

But today I want to focus on the word Joy. A life of Joy has been part of my promise to clients for while now, but I didn’t always think that way. A dentist and his wife changed my ways.

I’ve never forgotten the lesson Mark and Maria taught me.

I had agreed to meet with them at their home after the practice had closed for the day and both of them were free to talk. I’ve always started with a straightforward assessment of what folks wanted to get from my strategic marketing assistance. I asked them to write down their three objectives without letting the other know. They did and passed their notes across the kitchen table to me.

I opened each in turn and then said, “You don’t need me now. You two need to talk to one another.” With that said, I picked up my notebook and handed each the other’s note. As their tears welled up I let myself out.

He had written:

  1. Schedule more hours including evenings every day we are open.
  2. Build the business to $000,000/year
  3. Get an assistant so Maria doesn’t have to spend every day in the office.

She noted:

  1. Make the business successful
  2. Be able to spend more time with Mark at home.
  3. Have a baby.

Our second meeting was full of joy.

Joy that they now had a joint view of what a successful business would look like for them.

Joy that both were more concerned about loving each other.

Joy that a child was being planned for.

Joy that their Brand idea changed.

They moved from being a dentist and office manager trapped in a practice that would count on extended hours to reach for a number that allowed no intimacy to becoming a dentist and his wife who had a life, a family and a Brand to share with the world.

Love ain’t work.

You know you are going to have a brand whether you work at it or not. Everything you do impacts it. Imagine the difference if you are doing what you love. You will quickly realize that if you are doing what you love you are not working. But it can be different for those closest to you.

Step back. Have a candid conversation with your team, the ones in the business and out of it. Is there a change that you could make that would bring everyone the delight you enjoy? That’s a better brand.

Too often we look at the income we want to generate and proceed to build plans to accomplish that goal without counting the time we will have to put into it and the impact that plan will have on everyone involved.

A better brand…guaranteed.

You cannot do it alone. Solopreneurs sooner or later feel lost and alone. But they don’t have to be. They can make friends, become a member of a meetup group or, with luck, find that special someone. I’ve been on both sides of that equation and having others in your life and your business is the better way. And it leads to a better Brand, guaranteed.

Mark, Maria and Michaela are a joy!

Michaela is now a teenager. The dental practice is doing well. Maria still does the books and supervises the office staff. We positioned the practice with a huge smile wearing corrective braces and the words “The Mark of Fine Dentistry”. Mark specializes which allows him to keep the hours he and Maria like, make the income he wants and cheer Michaela on the soccer field.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

Verbal Branding is Way Over a Programmers Pay Grade

I watched a video the other day.

It was Russell Brunson’s 10x speech where he made over $3 million for his appearance. That is the single highest payment I’ve ever heard for a speech. No, they didn’t pay him that. He spoke for free on the condition that he could sell from the stage.

And sell he did. A couple minutes in he got people to commit to a price of $11,552 if he could 10x their business. And did I mention there were 9000 people in the audience?

Copy is critical

One product in the massive bonus he offered was called: Funnel Scripts. It is an automated way to write copy for all the elements in his approach to marketing on line. Headlines, sales letters, squeeze pages thank you pages, upsells, downsells, you name it.

Except for Mission, Position and Brand

Brand is not included.

Verbal Brand is over a programmer’s pay grade. Way over. Although most people think of brand more as a name or a logotype or a graphic symbol the words that go with that artwork are what we use to refer people and embed the individual, product/service or company in a colleague’s mind.

Verbal Brand. Here are examples that may be familiar to you:

Forbes: Capitalist Tool
Nike: Just do it
BMW (USA only): “The ultimate driving machine “
Disneyland: “The happiest place on earth”
Intel: “Intel Inside”
Allstate Insurance: You’re in good hands with Allstate

What you say is linked to what you see.

Every time someone tells me a picture is worth a thousand words I think back to one of my early mentors. He asked for the newspaper front page and my scissors and then proceeded to cut the photos out. He cleared my desk and then placed the front page minus the photos face down on the desk. He put the photos he had trimmed out in their approximate position next to the front page. Then he said, “Take a look at the photos and tell me either story as completely as you can.”

I stumbled around for a bit and he whisked the photos away and turned the trimmed-out front page over asking me to take a moment to read and then tell him either story.

Words carry meaning, graphics embed emotion.

The story can be told in words alone.

The emotion can be increased with the right photo.

Together they give us greater memorability.

And in today’s world being remembered is a premium outcome. You, your business and your product/service need a brand that you influence with the right stuff: a name, a logo and a memorable slogan—the brand that folks recall to refer you, recommend you and repeat purchase.

Memorable Positions, Slogans and Brands  

They stay in your mind long after the advertising melts away. Some examples:

Where’s the beef?

“Think Different”

“We try harder.”

“Fly the Friendly Skies”

“Because You’re Worth It”

Struggling with building your verbal brand? Call me at 503 957-7901


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry 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 Overwhelm

I can’t sleep. Something is niggling at the back of my mind. And though I’m not a morning person I open my e-mail program at 6:30 AM. It is still dark outside. The coffee is still too hot to drink so I let it cool, blocking the lower right corner of the screen.

I catch myself starting at the bottom of the e-mail in-box and clearing out item after item that is out of date or there for reasons I no longer remember.

It got me again!

Because I’m the Brand Poobah I need to look at, read, review and consider anything that comes into my sights on Brand. That is a lot of information. My job, in part is to glean the nuggets from the onslaught for my clients. I know there is pony in here somewhere but…

Brand overwhelm has once again woven its insidious spell over my inbox and the various stacks upon my desk. Right now, these are the stacks:

  • 11 books, 3 read, 2 partially gleaned and others picked up at trade shows. There are 3 keepers, 1 to be returned to a friend and the rest on their way to a new home at the local library second hand book store.
  • 3 stacks of client work, each with a three-ring binder, a current projects folder and notes from our last meeting. One is up to date after I pick up some printing. The second is awaiting a decision that is the gating factor for 4 interrelated brand projects. The third is going to eat my Sunday afternoon because of a promise I made yesterday about making sure the new website doesn’t muck up the brand.
  • Speaking Follow up which includes the log of my ongoing conversations regarding appearances as well as the two programs I need to finish for my on-line learning group, prep for scheduled appearances (2), updates to all my speaker directory web sites and looking at shifting from Networking Ninja to Brand Poobah as my Speaker Brand. (That alone requires all new business materials as well as a new web site and shifts in all the directories.) Can you feel the overwhelm creeping up on cat’s paws?
  • Linked in Facts, Fantasies and Factoids that must be sorted through, acted on and disseminated to clients for action to maintain their brands. Did you know you can have a company page on Linked In? And, for some folks, the ability to advertise on this B2B whale needs to be considered.
  • White papers, Blog printouts and other downloads that looked important at the time because, in general, they provide advice on building and maintaining a brand. These can be sorted into social media methodologies, evergreen advice and how-to manuals for the programs I’ve purchased to help me promote my Brand.

Overwhelm is sneaky.

I looked at my schedule this morning and only one item from above was on the calendar. One!

It is going to be a long day. I’m betting that the best part of it will be the visit to the printer for some client materials. The rest of it is going to be devoted to going through the piles, eliminating what I can, filing what needs to be kept but doesn’t demand action and then scheduling those things which Brand demands I do.

I know I’m not alone.

This happens to all my clients. Independent Professionals even the elite ones I work with, suffer from Brand Overwhelm. The most significant crush arises out of people saying, “you just have to use or be on or stay engaged in (pick a social media).”

That way lies madness.

Keep it simple is my advice:

  1. Make sure your website, directories and social media profiles all are consistent.
  2. Pick only one or two Social Media sites to be present on. I suggest Linked In if your business is B2B and Facebook if you are B2C as the primary. For the second, look at everything else, settle on one and stick to it.
  3. Blog weekly, Interact on your primary social media daily and try not to be overwhelmed.

Don’t let brand overwhelm get you down.

It happens to all of us. We’re always trying to make our brand better. We look at all the advice out there. If the advice steers you to one social media as the be-all and end-all, run, do not walk, to the nearest exit. Should that on-line pundit say you have to change your brand take it with a large grain of salt because an established brand is hard to shift or change–really, really hard. Stick with the basics. Don’t get swept up into a passing fancy.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry 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 Battles

On November 7, TV will return to more mundane commercials. No longer will we be regaled with vicious character attacks based on information we are not privy to. The hyperbolic assaults that end, “I’m so and so and I approved this message” will end. Misinformation and innuendo will be swept back into the closet.

Brand Bashing

Do non-political brands battle? And if so, do they get anywhere near the malevolence of election commercials?

Yes, they battle, but not with the knife fighting style of political advertising.

Yes, they go to war, but the way the bout is scored is different.

Yes, they square off and start swinging, but both win in the end.

The size of the pie

In politics there is an end-point—the election. It is winner take all. There is no tomorrow except for the next election for the loser. That is not the case for commercial brands. Both competitors will still be selling product or services until they are bought or run out of operating capital. Both will continue to try to dominate their industry or product/service space. The market is what they are after. They do not want to bury their opponent but rather would prefer to acquire their customers.

It’s all about share

Elections are life or death matters. Business competitors live on. Commercial competitors are looking to increase their share of a given market versus the competitor. In big markets, a single share point can be worth gazillions. The value of that share point is what drives the advertising budgets. Everything major competitors do is driven by the margins on the product/service and the portion they believe they need spend to maintain and increase their share.

Yes, it is about winning or losing. But living or dying seldom enters the equation.

Everybody wins

Here are some major head-to-head competitors familiar to most:

  • Coke vs Pepsi
  • Burger King vs McDonalds
  • Duracell vs Energizer
  • BMW vs Mercedes Benz
  • Fender vs Gibson

No matter which dog you have in these fights the overall outcome is beneficial to a market, industry or folks like you.

Soft drinks are a declining market. This competition maintains the market and has allowed smaller competitors a way in as an alternative.

The burger battles are all about innovation. I can’t keep count of the number of new sandwiches each of the major competitor have spawned in the last couple years.

Energize! The bunny is winning hearts and minds in advertising but Duracell has conquered the social media space. You win because the products from both companies are the best, ever.

Luxury Cars—BMW wins the social media battle primarily because of their blog which connects customers, cars and the broader market, like you.

Twang! These are the top two guitar makers in the world. Their competitive stance has literally expanded the market for guitars not to mention their continual innovation.

Brand Competition is a good thing.

Brand Competition can maintain a market.

Brand Competition can increase innovation.

Brand Competition can improve products.

Brand Competition can drive social engagement.

Brand Competition can build a market.

The lesson for politics

Brand Competition, above individual product levels, can increase innovation, improve outcomes, enhance social engagement, and build markets.

The Republicans have a brand: Make America Great Again.

If the Democratic Party had a brand, would it lead to more people voting?


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry FletcherJerry 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

Main Photo Credit: Richard Lee, Unsplash

 

What the Heck is a Brand Poobah?

Glad you asked.

You know how people tell you that you need to have brand for your new company or product or service but don’t tell you how to build one?

What I do is show independent professionals, Entrepreneurs and small business owners how to instantly craft a trust-based brand they can use on and off line.

Practice makes perfect.

I’ve done it hundreds of times. Some examples:

  • Business Defogger and Accelerator Jim Grew, Management and Leadership consultant
  • When you can’t afford to lose Don Douglas, Negotiator
  • The Untangler Shell Tain, Money coach

Each of those has a full identity connected to it. Each is built on a Vision, a Mission and a Position unique to the individuals involved. Each targets the heart of their ideal clients. Each can be delivered in words, graphics and combinations that never lose their singular qualities on and off line. Knowing how to do that across multiple businesses or products or services is essential. I believe if you have more than one, you need to keep your Brands separate but equal to the task of building a trust-based relationship with the buyers or end-users of the product or service being offered.

What is a Poobah?

I thought it came from the Middle east like Vizier but the Wiktionary says:

  1. A person who holds multiple offices or positions of power at the same time.
  2. A leader or other important person.
  3. A pompous, self-important person.

Friends tell me I qualify on all three.  It goes deeper than that. This is one of those memorable phrases that has lost it’s meaning in antiquity. It comes from Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Mikado first performed about 1885. It is an entirely fictional title initially meant to puncture over-inflated egos. That has changed in the century since, I think.

I probably learned of it from a less exalted source: the Flintstones where it was the title of a senior official in the Loyal Order of Water Buffaloes, an ongoing spoof of secret societies and men’s clubs in this cartoon series.

Go for the positive!

I’ve been lucky enough to qualify for number 2 above having been a CEO successfully building an Ad Agency, PR firm and later leading operations in a world-class direct marketing firm.  Multiple offices or positions? Only because I had to give memorable names to the multiple businesses I was involved with at the same time. Over time I’ve been promoted as:

  • Marketing Rainmaker
  • Networking Ninja
  • Contact Relationship Magician
  • Brand Poobah

Why Brand Poobah?

I’m trying it on for size. I want to know if others believe it sets me apart as a leader. I need to find out if it makes folks believe that I have expertise in multiple areas. I used it in front of a room full of consultants not long ago. It stopped the incipient buzz. Every ear in the room was on me when I said, “You know how” down through “What is a Poobah.”

I’m looking at building it out but before I do I need to hear from you.

What do you think?

Vote for __ Leader/Expert or __ Pompous Twit.

Just hit reply and send either of the above. I promise, I will listen. And I might even contact you.


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

 

Brilliance on a Napkin

How often have you been in conversation over lunch with business associates and watched as they reached for a napkin to sketch a concept?

Not often I bet unless you are lucky enough to enjoy a meal with a “thought leader.”

Amygdala hijack

Concepts are hard to come by and harder to present in a way that is understandable. Often, years of experience and research come to frustration as the paper blotches and smears you’re carefully contrived graph or sketch. Even when all involved share similar experiences and background it can prove to be truly challenging.

The effort is what Laurie Buxton, the Neuro-humorist describes as an amygdala hijacking. That’s a surge of neurons in your vestigial lizard brain that brings you joy, frustration and sometimes laughter.

Sketchy but beautiful

These ideas when drawn on the porous paper bleed every which way. The lines may be ragged but the intent is quickly obvious from the accompanying explanation. Positive ROI follows when you put them to work. That’s because the narrative is so rich in the vocabulary of first-hand experience.

Brilliance on a napkin

I’ve been lucky enough to be exposed to a powerful concept illustrated on a napkin a number of times:

  • The Brand/Direct Scale, invented by a former client and his partner to show the difference in ROI dependent on the percentage of direct marketing versus Brand use in ads.
  • The Consultant Value Jump developed by the Alan Weiss Community and shaped like a ski jump seen from the side that portrays how fees can be increased as engagement time decreases.
  • The Promotional Whirl from the heart of my own Brand Gyro that uses over-lapping circles to make both the new Trust tools and traditional Spin Tools understandable.
  • The Brand Introduction Curve a Marketing director and I put together for a training session with the divisional directors of a Fortune 500 company. The major difference we incorporated was using a full cross-hairs X-Y axis and showing all the time and costs in development before the product was introduced and began (with luck) to generate ROI
  • The Brand Disruption Curve used by a management consultant friend from Toronto to convince clients to begin considering the mortality of their brands and how to be prepared for the shift.

Less is more

Using a napkin as your art board means you must strip away all the extras and get to the heart of your concept. Space can be a concern. Multi-faceted symbols can prove difficult to render. Writing can yield pathetic results. Less is more in napkin conditions.

Radiance

I was rattling on about this over Thai food with a friend. She put down her chop sticks, picked up her purse, searched out a pen and then picked up a paper napkin. The waiter removed our dishes and she put the napkin in the middle of the table between us saying, “All those things about presenting an idea on a napkin you said are true but it also gives you one thing that is less expected.  It makes your imagination a part of the concept. Let me show you.

With that she drew a small box about a quarter inch square to one side of the napkin. Three inches to the right of it she drew another. This one she filled in. Then she said, “Most people see decisions this way…black or white. A few have been taught that there are many greys that separate them.

But I tell my clients to imagine the colors of the rainbow filling that space in the middle. Not only do we have more than two ways to go we have infinite choices, all of which can bring new light into our lives.”

Imagine your rainbow.


Jerry Fletcher­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Jerry 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