Brand and Passive Aggressive Prospects

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Today’s consumers are Passive/Aggressive.

  • 51% research brands via search engines.
  • 27% want brands to improve their knowledge and skills
  • 44% post an online review monthly

Globalwebindex uses those research results and others to claim that the “new consumer” is primarily engaged with on-line media to “find the brands and products that suit them.”

More touchpoints is just that.

Yes, there are more touchpoints on the way to a purchase. That has changed. But the assumption that on-line is pre-eminent is poppycock. Traditional media still plays a role. Their own data proves it:

  • 63% of consumers discover new brands without using search engines.
  • 73% don’t want brands to improve their knowledge and skill
  • 56% don’t post monthly reviews.

Consistency is key

When half of on-line adults block ads on their mobiles and desktops you need to be sure that the media they do see tells your story the same way every time. What does that mean? In simple terms your value proposition needs to be implemented in a recognizable, memorable way across all media. Simple ways you can do that:

  • Use the same logo in all media
  • Use the same key attribute benefit (both verbally and in video animation) across all materials you present to them
  • Personalize your approach based on why the client/consumer/patient wants your product/service
  • Use their language, not yours to describe what you deliver
  • In short: Go where the money is, sell what they want to buy and do it again.

B to C versus B to B Touchpoints

Awareness (A) Research(R) and Preference(P) are requiredin the context of any purchase journey, Business or Consumer. There is a difference. Here’s how it breaks down:

Consumer                            Both                                       Business

                                                Word of Mouth (A)

Traditional Ads (A)              Direct Marketing(A)          Trade shows(A)

Search(R)                              Website(R)                            Search(R)

Social Media(R)                    PR Mentions (R)                   Linked In(R)

Online Reviews(P)                                                              Testimonials(P)

E-Commerce                                                                         Direct sales

Products sell on line, services not so much

The difference is matter of Trust. Don’t get me wrong. Trust is required before a purchase in either category. The difference is in the object of trust. Usually in a consumer business the Trust is in the product. Business requires the buyer to get to trust with the seller—the person who is going to supply the service.

We could quibble about Software As A Service being more of a product sale but unless the provider is a major corporation it always comes down to building trust in the founder/developer/owner and her/his expertise in the industry.

Building Brand based on why

Whether you sell BtoB or BtoC you will be more successful if you understand why your customer needs your help. More importantly you’ll connect with more prospects if you voice their problem or concern that you solve in their language. Use their words and know what makes them consider your option.

The only way to get that knowledge is to go talk to potential clients/patients/customers and listen. I’m constantly amazed when an entrepreneur builds a product or develops a service without ever talking to the people that might buy it!

Listen to them. Write your value proposition based on what they have to say. Name your product or service in terms they might use particularly if you are cash strapped. Pay a professional to develop a logo that connects with your potential purchaser. Be sure it does by asking them. Pu your key benefit attribute out front so it is easily seen and understood. Stick with it across all the ways you can deliver a message on and off-line.


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

What Are the Key Words of Your Brand?

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That sounds simple enough but as my client Brent said over lunch, “Finding key words takes a lot of time and you’re still not certain they match up with your brand.

Search engines are dumb.

Type in a descriptor of what you are looking for.  For example, I’ll use “keynote.”

I mean a major presentation by a professional speaker at a meeting or conference. But that is not what Google served up. All I got initially was a lot of information about an Apple program. It took three pages before I found any item about a professional speaker!

Maybe not so dumb…

I changed the query to “Keynote speaker.” That yielded 62,800,000 possibilities and the first page was all about professional speakers and speakers bureaus.

I started looking at how to get really good key words because “keynote speaker” got a lot of possibilities. Way too many!

Key Words are competitive

As you minimize the competition for your key words you increase the possibility of your web page showing up on the first page of the search engine. That gets you up to 90% more views!

Popular search terms only make up a fraction of all searches performed on the web. In fact, keywords with very high search volumes could draw visitors to your site whose goals don’t match the content your page provides.

Long tail key words may be more valuable

This chart from MOZ shows how key words ranked outside the top ten provide over 80% of the searches.

Test and Reset.

Finding key words that match your brand is an iterative process. Trial and error can get you to a better place. I started with: “Keynote Speaker for Independent professionals”

That generated zero, zip, nada so I tried:

Keynote speaker for Consultants 77,100,000 results
Keynote speaker for Coaches       72,000,000 results
Keynote Speaker for entrepreneurs         20,100,000 results
Keynote speaker for solopreneurs           59,100 results

Get more specific.

Since I speak on multiple areas of business development essential to these kinds of businesses I next tried searching based on those possibilities. The results:

Brand Keynote speaker      30,300,000 results
Brand Keynote Speaker for entrepreneurs         9,550,000 results
Brand Keynote speaker for solopreneurs                        87,000 results Networking keynote speaker          11,700,000 results
Networking Keynote speaker for entrepreneurs 12,700,000 results Networking Keynote speaker for solopreneurs  97,500 results
CRM keynote speaker         801,000 results
CRM Keynote speaker for entrepreneurs           410,000 results
CRM Keynote speaker for solopreneurs            39,800 results
Brand keynote speaker for solopreneur consultants     204,000 results Networking Keynote speaker for solopreneur consultants 136,000 results CRM keynote speaker for solopreneur consultants       28,900 results

Focus

Deciding what to do is damned difficult. Trends say there is more interest in brand than networking and definitely more than in CRM. But, the smaller the niche you approach the easier it is to get high search rankings and hence bookings. It looks to me like I should put more emphasis on my speaking site on CRM or possibly crank up a new site.

What do you think?

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

What’s Next for Brand?

A creative montage of a side profile silhouette of a man wearing glasses and colorful artistic accents inside of his mind and body.

It started out being a person to person in person thing.

Names and Symbols came to represent it. Behaviors, ways of doing business, were associated. It varied only slightly due to geography and political affiliations.  Capitalists reveled in it. Communists considered it propaganda and mastered a political version.

But even as it morphed as the size of some businesses increased and crossed borders at the heart it still represented a perception of being a person to person in person thing.

It continued to be seen as person to person but in person got lost somewhere along the way. Lost but not forgotten.

Brand is a shared perception.

The way people who are aware of your brand think, feel and believe about it is the way we approach it today. Masters of branding do everything they can to keep a singular vision of the product or service at the fore. They change only reluctantly to maintain share of mind and market.

What happens when perceptions are individual?

Big data could give sellers and advertisers a way to unlock the connections to a brand person by person. You could find yourself not only retargeted in your e-mail and on-line activities but in a way that gets at the heart of your relationship with the product or service.

You may see a brand as a world shift in how others see your body. But only you believe this shift is taking place. You could use a service because for you it is way to reflect your outgoing personality. But is it? Perhaps for others it is only a way to obfuscate.

Granted, those reactions are similar to what happens today. The thing to think about is how, as we are locked tighter and tighter in a digital embrace, our brand relationships now have a software filter.

What happens to individuals?

We are just beginning to see the impacts of digital culture. A family sits down for dinner at a restaurant. Mother, father and both children must interrupt their use of their smart phones to give their order. They immediately return to their phones. When dinner is served there is no conversation. They look at phones frequently as they eat. There is no person to person connection in person.

BUT there is a connection on line. Each of them is extending their relationship through a digital filter. One is texting an on-line friend. One is posting photos of the meal on Facebook. One elects to write a review of the meal. In simple terms, their relationships are not direct. They are filtered through the internet.

“Looking for love in all the wrong places.”

It is happening today. The internet has already become a surrogate. People vote with their wallets. A friend, exploring how people who buy on line see their relationships with sellers found that purchase behavior is frequently undertaken to win approval from the seller. It is a kind of “looking for love in all the wrong places.”

The receipt of a simple “thank you” e-mail after you give a brand your name and e-mail address is just the beginning. Whatever you were interested in, they are going to personalize messages to you about similar products. They will exploit your emotional connection without a second thought.

Bending the brand

The more the seller knows about you, the more the brand will be bent to be just for you. Yes, the appeal of most brands is pretty much the same for about 80% of their target audience but research I’ve conducted over the last 25 years shows that there are three reasons most folks buy. The secondary reason gets about 12 to 15% The third gets most of the rest.

Imagine if you were one of the second or third group. What if the digitally information served up to you was personalized to make that the primary way you were encouraged to see the brand? Would you want to get the approval of the brand that knew your heart’s desires? Would you go out of your way to keep that brand in the way you showed the world who you are?

The reality of brand automation

We are not there yet. We are well on the way. Human nature may yet find a way to sidestep the tsunami of surrogacy. This is just the latest revelation about brand. Research done 25 years ago verified the power of brand in the marketplace and predicted the growth of “tribes.”

What is old may yet be new again. 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 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