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

 

Brand is Trust, Not Just Celebrity

Brand betrayed

Why is it that so many folks want to be famous? Why do they crave celebrity? Why do they chase after the figment of Personal Brand?

Blinders.

Counterfeits have been around since the first Brand evolved. Fakes follow in the footsteps of innovators today as they have down the centuries. But even those are more acceptable than the so-called Personal Brand.

Some people believe that hype can replace product or service development. They believe in faking it until you make it. They believe that fame is all there is to brand.

They can’t see the problem of living a lie. They are victims of an over-active imagination that overlooks the key element of Brand: Trust in a product or service delivered.

Brand, initially.

In the beginning, in the really old west (the Middle East) the term brand stood for a symbol burned into the hide of critter owned by a particular person. It was used on slaves as well as animals. Later it was burned into wooden packaging like barrels.

The symbol itself became a roughshod form of a trade mark. That’s how this whole brand thing got started. It was a way to show who owned something.

Maker’s mark

A Trademark was and is a symbol cut or etched, printed or woven into an object made by an artisan. Today, it may appear on or be part of the packaging of an object or idea. You’ll find them on ceramics, glass, metal work, furniture, food and sundries, you name it. Always it is a way to identify the work of an individual, a group or organization. It identifies products for sale.

It crosses all cultures. The Chinese used to call it a Chop. Americans call them Trademarks and Service Marks and they are legally registered. Independent professionals from early civilizations to yesterday across the world, used such symbols for signs and on the seals of documents when that was a “thing.” It was a way to have a coat of arms much like the nobles served.

Brand evolved

Brand became important to makers, buyers and the merchants that connected them. It celebrated the esteem of the buyer for the maker providing a real mark of the quality conveyed.  It simplified the contract between merchant and buyer by presenting the buyer with a known proof of the quality of the item. It gave the merchant confidence when trading for the goods that they were the “real thing.” The merchant enjoyed greater credibility with the buyer because of this simple device.

At the heart of all that social interaction was Trust. It was trust for a product made by a person who took pride in their work and applied a mark to witness that pride. It was a symbol of trust between maker, merchant and buyer.

Personal Brand seekers suffer from not having that pride. They, in most cases, do not craft goods or services. Instead, they concentrate on their image. Sooner or later the deception will catch up with them.

When that happens, it ain’t pretty.


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

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

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

 

 

 

 

Brand is Built on Moving Parts

I finished the on-line training for 30-Second Marketing TM and posted it on Ingomu. It is just one element of the four in Secrets of a Networking Ninja.

Brand is trickier

The second element I’m adding is called No Budget Branding TM but I’m combining parts of other products developed earlier to make this one as complete as I can. Some of the things I’ve learned over the years get in the way. This is a DIY (Do It Yourself) product and so I’m working my way through some of the expertise I bring to a one-on-one session and finding ways to incorporate the benefits without a physical presence.

I believe Brand can refer to a company, product or service. Sorry, I don’t include Personal as the only time, in my view, that Personal enters the equation is when it is linked to a company product or service offered by an independent professional. In other words, John Q. Public is not a brand. John Q. Public Accounting could be.

Trust keeps it spun up

Funny how teaching can help you see things you hadn’t before. As this video explains. Brand is an expression of Trust. But, building this program has confirmed that once you’ve set out to build a brand and spun up the promotional whirl, the thing that holds it all together is the Circle of Trust. Without it, it all comes crashing down. With it and judicious inputs to influence it you can keep it building. Trust allows you to influence Brand but you can never completely control it.

A flywheel instead of a funnel

Jon Dick, in a blog for Hubspot, explained how a new model, the flywheel replaces the familiar funnel putting a new spin on customer acquisition and retention. Jon relates the strength of the flywheel to how it maintains and increases trust as well as the momentum you need to keep things spun up.

A flywheel approach forces you to align all your marketing and sales efforts because any friction can slow the flywheel and wear trust down. In Jon’s words: “…your flywheel produces more growth as your customer count increases. If you can add ‘density’ to those customers, by getting them to adopt more of your products or be more ‘sticky’ even more momentum and growth can be achieved.”

Brand is Built on Moving Parts

Brand is the sum total of perceptions about your company, product or service from all the publics that are aware of you. It is an expression of trust built on a complex set of factors that must be considered. Here are the elements that will make up the program I’m preparing:

  • Vision (from Lightning in a Bottle)
  • Mission (from Lightning in a Bottle)
  • Prospect Viewpoint
  • Value Proposition
  • Profitable Niche
  • Position
  • Persona (a core of Trust wrapped around with Product, Price and Passage (Distribution) encased in a Name
  • Promotional Whirl (Trust Tools and Spin Tools)
  • Performance
  • Perception
  • Prospect Feedback
  • The Circle of Trust

You can see my dilemma. But I’m doing my best. In a week or two this program will be available. Will it be easy? No. Will it work? Yes, as well as the user wants it to. The key here is that I’ll be right beside you in spirit and the program will be changed over time as we find the difficult parts that need more elucidation. And, if you get really hung up the folks at Ingomu will make it easy to contact me direct.


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

Brand is an Opinion

Elephant in the room--social media

A tempest in teapot dome

An op-ed in the New York Times generated multiple Tweets and comments from the President.

The piece, authored by an anonymous person claiming to be a senior white house official said: “Although he was elected as a Republican, the president shows little affinity for ideals long espoused by conservatives: free minds, free markets, and free people. At best he has invoked these ideals in scripted settings. At worst he has attacked them outright.”

The President was incensed saying in a tweet:  “,,,if the gutless anonymous person, does indeed exist, the Times must, for national Security Purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” Later he tweeted one word: Treason.

An opinion is not treason

I’ve long held that Brand is the sum of all the perceptions about a company, product, service or, in this case person. Successful brands listen to what their customers, prospects and all the other publics think, feel and believe about them. Why is it that people of a Fascist bent identify any opinion different from their own as treachery? The self-centered believe that their viewpoint is reality and all others are fake, phony and in the old days would call for the phrase, “off with their heads!”  That, in part, is why the United States was founded.

Make America Great Again

That singular phrase uttered over and over to this day is the Brand that got the President elected. It is the one he is spewing in support of his minions for the mid-term elections and no doubt will carry into the next presidential election.

Take a hard look at that phraseology. On the surface it is just a slogan. I urge you to look deeper.

The assumption is that America is not what it used to be. That is true. Once we were heralded as a nation governed by law who welcomed “the huddled masses yearning to be free.” No more. Now we imprison children with little hope of them ever being returned to their families. We turn hunted people away sending them to their deaths. There are claims that they are all criminals. Sorry, the facts don’t support that allegation made in the highest office in the land.

The slogan seems like a positive harkening for a more idyllic time. But if you’re a racist, sexist or convinced your religion is the “right one” it means that the office seeker is one of you. You may call yourself a conservative but the real conservative in my opinion believes in Free minds, Free markets and Free people.

I’m at liberty 

So are you. You are at liberty to try to build a brand. You are at liberty to judge other’s labors in that regard. No one has the right to seek legal action against you for your opinion.  Just as clearly, no one can disagree with the President for stating his opinion. But if he seeks government action against anyone on his opinion alone he needs to be stopped. Legally.

The once and future brand

There are some that say this country was never one that was the brand some people believe in.  That, in part, is true. Even after the Civil War we still had segregation. Even in the second world war antisemitism  was rampant. Today we refuse to acknowledge the migrant farm workers that come into the country across the southern border. Those that claim these people are taking their jobs regularly refuse to work in the fields.

There are those that still believe the doors should have been closed after their ancestors immigrated here seeking a better life. That way lies disaster. When we close the door we shut off the power to maintain what makes America Great.

It is not a time in the past. It is not when we turn our back on the world. It is not when we meet desire with enmity.

What makes America Great is free minds, free markets and free people.


Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry 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

Personal Brand Behind the Mask

Do Beats Say

93/% of personal communication takes place without speech.  Your gestures, tone of voice body language and tone are more powerful than your words.

Say What?

Some people think that means that if you can’t see them, they can make you believe anything. They go on-line and represent themselves as an expert, a guru, a talent or a tempest because they think you won’t be able to view their reality.

Seeing Is Believing.

Unfortunately, sooner or later in their quest for fame or familiarity they will provide a visual be it still or video that will give the reader/viewer pause. They may not be able to tell you why saying, “It just doesn’t feel right” or “Something here just doesn’t match up.” Instead of the vision of wealth the masquer has been striving to project, a middle-class home or yard or neighborhood will be revealed.

All the protestations directed at making a persona impress and excite will begin to ring untrue. When the words and the pictures are at odds, the poseur has reached the end of their run. Each of us will feel that bull-shit alarm rousing the neighborhood.

Behind the Mask

The internet does not provide a mask. It puts a cap on what we can do in person. It limits that easy believability. The online portrait you paint is never perceived as a photograph. It is seen as an over-retouched bit of fakery. You in person is at least 12 times more effective. An airbrush cannot make you perfect. It can “fix” one image but it cannot completely clean up a video. That is when the ruse crumbles. You are much better off going in “warts and all” if you want to be trusted.

Seeing the Truth

The basis of a personal brand is your personality, your real personality. All of us have what we see as blemishes. We usually have stronger beliefs about them than those that know us well. Whether you believe you have flaws of character or physique or both you need to stop fixating on them.

Suck it up. Get real. Work on those perceived faults. Compare that mask you’ve been presenting with the real you. Yes, there is a difference. Ideal is not real. Perfect is an opinion. All the folks out there will decide what and who you are. They will take into account what they see and what you are striving to be if you let them see you.

Trust Yourself

I know how tempting it is to tighten the ties of the mask and take the stage. I’ve spent enough time on the platform to have concluded that the more of yourself you reveal the more positive response you will garner. When I speak on Trust I tell audiences that in today’s world they need to trust:

  • Their Companies
  • Their Staff
  • Their Customers

And

  • Themselves

Trust yourself.

Be yourself in person and on line.

Live fully…free of the mask.


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.Jerry Fletcher, Speaking in olombia

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

 

Brand, Trust & Blockchain

Unknown is unbranded.
Brand is, in my view, an expression of Trust. If I haven’t heard of you or your product or service, you are a commodity. Nothing separates you from the pack. But, introducing yourself to me appropriately can give you instant panache.

That won’t happen with every prospect. More frequently in today’s world they are going to look you up on-line. They will Google you and run down the items that pop up on the first page of the search. Try it on yourself. Just type in your name and look at what comes up.

You are not invisible
I have a large body of work that has been published on the internet now but there was a time that a Mel Gibson movie called Conspiracy Theory where he played a character with my name was just about everything on that first page.  That I didn’t mind.

Comments are currency
There is a tendency to review businesses, sometimes with scathing comments. That goes with the territory. It can be helpful or devastating depending on the level of acid. The problem is that you have no real control over these entries in the debit column and no way to add credits that directly connect.

You need to put solid testimonials on your web site as a partial counter. You need to correct the fault mentioned in the review. You need to find a way to assure you are trusted.

Can you find a way to get back to the one-to-one level of confidence you once enjoyed with ever customer? We are getting closer. The answer is called Blockchain Technology.

It started with cryptocurrency.
The Cyberpunk reaction to Wall Street’s control of banking and subsequent disastrous consequences on world finances was to continuously search for a way to take the control of the double entry accounts out of the bank’s hands and put them on a digital platform.  Bitcoin, although it did not meet the developer’s criteria did introduce the idea of Blockchain.

Technology for trusting strangers.
Like a lot of brilliant ideas the concept is simple. Implementation ain’t so easy. Those ledgers that keep track of who owns what have been around in principle since the Medici Bank was set up in 1397. Blockchain removes them from a central location and puts them in shared distributed digital files. The files are shared on a worldwide peer-to-peer network so there is no central authority. Once a record is updated, the change cannot be reversed, falsified or erased. It is permanent. Every person in the network has their own copy of the shared ledger and those copies remain the same.

Why is that important?  For the first time in history it may be possible to create a public record of who owns what that is not managed by a third party and cannot be changed by a single individual or organization. In other words, you could sell your intellectual property or a product to someone you’ve never met with complete trust on both sides of the deal. You could write a contract that executes based on an outcome you and that stranger had endorsed before the fact.

There’s an app for that
An underlying program called Ethereum has become the darling of the Blockchain enthusiasts. Essentially it allows blockchain developers to decentralized applications on top of it. Current offerings are being developed in three areas I know of : Asset transfer, Supply chain proof and smart contracts.

Yes, it is early days. Yes, it is a huge promise. Yes, the digital world is never as direct and obvious as we expect. But consider these simple facts:

  • 1969 The first message was sent and received over Arpanet the predecessor to the Internet.
  • 1978 marked the first test of Cell phones in Chicago.
  • 1985 The Well, a dialup chat and networking site, was established. This is the grand-daddy of all social networking sites.
  • 1988 Eudora, the first user-friendly e-mail program was released.
  • Google was founded in 1998
  • Linked In (now owned by Microsoft) launched in 2003
  • YouTube launched in 2005 (Google paid $1.65 Billion for it in 2006.)
  • In the last 30 years we have gone from zero to more than a half of the world’s population being on the internet

Are you ready for the next 30 years?


­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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

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.

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.

Fascination

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.

Engagement

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?

Trust

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 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

 

Is Your Brand “Strangely Familiar?”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Connecting

There is a point in time when your product is not a known quantity. People may not have an idea what it is and what it does. They need a way to wrap their mind around it. They need something familiar to connect to the strange. Here are some examples:

  • Horseless carriage
  • Digital camera
  • Flat Screen TV
  • Big box store
  • Electric car
  • Selfie stick
  • Virtual reality

That is the way to get hordes of people to comprehend what you offer. Those descriptions came from multiple directions. “Horseless Carriage” was first heard on the streets as the first automobiles were introduced. The” Digital Camera” dates back to the 1950s and is a spin-off of video camera design! The electric car was “invented” by multiple people starting in 1828. Today’s versions tend to be “hybrids” a combination of gas and electric but if fueling and range can be corrected an “all-electric” could be the coming thing.

This just in (sort of)

More recent additions to the above list might be:

  • Self-driving car.
  • Rollerblades
  • 3-D Printer

In every case, the familiar is combined with the strange to forge connections in our minds. Without such verbal equations we don’t have a shorthand term for the unknown product or service.  We don’t have a way to remember an offering.

It is all timing

There is a time in your life and that of the product or service you market that it needs to be strangely familiar and cited as “The.” The Selfie Stick, The rollerblades. The snowboard. If you’re lucky that yields a brand.  Later on you may have to add another word in order to protect your panache. Then you become “The original” as in The Original Pancake house,  The Original denim jacket and The Original Networking Ninja .

Factoring the familiar

Sometimes you need to add a little strange to make the familiar more powerful. That’s where Instant Brand and 30-Second Marketing come into play. Memorability can be added to anyone’s response to the question, “What do you do?”

Over the years I’ve used these responses:

  • Marketing Rainmaker (my original consulting title)
  • Networking Ninja (I’ve been speaking under that sobriquet and owned the URL since 1990)
  • Brand Poobah has been one of my titles for the last couple years as people kept asking me to help them with their Brand

Marketing, Networking and Brand are descriptive but not words that will tickle your little grey cells. Rainmaker says I can change your marketing and your life. Networking Ninja has a marvelous consonance and infuses expertise. Brand Poobah says expert but with a bit of tongue in cheek fun. All three are much more unforgettable than they were before the strange was added.

Want to make yourself “Strangely Familiar?”

Call me. 503 957-7901


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

 

Brand is Bias, Big Time

Nothing controls how you feel about things, right?

Guess again.

Decisions are not logical

Right down there in the bottom of your brain in the part called the amygdala is where all your emotions slosh around to make the decisions you can’t believe you made. As much as we wish the economists were right, humans do not make logical decisions. We decide based on feelings and then attempt to rationalize what we’ve done.

Bad ass biases

Is there something under those emotions that pushes us one direction or another?

You bet. It is called bias. All of us have them. Some are so accepted that we rarely notice them.

Smell      I’ve read that smell is the most primitive of our senses, the one most directly linked to our unwitting biases. Ever noticed how the smell of a bakery can lure you into the store? Does the smell of fresh mown grass make you think of a picnic by the lake? It’s hard to imagine being in the lobby of a movie theater without smelling fresh popped popcorn. Right?

Sight  We are a visual culture. Color alone can create a bias. It can have different meanings in different cultures. Red, in the west means stop or danger. But in China it is the color of life celebration worn on New Years, weddings and funerals. Yellow is a joyous color except in France, where yellow signifies jealously, betrayal, weakness, and contradiction. Blue holds more connotations than any other color around the world extending from depression to elation. Green is generally associated with earth, plants and new life. But be careful. In some South American cultures it is the color of death. Purple, early on, was a symbol of wealth but as the dye was more readily available it came to have other meanings. Now it is the color for funerals is common across Europe and South America.

Be sure the colors you use have the meaning you want in the culture where the brand will be sold. A bias against the color you choose could torpedo your product introduction.

Sound  it is easy to think that songs sung in English using western instrumentation and notation are the world standard. As ubiquitous as that sort of music is, it is not all that is out there. There is still tremendous pride and emotional linkage to native approaches around the world. And that power is possible to put to work for a brand. Think about how often melodies crafted in Vienna in another century set the mood for a perfume or high-end jewelry. Can you resist the rhythms of dance from Celtic to Flamenco to Argentine Tango?

The sound of a child crying gets attention in every culture. Even in the backwater of the third world, the sound of a jet taking off, a car being started or a soft drink pour are recognized. The sound that is familiar and fits with your brand can help build the bias you want.

Touch  this sense is the first to develop in the human fetus. Differences in the perception of touch around the globe are a minefield but gestures and body positions that do not involve touch can be just as dangerous. Have a native of the culture check touching, gesturing or body positions in every photo, video or other visual representation you intend to use.

In Korea, the touch of a woman’s skin is how great beauty is described. Each culture describes skin and the results of skin treatments differently Can you use the terms the natives are biased toward?

Taste There are some common denominators and some that can be found mystifying. Most of us can sense sweet, salty, sour, bitter, hot and cold. But what is described as good or tasty, delicious or disgusting is completely variable by culture.

Do not even think of taking a food product from one country to another without first checking with specialists in the target company. Chees is not big on China’s idea of great imports. Hamburgers will not go over with the general populace of India.

Bias goes beyond the senses.

All of us use biases to explain why we like a specific brand. The experience we have with the organization that sells it may generate the bias we call preference. Starbucks is a good example of a bias like that. A brand that gives us a rationale for being part of a group that uses it can turn fandom into fantastic profits. Examples include Porsche, Rolex, Apple and Canondale.

We can be biased toward any product that solves the problem we have If it meets our resolution criteria and understands the emotions we feel about a solution. What brand comes to mind for you?


Jerry at Cafe in Venice

Jerry at a cafe along a canal in Venice.

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­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