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

Positioning Versus Branding

The return of:

The Marketing lunch bunch

“So I did a search and all these ads for hotshot designers came up, I said. They equate a logotype with a brand. Has the world gone mad?”

Bubba took a sip of his draft and just chortled. “Ol son,” he said with a tiny southern twang, “Hope springs eternal. The good lord set the task of namin’ things to them as was in the garden and we been tryin’ to do right by him ever since. Those youngins just don’t understand that a brand is about reputation as much as anythin’ else.”

Kate looked over her glasses at him, harrumphed and said, “Reputation is only part of it. It starts with a name, one people can remember and with products or services they want to buy…maybe. But if you treat them badly, if your sales people don’t listen and help them you won’t get a chance to have a reputation.”

Chris added, “And it doesn’t make a bit of difference if it is on line or brick and mortar. Every time we run a test the biggest jump in conversions comes from making it easy to get the information they want in the way they want to get it depending on where they are in the sales cycle. In some cases we know they want to talk to somebody that is knowledgeable right then and there. Even if you don’t get the sale, you need to be helpful because they don’t forget.”

Gail kicked me under the table and said, “Fletch, aren’t you going to say anything about positioning?”

“Okay,’” In my view it all starts with knowing everything you can about possible customers and deciding what your mission is going to be with regard to those customers. Your mission is a touchstone for you and the people that work with you to deliver the product or service. The unique way you present that product or service to prospects, and the world for that matter is your position. If you adhere to those two things, especially if they are in sync, you will build trust. See video here

Trust is at the core of what you offer a potential customer. It is wrapped round by the product, the price, the passage or distribution methods you choose and then wrapped in a name. Yes, people remember the name and the logotype for it. They can remember a personality and associate a lifestyle with that name.

But Brand is not something you decide. It is the sum total of what customers, prospects and others come to believe about you. Your brand is what they think not what you would like it to be.”

Bubba, began clapping and said, “You’re mamma raised no dumb children ol’ son. My job for most of my days has been trying to get clients to understand what their brand really is. You just said a mouthful and the most important part is that Trust is at the core. Everything I do in the way of promotion is to build and maintain that trust.

_____________________________________________________________________

Jerry FletcherWhy a dialog blog?

  • Because I can
  • Because I want to share
  • Because I like to entertain as I convey knowledge
  • Because the characters are conflations of real experts
  • Because it forces me to look at business development through multiple lenses
  • Because many of my former readers are hectoring me about bringing them back…especially Bubba
  • Because it is fun.
  • Because I prefer conversations to commercials. (Yes it is written in American English and one sort of regional dialect. If you don’t understand, ask me. That is the beauty of being on www.beBee.com Let’s connect there.

_____________________________________________________________________

Jerry FletcherJerry Fletcher is 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 on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

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

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

Three Scary Brand Questions

I told them I was going to make them uncomfortable.

# Scary Brand QuestionsA client asked me to speak to the students in the college level class he is teaching. He asked that I give them some basics about brand which they will be able to apply to change viewpoints about themselves and the departments they lead. These are guys and gals that want to become CIOs.

My advice came from these three questions:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. Why should I care?

I’ll bet answers don’t flow swiftly off your tongue.

That’s because we don’t think this way. Take the first question. Most of us begin with our name. Some go on to tell you their title and the organization they work in. Others tell you where they were born or grew up. Ex-military usually say so. Each of us answers differently and in doing so reveal a great deal about our personalities. Often, if people just wait you’ll reveal occurrences in your child hood that changed you for life.

You can’t hear what you are saying.

Yes, you may be able to repeat the words. But what is the meaning hidden within? Why was that event in your childhood so important for the person you are now? What do the decisions you discussed have to do with how you are seen now?  Why did you reveal these things? How are you hoping the information will be used?

The trick is to have someone tell you what you told them.

Suddenly, you will see yourself as others see you. That is what Personal Brand is all about.

You are not an “elevator speech.”

What you do is not who you are.  In North America, “What do you do?” is the most asked question. Unlike other parts of the world we tend to equate the two. www.beBee.com may help you cure yourself of this.

Conversation or Commercial?

Major corporations hire me to teach their executives how to Network. All of them assume I’m going to teach some form of Elevator pitch. I don’t. Wouldn’t you rather have a conversation than have someone blurt a commercial at you? 30-Second Marketing makes you more memorable, builds trust in you and lets you know when you should ask, “What do you do?”

I used to answer: “I build websites that make rain.”

So what?

That is the question my sales mentor asked me. You’d do your pitch and he’d say” So What? Why is that important to the customer?”

I responded, “You know how since your niece or nephew went off to college you can’t change your web site? What we do is build you a site that you can change words and pictures on as much as you like. And we’ll be sure you can’t screw up the navigation.”

Good Question.

“Why should I care?” makes it easy to picture a prospect thinking that. Usually manners keep them from actually saying it.  But they think it…just like you do when someone obviously doesn’t understand your interest (or lack of it). Next time you begin to list features and benefits, Stop. Ask, as if you were them, “Why should I care?”

When it comes to Brand you’ve got to speak in their terms, not yours.

Get Scary.

Partner up with a friend. Answer the three questions. Give each other honest feedback. Notice how your brand becomes easier to understand for you as well as your friend, not to mention prospects, clients/customers and colleagues.


Jerry Fletcher is a beBee Ambassador and founder/Grand Poobah of www.BrandBrainTrust.com

His consulting practice, founded in 1990, is known for Brand development, Positioning and business development on and off-line. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.

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

Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at http://www.brandbraintrust.com/home.html

 

 

Trust is the Strongest Link for Consultants

“At least once a year I look at how I’m marketing my own practice,” I said

“This year I looked at all the ways to link suspects, contacts, prospects and such to my digital assets.” Brand as central to link strategy

Gail, our resident writer who is always looking for the facts, sounding like a TV cop asked, “So what social media did you put on the list?”

“Well,” Rick offered, “I’ll bet he picked on the usual suspects—Linked In, Facebook and Twitter and maybe a little bit of old-fashioned direct mail since he ran operations in my direct marketing agency for a while.”

“That’s good as far as it goes,” I replied. “I looked at Instagram, too.”

Bubba snorted. The branding Buddha dripped southern disdain as he said “Instagram– isn’t that the chile of Facebook from the wrong side of the sheets?”

Gail snickered and said, “Kind of, but it’s closer to the photo album the Momma wanted to share.”

“In any case,” I said, “you have to have a business page on Facebook in order to put ads on it and you use Facebook tools to build the ads.”

Chris, our young Digital Director for a training outfit said, “What you decided to do with each of them is what is important. Is it possible you’re about to take the plunge into ubiquity?”

Bubba drawled, “You getting’ uppity boy? I know there’s some new blown theory about being ‘present everywhere’ in the digital world. Tha’s why some brands are so well known. And it has more to do with all kinds of media than just the on-line stuff.”

“You’re right again my cracker friend,” I said. “I ran some tests on-line. You remember that old data that linked awareness to preference? Well the tests showed the rule of thumb is true. The difference is you can get the results a lot quicker.”

B@B Purchase process

Chris asked, “Did the numbers work out the same?”

“It’s too early to tell on the longer term items but from Awareness to Preference to Trial is pretty much the same,” I replied. “This is really more about human nature than media. Just because we have more ways of reaching people doesn’t change the way people operate.  The better they know you the more they trust you. If they trust you they respond.

What it does do is force you to look at broadening your approach slightly and to be present enough in any media you use to generate the critical awareness that leads to success down line. It means you have to be very cognizant of your brand across all the media and make sure that all the things you do are linked.”

The Takeaway:

Digital advertising response goes through the same phases as non-digital…just a little faster.

Human response based on trust is what to monitor if you want to make money…not the media.

Your brand is the linchpin of all your promotions. Link everything to it.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

 

 

Mission, Position and the Customer Journey

30-Second Marketing for Consultants Part 2

Chris said, “So 30-Second Marketing has four parts: Hook ’em, Hold ‘em, Pitch ‘em and Close ‘em.

Y’all can take that to the bank, youngster,” drawled Rob. “And when a Georgia Boy lays that on you it is certain true, no doubt.”

Pathway to purchase“The problem,” said Chris is I’m not really clear on how it is different from a Mission or a Position.”

“Foah starters it’s got more movin parts. It’s like the difference ‘tween flinging a beastie into the briar patch and roundin’ up the hounds to go huntin come sunset.”

Rick asked, “Fletch, since you originated 30-Second Marketing (See Part 1) would you please translate what the southern fried branding Buddha just scrambled?”

Mission versus Position versus 30-second Marketing

“Sure,” I replied. “A Mission is for all the folks that need to trust a firm, product or service. A Position is a way to quickly tell suspects, prospects, customers and clients why they should put you first. Usually those will be words in print and there is no opportunity for interaction.

30-Second marketing is about a conversation rather than one of those brief summaries intended to make you memorable in as few words as possible. It encourages interaction.”

Gail, the copywriter and editor in our midst, piped up, “30-Second Marketing is a conversation, not a commercial. You need to invest significantly more time and imagination in crafting your answers than you might think.”

The Path to Purchase (Customer Journey)

Rob’s honey-warm voice slid in. He said, “My friend Gail is tryin’ to sugar coat the fact that it will take a good bit o’ skull sweat to get it right. Moah importantly, you need to get to know your prospect real well. You need to know where he or she is on the Path to Purchase and what is important to ‘em at that point. Don’t matter if it is one person, a couple or a committee, you got to get inside their heads.”

Gail said, “I like that description Bubba. Usually it’s what people call the Customer Journey but Path to Purchase is a lot more direct way to put it. And from my experience I believe that would be easier for folks that aren’t communications pros to understand.”

“I agree,” I said. It took me quite a bit of time to explain the customer journey to some clients the other day. And even when they got it there was difficulty in getting to the level of detail that can influence buying decisions. Something as simple as knowing that a new company was formed by execs from the leading company in the field can make  huge difference. Sometimes, the simple revelation of how you access one of the features of a product can close the sale.

The Takeaways:

Mission and Position are print reminders to make you, your product or service memorable.

The Path to Purchase is the steps your customer/client goes through in order to make the decision to buy.

The more intimately you understand the Path to Purchase the more compelling you can be in every phase of the sale…including 30-Second Marketing.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry, The Consultant’s Communication Consultant, is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

Delving Into The Dark Side

“Human beings are built that way” Rob drawled. “They can be lured to the dark side so easily. ‘Course it doesn’t hurt if he thinks the sun comes up just to hear him crow.”

Once again, our brand guru fueled on grits turned my mind around before I sat down.

Rob, I said, “What are you talking about? I know the new Start Wars opened last night but somehow I think it is something else you’re trying to convey.”Yin Yang & Dark side

“Fletch,” he said, that string of movies always has a fair amount of concern about the dark side so naturally I was talking to Rick about how that gets used in his direct marketing business and that led to politics and, well, that’s when you came in.”

“Okay,” I replied, “so the roadmap here is dark side to direct marketing to politics. Is that right”

Rick piped up and said, “That’s the short and not so sweet of it. Basically he’s saying that the way folk’s minds work it is really easy to get to them with the dark side not to mention that he thinks folks like Chris and I are experts at using photos and copy to exert an outrageous influence over most prospects.”

Kate, ever the pragmatic sales expert cleared her throat. Everyone swung to look at her.

She sniffed and said, “Don’t you all know by now when he’s about to spring one of those tar baby stories on you? He’ll lead you right down the primrose path and then snicker when he gets you to fling him into the briar patch. Don’t you know that’s where he grew up? He understands Brand because he has more than a nodding acquaintance with the dark side.”

You could hear the clock on the wall behind Gail ticking it got so quiet.

Gail, our writer/editor/campaign builder said, “Could you spell that out a little more for me?”

“Sure,” Kate said. “Name an iconic brand. I’ll bet you come up with Apple and Starbucks and maybe Google and a handful of others. Can you tell me one that set out to be an icon? Can you tell me one that had a mission statement that set them apart?CAn you tell me one that doesn’t have some contribution from the dark side?”

Rob said, “She’s right. All of them fell into it. In fact the iconic Apple commercial that ran in the 1984 Super Bowl had a suit filed against it by the estate of George Orwell. The commercial is considered to be one of the best of all time but it nearly did not get aired. The board of Apple wanted to kill it. Fortunately, that was a case of the dark side not winning. The agency defied a direct order to sell the time that had been purchased in the Super Bowl. They drug their feet long enough that the only thing left to do was run the commercial. That commercial got flung in the briar patch but still got aired.

Some people claim that Apple was introduced with the line “Think Different. Not so. The Think Different campaign came years later. That was in 1998. Originally, Steve Jobs was to be the voice over on the commercial but he felt people might believe he was an egomaniac. Right.

The dark side is always with us. It is a part of every brand. Theah’s a Chinese symbol that really makes it clear. Everything has positive and negative aspects. At the core of both the light and dark sides is dot of life spun up in the ongoing battle which describes the reality of any idea or company or organization. It is messy. There is always a dark side. It can be the basis of the brand or its downfall.

You can’t go all the way to the dark side or the light. Too much of either and you will crash and burn. The power is in adhering to the key precepts and acknowledging what got you here.

The Takeaway:

Brand is being perceived for a few key precepts by yourself, your employees, your customers and the general public. Brand is developed by those knowing full well that nothing is perfect and that there is always a dark side.


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Sign up for the blog and other publications at: www.JerryFletcher.com/Profit.html

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

 

Huggin’ and Chalkin’

Business Development

I arrived a little late and found our branding Guru in the middle of one of his southern fried soliloquys.

“So you see,” he said, “the answer is like my old friend Charlie would put it: You got to go to huggin’ and chalkin’ if y’all are gonna get anywhere in that situation.”

The others all looked just as confused as I felt so I asked, “huggin” and chalkin’ what does that mean?”

“Fletch,” he replied, “I was just talkin’ about solutions to the problem of getting a business from start-up to gettin’ profitable and how it was like my friend Charlie and his romantic intentions.”

“Okay,” I said, “I’ll bite. What’s the story Bubba?”

“We were talkin’ about that story you told last week about the company trying to get to a sustainable level of business and I allowed as how you don’t always have to go whole hog. It’s like my buddy Charlie’s approach to romance.

Charlie is a big ol’ boy He must be about 6 foot two barefoot and tips the scales somewhere about 220. He’s got rugged good looks, played a little football well enough to get a pro look. But he wasn’t interested in that so he took his degree and then went to law school. He’s practicin’ down in Atlanta these days.”

Kate asked, “Bubba what has all that got to do with building sales for a company?”

“Everything, Madame Sales consultant,” he said. “You see Charlie has a different viewpoint about women. As you might expect he is what is considered a very eligible bachelor. But he’s not into all those gals that are continually on diets. Evah hear of Plus size models? Charlie likes Rubenesque women. And his approach to them is what he calls huggin’ and chalkin.’

Just about like any woman, the ones he prefers like to be kissed all over but ever so often time doesn’t allow or other things come up or some distraction interferes so what he does is tell the lass that he’s goin’ to put a little mark on her where he had to leave off and come back to it later.”

There was a chorus of “What’s the point, Bubba?”

“Okay y’all, the point is he calls that Huggin’ and Chalkin’. It’s the same when you’re tryin’ to build a company on limited funds. You go as far as you can to build trusted relationships with the time and money you have making sure that anyone that becomes a customer knows you really care about them.

When you have more time or money or both you go back to huggin’ and bringing more folks to the party. But you never forget where you were. You put the current customers into a regular follow up process. You touch them regularly. You treat them with kindness, courtesy and make them feel loved. You find a way to be there for them. You can chalk all that up to building a brand and a business.”

The Takeaway
Building a business with limited resources can be done. You can reduce your acquisition actions but never eliminate them. Keep contacting your current customers regularly in order to retain them.


Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue. Look at the blog at: www.JerryFletcher.net

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Music Maestro

My questions, as I took my seat at an alfresco table where the others were already gathered was, “What is the musical theme of our group? Do each of us have a couple of notes that might identify us? What is the melody of this group?”

Piano for Music MaestroKate, our sales doyen put a hand on my forehead and said, “His temperature feels normal, but crazy doesn’t generate a fever, does it?”

“I’ve been thinking about this for a week,” I said. “I had my ears opened last Saturday. Arthur is one of my valued resources. He runs a very successful web site development company.

He is also a composer. (listen in here)

Last Sunday he revealed his work for a composer’s contest to a group of friends in a home concert. About 25 of us squeezed into his living room around a baby grand and were taken into his creative process.”

Rick asked, “What do you mean, taken in?”

“He literally walked us through how he developed a composition for this contest. This was one of those fortuitous situations when I was already thinking about music because a friend asked me what one thing I was going to do as a result of attending the National Speakers Association meeting in Washington D.C.My answer was I’m going to add intro music to my speaking website and my speaking introduction.

I’ve already got Arthur working on it.”

“Y’all know I couldn’t carry a tune in a bucket with a lid on it, said Rob, our branding wizard. But there’s things that music can do for a brand you cain’t do no other way. I may be a child of the south and I do like country rock but every kind of music can put a hex on you if it matches up with your perspective on a product or service. If it’s right, jus’ one or two notes touch the “wareness and preference centers in your brain.”

“You’re right on, Bubba,” I said. Arthur did variations on the theme that included a ragtime immediately followed by a tango. He made it silly and sad and joyous. In just a few minutes his composition took us on a life journey. Along the way he used that elusive ability of music to take us to places all of us have been and to show us how those emotions can be tapped into with as little as two notes.

”Gail asked, “Did he prompt you or just let you guess about the scores?”

“No prompting was required. He played two notes and all of us could see the fin breaking the water. He talked about how Star Wars had re-introduced the idea of a full movie score. He let us hear why we knew something foreboding was on its way and how music could help us envision someone on screen thinking about another character.”

Kate leaned back, took a pull on her iced tea and said, “So you’re suggesting that each of us has a theme and that somehow they combine to make a mini-symphony each time we gather.”

“No, I wasn’t but if I were producing these blogs as radio plays that would be a brilliant idea!”

The Takeaway:

Music has the ability to use your emotions to build memory hooks that resonate regardless of how long it has been since you heard as little as two notes.

______________________________________________________________________

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and the unruly mob of business development professionals he consorts with. They discuss marketing that works from solopreneur to enterprise level. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

 

Your Story Is What?

“We missed you last week. What were you doing?” asked our get right to it sales type, Kate, as I took my seat.

Statue of Knight on ledge“Since you must know,” I said, “I was talking someone down from a ledge.”

“Mistah Fletcher,” Bubba oozed in his best Georgia peach way, “that is no job for the likes of you in my humble opinion.”

“That depends” I replied, “on a number of things. First, how high was it? Second, why was he up there? And third, was there a fire company with a net handy?”

Chris suggested in his digital director way, “Sounds like your leading up to the topic of the day and it doesn’t sound a lot like marketing or sales or all the stuff we usually talk about.”

“You are so wrong my oriental mastermind friend,” I said. “The guy on the ledge was me and I had totally screwed up my first column for a major forum. I didn’t need a net because the founder/editor is a gentleman and knows how to get the best out of a writer.”

Gail leaned looked over her glasses in her writer like way and said, “Back up. What were you attempting to write about?”

“My premise was that every company has a story. Each of us has heard and I’ll wager told stories about our companies and those we have advised. Most of us have heard how ‘when it absolutely positively has to be here overnight’ came to be and the legend of ‘just do it’ and others.”

“So where did you go wrong?” asked Rick our Direct marketing guy.

“I’ll bet I can tell you where he got all cattywampus,” said Bubba. I’m thinkin’ he went off the tracks on either Persona or Plot Line.”

Rick smiled and said,  “I’ll do the Persona piece. My partner studied this for years. What he came down to was that there were only three or four personaes that work in a selling context. He called them archetypes. They are:

  • The Expert the person who has gathered the data, compiled the information, taken action to gain knowledge and with experience has come to wisdom.
  • The Knight who doesn’t know about something but goes looking to solve a problem and then reports back on the results of the quest.
  • The Collector who gathers experiences and along the way finds secrets that must, in his/her mind be shared. Sometimes the most powerful version of the Collector is a person reluctant to step into the limelight which makes the discoveries just that much more appealing.”

Rob said “Well done, Yankee!” He acknowledged Rick’s nod and went on, “Plot, according to Ray Bradbury is human desire let run, running, and reaching a goal. It cannot be mechanical. It can only be dynamic. Here are four plot lines that you are already familiar with if you’ve ever read a comic book, attended a Shakespeare play or sat through a George Lucas movie:

  • Challenge and Call can be a game of chance, a personal problem remedied or as simple as standing up to that voice on your shoulder. You respond to a negative situation and find your way out of it.
  • Transformation is the before and after story. It demonstrates the change you’ve learned which you can bring to someone else’s life or status or health or you name it.
  • Finder’s Sharers is when you relate the way you came upon something and the effect it can have for the buyer. A subset of this is often about revealing a secret discovered.
  • You and me against the world is a replay of the competitive thing that most business owners believe in. Just like the war of Yankee aggression, it divides the audience and will make some of them hardcore fans.

Theah’s more but that’s the bigun’s in the briar patch.”

“You guys hit the nail right on the head,” I said. “I went back to my notes on our discussions about stories and using them for corporate positioning and branding. It was all there. Thank you all for helping me down off the ledge.”


 

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and an unruly mob of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com

Go Where They Ain’t

“Go where they ain’t,” said Rob, the southern fried branding guru we lovingly call Bubba. Stand out from he crowd

Chris asked, “That is your great business development advice?”

“Yassuh,” said Bubba around a dinner roll slathered with butter. I’ll give you examples from every part of marketing ‘cause that is advice you can take to the bank.”

“Okay,“ I said, “if we use the seven P’s model of Marketing I’ll just set them up one at a time. Is that okay with you?”

“Bring it on, Watson” said Bubba, “and if any of y’all want to jump in, feel free.

Prospect Viewpoint,’ I said, “out of all the people out there who buys or will buy your product or service and what do they think, feel and believe about it?”

Rick, our direct marketing expert said, “Let me take this one. If you really analyze both the demographics and the psychographics of buyers you’ll find that they have more than one reason for buying. Yes, one will be prevalent but reasons two and three are often just as viable as number one. You go where they ain’t by orienting your creative to one of those other reasons.

Profitable Niche is next. I said when he finished. A niche is a way to minimize competition with a focused portion of a market that requires a product or service that is outside the mainstream either in the need it meets or the design of the product or service. “

Gail, the copywriter volunteered, “you know how the whole world is now into mobile? Well I have seen that work out really well for two industries not known for it. Our vet’s practice is all house calls. And our computer guy lately seems to live in our spare bedroom/home office.”

Kate asked, “Are the virus’s attacking again?”

“Don’t get her started.” Rick said.

Positioning is the third item,” I said. It is how you differentiate yourself or your product or service.

Bubba cleared his throat and said, “I figure I oughta take this one ‘cause everybody confuses it with brand and names and logos and taglines and you name it. Positioning is how you tell people quickly and succinctly how our product or service is unique. The classic examples are: The Uncola for Seven Up or We try harder for Avis or when it absolutely positively has get there over night for Federal Express. All or part of it may appear in a tagline. It can be a product name. It will, overtime, be part of the brand.”

Persona is next, I see it as the heart of any business, the operational strategies. It is a core of trust wrapped round by Product, Price and Passage (distribution) encased in your name. Any one of the key elements can take you where they ain’t. For instance: The Chronotherm (the world’s first automatic setback thermostat). Or how about a fixed price to get a Pilot’s license or to integrate reporting software into your corporate systems. Consider a vending machine in orthodontist offices to dispense the most common items used. TWo of those I helped put in place and they are killer!

“Promotion Anybody

Chris said, “I’ll take it. The internet has changed things but mostly just added another channel. The easiest way to go where they ain’t is to use direct mail. Use has declined so it stands out. Yes, it costs more than e-mail but used in combination with on-line activities it can increase acquisition geometrically.

Performance is next, I said, “this is the way you, your company product or service interface with the client/customer/user.”

Kate, our sales doyenne said, “Got it. Have humans answer the phone. Actually help people find a competing product. Provide content that actually helps. Listen to your sales force when they tell you what people are saying about you and competitive products. Make it easy to opt out. Basically just treat people the way you’d like to be treated.

Perception is the last one,” I said. “Bubba will you do the honors since Brand is your baby?”

“Sho’ nuff. Brand is the sum total of all the ways you or your company, product or service wind up on folks’ radar. What you want to have happen is for folks tell others Look what Mama gimme!

The Takeaway:

Be different. You can do it with a name, a product, a distribution channel, pricing, delivery, after sale support, positioning, finding a niche. The better you understand your customer/client/user, the easier it will be.

Jerry Fletcher’s blog recaps conversations with clients, prospects and an unruly mob of business development professionals. They discuss what’s new, what’s old, what’s good, bad and ugly plus creative thinking to find what works. Jerry Fletcher is the ringleader and “Watson” of the dialogue.

Jerry has been researching and implementing small business marketing that builds businesses, careers and lives of joy for 25 years as President of Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Learn more at www.JerryFletcher.com

Schedule a personal appearance. Jerry speaks internationally on Networking, Marketing and Contact Relationship Magic. www.NetworkingNinja.com