The Little Guy Brand Advantage

Relationships are the heart of the advantage.

Twice this week I’ve seen research reports that verify what brand experts have been saying for years:

“Small brands have a distinct advantage in gaining the trust and loyalty of consumers.”

Those of us the that work with the “little guys” know it is true. What the research verifies is that the advantage accrues in both the Business to Consumer and the Business to Business World.

Trust is a complication

According to the Edelman 2018 Trust Barometer, Trust in traditional media, search engines and social media varies around the world. Here in the USA, Trust in Traditional media is at best neutral (58%), in search engines at 54% and in social media declining, now at just 30%.

Trust Building: Advantage Little Guy

The bond between brands and people favors small businesses:

  • Customer service is the number one way to the heart of a today’s consumer
  • Direct conversations are considered more truthful than advertising
  • Social media is essential to discovering new brands and building an emotional relationship
  • Brands expected to pressure platforms to address fake news and hate speech
  • Brands are obligated to protect personal data (89% in the USA)

Customer Service

Service to the customer is part and parcel of the small business. Just about anyone in the small operation will help you or point you to someone who can. That is the everyday experience. It can be even more impressive when you have problem.

Small businesses generally can’t afford setting up technology heavy customer service departments. The likelihood that you will talk to a real person without having to go through an interminable automated phone message system is high. The probability that the person you talk to will be able to act on your problem without deferring for an approval is significantly higher than you’ll find dialing into the big guys. Even if the matter must be referred to a supervisor you’ll get a resolution now instead of waiting days.

Direct Conversations

Major brands advertise at you. Small brands build relationships. Would you rather have a conversation or hear a commercial? Small brands, particularly as they are beginning get to know you. As they grow they get to know a lot of folks like you. The thing is, for them a lot is a business. The same number for a big business is a drop in the bucket.

So the little guys tend to talk with you, not at you. They understand why you want to eat the whole half-pint of ice cream or how you like your Latte in a mug not paper without having to ask for it. They have listened when you told them you prefer text or e-mail to learn about special sales or events. They pay attention because they know this relationship is important to both of you.

Social media

All brands must act to:

  • Give customers a better deal for their data
  • Create trusted content on social media
  • Join forces to build trust in social media

Those are not my words.  They are straight out of the Edelman report. 

The deal: What they mean is that the consumers/customers expect their personal data to be kept safe, that policies are clear, and that it is okay to build a relationship using that information.

The content: Builds credibility through quality, well designed material that is transparent as to author and sponsorship. Allows opt in/opt out. Stays consistent using the same message across media.

The trust: Brands, along with government and help from consumers are expected to be proactive about data and privacy, create and champion quality content, act with integrity, transparency and humanity.

Brand Obligations

The most recent hate speech reaction of note was from one of the big guys. Nike supported Colin Kaepernick’s taking a knee during the national anthem. Initially the reaction was disbelief. But among the Nike customers the reaction was extremely positive. Nike had a solid relationship which made the decision an obvious one.

Protecting your personal data is not an easy task for the little guy. True, they may have less information and it may be in human memory initially but sooner or later it will wind up in a contact relationship management database.  Even then, it may be easier to preserve as it is too small for hackers to go after it. But, the availability of highly secure cloud storage may partially solve that problem.

Little guy? Build your relationship with clients and customers.

You’ll generate trust and loyalty to build your business and the joy in your life.

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 00

When they don’t know what they don’t know

Arrogance + ignorance is dangerous!

This morning a client and I were doing videos for his upcoming weekly Newsletters for the C-suite.

We were providing advice to overcome problems that center on the combination of arrogance and ignorance that occurs in new senior managers when they don’t know what they don’t know.

 “You’re right,” he replied, “what they don’t know they don’t know could cripple them and their companies.”

But it isn’t just the youngsters that have to watch out for that combination. It can happen regardless of your age, your gender, or any other demographic difference.

For instance, Price Waterhouse once reported results of a survey of CEOs of the 2000 largest companies. These executives were asked if they thought electronic commerce would “significantly change business.” Nearly 60% of them said yes.

Problem is, when asked if e-commerce would “reshape how they do business,” only 20% said, “Yes.” 

They believed that the net would impact business but not their business.

Ignorance and arrogance is the deadly combination. How can you avoid that trap? Here are some controls you need to incorporate into your business planning:

  1. Match your use of the web to your best customers and prospects. They will thank you for your concern and interest. You will have to exceed their knowledge just to stay even but it will be worth it as you maintain the relationship that brought you their business in the first place.
  2. Give your customers the choice between people and technology rather than making that choice yourself. The best example here comes from the financial industries where the specialized advice and information to buy and sell securities that was once the province only of brokers is now available to day traders. Yet, some of the organizations which initially offered their services via the net now find themselves opening brick and mortar offices.
  3. Your audience on the web, not you, will determine what they use… laptop, pad or tablet, smart phone and apps. It is critical to your success that your web site work with the lowest common denominator of software and hardware which your client and prospect base have available. If your customers use Mobile and texting, then make sure your web presence can be accessed that way. If, on the other hand, your customer base is confined to a group of web designers apt to have every plug-in known to man as well as the time and inclination to download your specialized software then offer it to them.
  4. Treat each customer individually. Every interaction on the web is one-to-one. That means that you can and should take the time to learn from them each time they contact you. Only in that way can your relationship grow into the trust that will build a loyal customer base. But be careful. Acquiring information you don’t use is just as bad as not asking at all.

Another thing to keep in mind is that people want to know why you’re asking and how you intend to use the information including whether or not you intend to sell it. Take the time to tell them.

Nothing is as important as getting to trust. To become the constant resource for your customers you need to offer useful content. But the context of the site and the service behind that site are the true value to the customer. In the final analysis, whether you do business on the net or in person this remains the same. Make sure your service rewards loyal behavior and that you maintain their trust by honoring it.

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 Loyalty is a Matter of Trust

Business people joining hands

I was three slides into an after-lunch keynote in Bogata, Colombia.

I had exhausted my Spanish and had switched to English when a gentleman about six rows back in the audience started waving wildly.

I acknowledged him and he said in heavily accented English, “No interpreter!”

I responded, “I will speak verrry slooowly.”

The entire audience, some 600 strong laughed with us. Moments later, the interpreter, speaking through the earphones the audience was wearing, apologized for being late.

The moral of that story is Confianza, Spanish for Trust. The audience member assumed I would trust him. The laughter of the audience said they trusted me and the organization putting on the conference. The interpreter’s apology sealed the deal.

Here’s the slide that was up.

Trust (Confianza) plus time equals success. That is as true today as it was 10 years ago.

But the point that followed it has proven to be prophetic.

Marketing today on and offline is about Trust (Confianza)

  • In yourself
  • In your staff
  • In your company
  • In your customer

Trust in yourself 
Just about every independent professional has that little voice that sits on your shoulder and insists that you are not really qualified or expert enough. Working through the steps of 30 Second Marketing can solve that for you and at the same time make you more memorable and easier to refer.

Trust in your staff 
If you’re a solopreneur that means structure your processes in such away that personal foibles don’t get in the way of getting the job done. If you’re a corporate manager it is similar but in this case the clarity of your directions to staff and allowing them to use creative problem solving based on pre-set criteria will make our life more joyous. Trust ‘em and both your personal and product related brand will rise in the customer’s view.

Trust in your company 
The organization you work for is not just a legal formality. If you’re a solo or partnership or ensemble there will be a brand associated with the organization. It will be the sum total of what people aware of the company think, feel and believe about it. Corporate manager? You, too, mus establish trust in the organization. That starts with you demanding to understand what the real objectives are and agreeing with the ethics of the outfit. Then you have to make that information understandable for your staff. Your company will have a brand whether one id wanted it or not.

Trust in your customer.
The customer has always controlled brand. In the Mad Men era, mass media wielded tremendous influence over what people believed. They trusted what those 60-second commercials had to say. Customers were loyal to a fault.

The internet altered that.

Today they can “shop around” for anything in seconds.

Today you have customers rebelling against traditional and digital marketing approaches.

  • To belong
  • To be respected
  • To be recognized

Today they are moved less by selling and more by understanding their needs:

Serving and rewarding their communities will build your brand and their loyalty.

They will make repeat purchases and refer you.

They will be willing to pay a 25% increase in price over the competition.

They will still wait for you to introduce a competitive product

The answer is to champion something 
It isn’t about you. It is about them and their values. Be careful. It is nearly impossible to go back after you commit without destroying the brand you’ve nurtured.


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 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

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

 

Trust, Brand and How to Get There

Brand is based on perceptions.

The greatest of these is trust.

If there is no trust, there is no positive brand. (Video Link) BUT there can be negative brand. Seldom if ever does a brand exist that is trusted by 100% of the populace. Even within the target audience for the product or service there will always be some that don’t get the message. There will be group that is not on board for many reasons chief of those being a negative experience.

Consider the current approval ratings of the Trump administration. More importantly, consider the desperate straits of leadership in the departments of the federal government where A and B list candidates are scorning appointments and refusing to serve.

When less than 50% of the population trusts you, you have a brand problem.

Trust and consequently Brand are dynamic.

Trust can change as quickly as new information becomes available and in today’s world that is just a tweet away. It doesn’t matter who tweets as we have seen over and over since Trump took office.

More importantly Brand can be impacted by any information presented to the audience whether it is “fair and balanced” or more blatant false news. The problem is that the same information causes diametrically opposed reactions depending on which part of the audience you poll. The level of Trust can shift just by which side presents the information.

Trust and Brand are situation specific

Either side, with privileged information, might have an advantage over the other. New information can reverse the situation. Sometimes the data can overlap. Whatever the truth may be, when the populace is divided and polarized the two sides will both claim victory and cite their perception of brand as righteous.

Even when one side is forced to retract their actions they will continue to claim their deeds were justified. Look at the comments that followed a judge’s ruling that the children of families seeking asylum here in the USA had to be returned to their parents.

Even the Trump oriented news organizations rightfully called it a backlash. What they aren’t mentioning is the backlash about treating asylum seekers as criminals. The most descriptive phrase for that is “anti-American.”

Trust and Brand are social or relational constructs.

That means that win or lose you have to play the game. If one side or the other refuse to engage the game is over. Only one brand will continue. If one side does not stand up for what it believes the other will slowly become dominant. Both sides need to be heard. Both need to listen. And both need to consider their actions as well as their words.

Trump advocates continue to say, “He’s doing what he said he would do.” That is true. How he is doing it is another matter. That is not going unnoticed. His loyalty to long term associates is being called into question now daily. Breeches of long-term American values are being noticed by everyone.

Getting to Trust and Brand is based on maintaining certain attributes over time.

The most important part of those components is credibility. People have to believe that your word is your bond. They want to believe they can believe you. To establish credibility you have to be real. you have to be trustworthy. And you need to be the same over time.

But being those things are dependent on how the audience perceives you. Right now, there are friends and neighbors of yours that will say that the current man in office meets all these qualifications. He is authentic. There are few if any like him. But he is not consistent. He is anything but. And when it comes to integrity, I would rather be his enemy than his friend. In short, I cannot trust him and for me that generates a negative brand.

Trust generates positive Brand.

You will have a Brand whether you want one or not.

A negative Brand will spawn terrorists that will do everything in their power to bring you and your organization/government/business down.

Yes, you can have a positive Brand and that will pay you dividends.

Positive Brand advocates will stay with you through the tough times refusing to buy in to another product or service or ideology. They will stay with you until you can match or beat the opposition as long as you don’t betray their Trust.

What is your stand on Trust and Brand?


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