Brand is Your True Colors

Brand is Your True ColorsThis week, the Brand Story that is front and center at Brand Brain Trust is about Jim Grew.

You can learn three valuable lessons by studying his Brand Success Story:

  1. Listen. Clients and prospects describe your brand in words that others like them understand.
  2. Show. Prospects want to know what you’re like and what it’s like to work with you. A video invitation and video testimonials on your web site puts them at ease.
  3. Tell. When you put your expertise into a book it can close the sale for you.

Full Disclosure: Jim is a client. We’ve been working together since 2012 when he decided to stop turning companies around and start consulting.

We’re getting ready to change his web site again.


Because we keep those three tips in mind.

We listen.

Jim listens to what his clients are saying and observing as he works with them building staff, approaches and analytics to transform their business. When the same phrase keeps popping up we know we have a description we can use.

I listen when I go in to capture the video testimonials. After a few minutes with my standard questions they relax enough to become quite candid often putting their words to concepts difficult to convey until they give us a way.

We show.

Jim’s web site is upgraded at least once a year, overall. The relevant testimonials and invitations to his services change as we come to understand the reasons most business owners are interested and the information they are looking for in order to make a decision.

I’ve rewritten every page of his sites multiple times in order to make it easier for prospects to begin connecting before they make a call. And we never forget that the objective is to generate positive observations that verify Jim’s qualifications and make it easy to get in touch.

We Tell.

Jim is better at consulting than he is at selling. So part of what we work on continually is 30-Second Marketing, the ability to have a conversation instead of doing a commercial. Not long ago, one of his clients used Jim’s positioning line (Business Defogger and Accelerator) in a presentation at a national convention about how Jim had helped to build his business to its greatest heights ever. The President of the largest company in the audience asked him after, “How do I get hold of this Defogger?”

That told me that the need for his services is not restricted to the Pacific Northwest. Now all I have to do is figure out how to tell all those potential clients!


Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of

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


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Brand is the Legendary Made Real

LegendaryBack when I lived in Minneapolis I had the pleasure of dealing with a media representative for the legendary magazine The New Yorker.  I acquired a taste for it when I was just starting in the ad game in New York.

Once, over lunch, he told me the story of how a little company in Medford, Oregon began selling fruit by mail. It seems a New Yorker Salesman had decided to drive to Portland and Seattle from San Francisco and he was making stops along the way to pitch his magazine. In those days it was beginning to develop the peculiar circulation it has to this day. Most of the print run goes to New York but it is also read by a solid coterie of subscribers in major cities and high income demographic towns across the country.

That little company in Medford was Harry & David. They decided to test a small space ad in the publication. They sold out their apple crop. Then pears. And the cherries. That was the beginning for them. They became a legend by selling fruit via direct ads and mail across the USA.

A few years ago my then wife and I went to the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland (just north of Medford in southern Oregon). We stayed at a delightful B&B. The first evening over wine, cheese and pears that were to die for we learned our host was also the marketing director of Harry & David. We talked of how that first ad had changed the lives of the partners but more importantly hundreds of people in the Rogue valley. He stressed the fact that the values that were in place for that first ad remained and would continue into the future.

They have.

Now I find myself living as my friends say, “where the sidewalk runs out” south of Portland. I’ve been a Harry & David Customer for more years then I care to count. I know a conglomerate bought them out a while back but the  buyers haven’t messed with what makes the company outstanding.

This year I had to change my order. Mom asked me to. She said she couldn’t handle all that they sent in the Fruit of the Month club since Dad died.

So I made the call. I found myself talking to Margaret who understood completely. She walked me through some options. Then we settled on regular fruit shipments but in smaller quantities. She quietly checked all the pertinent shipping data and then helped me with the rest of my list.

The service was legendary.

This is what it took to get me to say that:

  • People that want to help on the phone. NO pushy sales types. NO hard sells.
  • Catalogs in the mail because I’ve told them I prefer not to get an e-mail every day for a month after Thanksgiving.
  • Pertinent details of addresses and greetings kept on file so I don’t have to dig them out
  • Great Product.
  • No questions asked returns or changes if needed. Dad couldn’t eat grapefruit due to a medication conflict. Mom called them and a substitution was made even though it was requested well before needed.
  • People you come to know, like and trust.

It takes time, vision, values, consistency, honesty and real caring. That builds trust and the outcome is a legendary brand.

Legendary can help a product resonate. See the story of Time in a Bottle this week at


Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.


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How to Quantify Your Brand

BRand can be QuantifiedYou can’t quantify brand!

Or can you?

We collect brand stories and outcomes at Brand Brain Trust that frequently defy the idea that you can’t hang an analytic on Brand.

The latest addition to the web site tells the story of TSA Pre-Check. You’ll learn how this service offered by a company you never heard of came to Anvil, Portland’s award-winning integrated marketing agency. Anvil rose to the challenge of generating a specific number of sign-ups for the year. They finished Q2 by obliterating the goal for the quarter and surpassing the entire goal for 2016.

What does it take to quantify a brand?

  1. Clear measurable objectives.
  2. Triggers that get actions you can count
  3. Practical and emotional value

Measurable Objectives:

For TSA Pre Check it was a specific sales goal to be delivered within one year. You should definitely have a sales goal. But you might also consider:

  • Having a gateway. Try incorporating a hard to get to way to get in touch with you or enter your establishment that requires social research on the part of the prospect. Keeping count of those that pass through the gate is your key analytic but you could also look at sales per visit or the number of services utilized.
  • Identifying and targeting meetings with ideal clients. Consultants and coaches continually need to develop relationships with prospects. Setting a number to identify and make contact with makes sense. Both numeric goals can prove to be predictors of business growth when your closing ratio and Lifetime value become known.
  • Stop counting intangibles. Take a tip from Montessori schools and use concrete terms. If you count actual items sold or given away you’ll be better off than merely counting customers that entered your store or your website. But, when you combine the two you’ll find yourself figuring out how to add value to everyone that enters.

Triggers that get actions:

TSA Pre Check took advantage of long wait time headlines and the fact that prospects were searching for TSA  Pre Check on Google. Beyond Key Word Research you might look at:

  • Borrow interest from the news. Mars research by NASA spiked requests for Mars Bars in supermarkets when a rover mission was reported. Year over Year data and anecdotal reports quantified he sales increase.
  • Become part of your prospects daily grind. Have you noticed how your local McDonalds is now the McCafe or how KitKat bars are tagging along with coffee?
  • If you offer services, adopt the good, better and best pricing and product presentation. Give ‘em the bare bones that solves their problem for x dollars and call it Basic. Build a Premium package that is priced at 2x, delivers everything in the basic and also provides a real value. Then put together a Platinum program. Price it at least 6x and make sure it includes way more than the prospect might want. (that way, you can let them add individual items from it to your Premium plan and make almost as much for the add-on as for the Premium plan alone.

Build in practical and emotional value:

The practical value of TSA Pre Check is that you don’t have to stand in those long lines at the airport. The emotional value is that you don’t feel like you’re on the Bataan Death March anymore. Other ways you can take advantage of human nature:

  • Make sure that if your product depends on a connection to a story that “everyone knows” that you provide a hang tag for the product that recaps the story. You’ll find the Time in a Bottle story on the Brand Brain Trust web site next week. Without the hang tag your product doesn’t sell as well.
  • YouTube videos that get the most views tend to have the words “How To” in their titles. Those that go viral also “How To” (Google: How to shuck corn) Other possibilities include questions like “Will it Blend?” or “Will it Crush?” from Arnold Shwarzenegger with over 4 Million views.
  • Show your emotions to get a reaction. Another YouTube example is the story of Dave Carroll’s run in with United Airlines. They smashed his $3500 guitar. He spent nine months negotiating with United over compensation and they lawyered up and refused him. He wrote United Breaks Guitars, posted it on You Tube. in 10days it was viewed over 3 million times. It was one of the top ten viral videos of 2009.


Jerry Fletcher is the founder of  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.


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How Does a Name Impact Brand?

Name impacts brand

You or your company, product or service all have names. You either selected it or were saddled with it depending on your viewpoint.

Look up your name on Google.

When I look up Jerry Fletcher these days I get numerous listings on page one. Used to be I was well behind the movie called Conspiracy Theory starring Mel Gibson who played a character with my name. It took three years to turn that around as the result of multiple websites, blogs and dedicated posting on Linked In and other social networks. Even if there are better known folks with the same name you can set yourself apart.

While you’re there look at the images.

It can be scary. Left to right the ones presented to me had descriptors like:

  • Monsters Among us
  • Predators in the Pulpit
  • Mel in character in Conspiracy Theory

On my desktop I show up on the far right in the row presented. All of which comes down to making sure the images of you which you put on line should be consistently positive.

Look up your name on Linked In or Facebook or beBee.

On Linked in there are 392 listings for my name.  Of these, 301 are in the USA. Only three are in Oregon (and one of them is me again). So you would have to know my location or company name or special capabilities to get the right guy. Try to be sure no one confuses you with one of those others. make sure your profile has searchable specifics.

On Facebook the list goes on forever. You need to know a little more about me than is shown in my profile in order to track me down. Since I only post when the constellations align there is not a great deal of information available. I’d like to keep it that way but I’m being sucked into the vortex because I put BrandBrainTrust on Facebook because I think it may prove helpful to a lot of folks.

Your name can be your best asset if you are a professional, coach or consultant. I didn’t understand how important it was when I hung out my own shingle. I named my company Z-axis Marketing, Inc. Nobody could understand why I named it that way. Nobody could spell it, Nobody could remember it. It definitely did not have the intended impact.

Use your name as the name of your company if you are a professional, coach or consultant. It will give you the advantage of not having to explain the company name or part of the company name when you should be telling people what you can do for them. It is easier for people to remember your name than any made-up company name (no matter how clever).  Sure, people may shorten the multiple partner Law or CPA firm to the first one or two names, but they started out with all of them. And there is not any doubt about what they do.

But what if you have to name a company or a product? The decisions, in order are:

  1. Is this a single product company? If so the company and product name can be the same.

When Digimarc was being named we struggled more with finding a way to describe the result of the technology than anything else. This invention allows the user to digitally mark any graphic holographically. The mark can be seen by the right software even if only a fragment of the marked document is available. (See the Brand Storyand outcome at

The name of the company changed three times before it was introduced to second stage investors.

  1. Is this a multi-product company? If so you will need to delineate the products in such a way that clients or customers can easily identify them. That doesn’t mean you need to think of the decision as a set of handcuffs.

For example:

S C Johnson makes all sorts of products. Each carries its own name and some have line  extensions. You’re probably familiar with No More Tears Shampoo®, Glade®, Pledge® and Windex®.

Most technically oriented or engineering firms use numbers to designate their products as they evolve. Intel’s i5 an i7 chips come to mind. But some elect to use other means. Android uses sweet treats as names for their operating system upgrades—Jelly Bean is perhaps the best known. Another way is to use letters of the alphabet. Ford does this using an E to begin the names for the SUVs: Explorer, Escape, Edge, Expedition.

  1. How do come up with names that stay in mind?
  • Make ‘em smile (Cherry Garcia one of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream flavors)
  • Tell ‘em what it does (Gorilla Glue)
  • Have ‘em picture it (Good Grips OXO kitchen implements)
  • Show ‘em a theme (Mc Café, Mc Nuggets, Mc Ribs)
  • Give ‘em a feeling (Obsession, the perfume)


Jerry Fletcher is the founder of  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.


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Is Brand Personal, Professional or Product?

Grand PoobahYes.  It is those three and more. You’ll find brand sorted into these groups on

  • Personal
  • Coach
  • Professional
  • Consultant
  • Startup
  • Product
  • Business

Those seem to cover all the permutations that displayed significant differences in my analysis of brand development and outcomes as I organized the site.

Personal Brand

Each of us has a personal brand whether we strive to do so or not. Each of us is perceived by those who know us well as having specific traits views and quirks. Folks that don’t know us as well have opinions about us based on how they come into contact with us and how important the interaction is to them.

The outcome of your search for love, a job, a new career or all three is predicated on your Personal Brand. You have one and it has a numeric value. It is called a Klout Score. When you share on social media you build your social influence. The more influential you are, the higher your Klout Score. Then, too if you are active on Twitter and Facebook you’ll have a Kred score. I’m more of a Linked In kind of guy who tweets only when I take a bus (and I never take buses) so my scores are not that great.

The point is, you can build a following and generate measurable results on-line. Google’s infinite memory adds to your perceived credibility, believability and, over time, whether you are trusted or not. But on-line is only part of how you need to change and adapt to satisfy your desire to get a better paycheck, ditch that boring routine, or just change climates.  Your Personal Brand will make or break you. Here are some books that might help:

  • Strengths Finder from Gallup (includes access code to assessment and website) Worth the price to assure that you know the talents that make you unique.
  • Stand Out by Dorie Clark subtitled: How to Find Your Breakthrough Idea and Build a Following Around It. You may have heard about “thought leaders.” This is a road map to becoming one.
  • Reinventing You from Dorie Clark. This is a “step by step guide to defining your brand and imagining your future.” Solid advice.

Professional Brand

Lawyers, CPAs, Doctors, Dentists Naturopaths, Financial Planners, Insurance Agents, Realtors, Coaches, Consultants, Beauticians, Contractors and a slew of others make up this Brand category.

Professionals work with individuals or companies or some combination of both. Coaches tend to provide one-on-one assistance but in most cases are not required to be certified or licensed. Consultants on the other hand are often comprised of a full team that works with organizations. Professionals regardless of how they connect with clients tend to be certified or licensed. Lawyers have to pass the bar. Accountants and Insurance agents need to maintain a state certification. Financial Planners must adhere to state and federal regulations. Contractors, Beauticians and Realtors are licensed.

Networking is not the only way to develop a Professional Brand.  It can be a major part of your marketing plan. It can get you in front of potential clients but so can all these approaches:

  • Speaking (including on-line video)
  • Writing (including on-line content marketing)
  • Teaching
  • Sales Promotion
  • Direct Marketing
  • Trade Shows
  • Edutorial
  • Sales Materials
  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Social Media

Professionals have more ways to influence their Brand Development than ever before.  Legal and/or cultural restrictions have been skewed nearly beyond recognition by the advent of the internet. There are law firms currently spending millions on internet advertising. There are specialists in content marketing for financial planners. How could you better reach your ideal clients?

Product Brand

Familiar. Intriguing. It’s your favorite beer, the batteries that keep on working, the heels you lust after and the perfect tech goodie. It’s the thing you’ve never touched yet feel you know intimately. Or you’ve been a customer for years and wouldn’t think of trying something else.

Product Brand comes in three flavors. I’ve been lucky. I’ve been there in startups when a Brand was born, suffered through the naming debates, bellied up when it was christened and helped get it on its way. And I’ve worked with the companies that a Product Brand can become. The three flavors I decided to keep in are Startup, Product and Company.

If you’re an entrepreneur, all three of these classifications are ones you might want to follow. If you find yourself trying to figure out whether to put your brand budget into the company or a product or some combination we will have outcomes you can study and compare. But, if you are like most you will want to know the behind the scenes stories of products that have become more than the widget in the box.

We’ll show you how in the box thinking that makes the box bigger is a better way to go than thinking outside the box. Stay tuned. It will be worth it.


Jerry Fletcher is the founder of  His consulting practice, now in its 26th year, is known for Brand Development, Positioning and business development on and off-line.


Get all the Brand Briefs. Sign up at