Brand Clarity. Say What?

Business card Brand Clarity

Pull one out

Reach into your pocket or your purse or that fancy carrying case and pull one out. That’s right, get one of your business cards in hand.

If you don’t have one, that is your first mistake.

I’ve heard every argument you can imagine from the adherents of the digital world about why those little bits of pasteboard are obsolete. But when confronted with the need for their people to network to build the business even one of the largest companies in that sphere relented and allowed two divisions to have business cards.

Your business card is the most basic item in your brand development toolbox.   

It must answer the contact questions, sure, but look at what else you can glean from one:

  • The company name may be well known, memorable or ho hum
  • The logotype may tell you if the company or individual is inspired or insipid
  • The title will tell you whether the person or organization is imaginative or ordinary
  • The weight of the paper can influence your perception of how strong the business is.
  • The colors will indicate how approachable they are
  • The address, if you know the area, may tell you how solvent they are
  • The positioning/tag line should tell you what they do, how they are unique, and who their product or service is for

A business card can touch three senses:

Sight is the most obvious

Touch is not considered as often but

  • The weight of the paper can make a significant difference in how the person or organization is perceived.
  • The slickness of the card can be interpreted as a level of sophistication
  • Raised ink, once considered high quality is now seldom felt

Smell is used very infrequently. Women in fashion have been the primary users in my experience.

Look at your card. How clearly is your brand represented?

  1. How would you describe the name? If you are the entrepreneur/founder/owner of the business? Does it have your name in the company name? Does it include a generic descriptor? (Dot’s Bookkeeping, Feingold Financial Planning, Maxfield Marketing Counsel).
  2. Look at the design. Is the logo professionally designed? Is it an original based on your company’s information? Too often people go for the low-cost on-line option and wind up with a design that has been sold over and over printed on low-cost stock that is used for high print runs. Does it reflect your company? Does the perception provided the prospect meet their expectations?
  3. Study the positioning/tagline. Is it the same one used in other marketing materials? Are you comfortable with it? Does it naturally lead to conversations about you, the company and the products/services you offer? If you were a prospect would it separate you from your competitors?

How clear is your business card about your brand? What say you?

Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry Fletcher is a beBee ambassador, founder and Grand Poobah of

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.


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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. 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

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.


Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at



Brand is a Choice

Brand is CVhoiceEver take part in an on-line group?

You can call it a hive or a chat group, a fan page or even a mastermind. It all comes down to the same thing: somebody is trying to get traction for an idea or viewpoint.

You made a choice.

Why? What connected with you to cause you to sign up or opt in or get involved?

Often we join in because we’ve been wooed by profits raining down or we’ll get access or influence we might never enjoy on our own. We decide to get involved and then we rationalize.

Emotions control us more than we think.

For your brand, what you think, feel and believe are not important.

Don’t let emotion control how you brand yourself, your business and your products.

Why your customer selects your offering is the single most important consideration. Their choice is what defines your brand.

You have to get them to accept your view or idea before they will buy. Sometimes that takes a while. You have to be less of a funnel and more of a colleague.

Incorporate these 3 special marketing tips in your approach:

  • Make it easy for folks to understand. Give them resources that head where you are trying to get them to go. Use games and incentives to keep them interested. Let them add things that will help others come along.
  • Use your influence in this group and others to crank up the energy. Start a feedback loop with all the social networks available to you.
  • Get endorsed. Ask for good reviews. Have the contacts in group ask their friends and colleagues to help put your group over the top.

It works. Here’s an example:

Liam Austin, the founder of Small Today started a LinkedIn group in 2008.

Today, with over 100,000 members, it is the second largest group for small business owners on the platform.

A year ago Liam realized the group hadn’t yet seen its full potential.

Liam and his team created the LinkedIn Success Summit to give small business owners a chance to listen and learn from the very best. The experts and influencers that most of us wouldn’t have the chance to question and learn from otherwise.

Small Today followed with a summit on e-mail and another on Instagram. Each summit generated over 30 hours of video training and an Action Guide that includes a short summary with key-takeaways from each session.

After recognizing that “the money is in the list” Liam started to build his own email list.  He grew his list by 48,000 people in 8 months.

The original subscription for Small Today was $27/month. Today it is $70/month.

Do the math.

Jerry Fletcher is the founder and Grand Poobah of

Jerry Fletcher, Speaking in olombiaHis 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.


Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at


Brand is a Conversation. Are You Listening?

IntroductionLess is less.

John said, “make it short and sweet. Copy these days…almost any information needs to be bullet points. Everything has to be quick because people don’t have time for a lot.”

Early that afternoon I was meeting with a client’s web jockey. He was complaining about the length of callout copy below the fold on a home page saying, “It doesn’t meet my criteria for a lead page. “

Later I got an e-mail introduction from someone that evidently had sipped the same Kool-aid. Here’s what it said:

“Promised I would introduce you to Joan. Her e-mail is above.”

The clue phone started ringing. I realized that a lot of us keep buying the idea that our words need to be shorter, more compact and more scannable. But the impact of that idea on building a brand is toxic.

Brand development is about building a relationship, establishing mutual trust and letting that trust guide your behavior.

Every time it is tested, long copy beats short copy for building effective communication. So why don’t we start using the amount of words it takes to get the point across?

What is the best way to introduce someone?

  • In person
  • Via online conference video (like skype)
  • Via telephone conference call
  • Via e-mail

Regardless of what method you use certain things need to be conveyed based on your knowledge of the personal brand of each of the individuals.

Introductions should include:

  • How you know each individual
  • What they do for a living
  • Something they may have in common
  • How they might be helpful to one another
  • A glimpse into your personal relationship

Here’s how that sounds:

“I met Jerry when we were working on the same chamber of commerce committee at least 10 years ago. He did some things for that committee that changed how the whole chamber got attendance up. That’s because he’s a very sharp marketing guy. He’s been consulting for at least 25 years. He’s helped a lot of companies including mine.

I know he spent some time at Harvard like you did and reads history same as you. He’s been involved with a lot of startups including software companies like yours. I told him about your beta site. He looked at it and sent me a note full of suggestions. I figured it would be a good idea to get you two together instead of just passing along his note.

If I have a question about marketing, he’s the guy I turn to like when I had to re-invent myself and my company not long ago.

Now Jerry, let me tell you a little about Ernie…”

Would you want to meet someone introduced this way?


Jerry Fletcher Keynote in ColombiaJerry 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. He is also a sought-after International Speaker.


Get all the Brand Success Stories. Sign up at