Brand Demands Focus

Brand FocusFor starters who is really the customer?

That sounds like a simple question but it isn’t. The world is more complex today than it has ever been. The way products and services are delivered today, especially digital products, is revolutionizing industries.

They call it disruption.

The digital transformation is rolling across industries like a tsunami. Businesses that don’t recognize the possibility are disappearing. Blockbuster is gone. Uber and Lyft have become the go to transporters for a new generation.

Complexity makes it hard to Focus.

Southwest Airlines operates in what would seem to be an easy to understand market. Passengers are the obvious customers but founders of the airline understood that in order to compete and build a brand they had to instill a love of passenger service in everyone that worked for them. They said their employees were their primary customers. They “luv’d” them and changed the industry. Success is why, in 1977, their stock was listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol “LUV.”

Airbnb is an alternative to hotels and bed and breakfasts and so the customer at first appears to be the person looking for an overnight or multi-night stay away from home. This disruptive service works because it handles the infrastructure of advertising space availability, booking the visitor, paying the owner of the space and taking a commission on the deal. The real customer is the person with space to book, like a Silicon valley investor on vacation with his extended family in Europe who earned enough through an Airbnb booking for part of his home to pay for the trip and make a profit at the same time.

Where the money is defines the customer.

A client which must remain nameless because of non-disclosures is a good case in point. It requires a distributor and allows contributors to provide content and is used by consumers delivered in the form of an app for smart phones.

Who is the customer? Is it the distributor, the contributor or the consumer?

  • We know that the consumer is not going to pay for the app even though it could have great advantages. The consumer is not the customer.
  • Contributors would have to distribute the app in order for it to be of value to them. Could they recoup that expense and make a profit? Possible, but a tough sell.
  • The distributor can use the app to generate additional revenue from current users and expand their service to new users. At the same time they can recoup the costs by charging a small fee to implement the app for their users. This is the customer.

Focus your business and your brand to succeed.

The more laser like you can be the better. Strip away the complexity. Figure out which of the parts of how you get your product or service to market has the most profit capability for you and for them. Go where the money is. Target them first.

Jerry Fletcher ThinkinigJerry 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.


Brand Survival of the Social Media Conspiracy

Social Media ConspiracyFeel like you are “behind the curve” on social media? Every professional I know is concerned that they may not be able to maintain their position, that their brand might slip.

Each day there is more in printed media and on-line assuring us that we are quickly getting passed by if we’re not up on the latest changes.  The dire warnings continue on and on.

Did you get used to the internet and go back to “business as usual”?

You got a website for our business even if you had to hire your nephew to do it. Things were pretty good for a while. You had an internet presence you could brag about. But then things started to change again.

We a pretty sure now that video and texting and smart phones is where it is at the moment but who knows what wondrous devices or “apps” are lurking in the technology woods? (Block Chain Technology is coming!)

We tackle this social media thing head on and wind up trying to find out what a “hash tag” is and why we should care. Regardless of what happens the press and the pundits will continue to tell us we have to keep up if we want to maintain our businesses. They will use arguments like, “If you don’t get savvy now…if you wait too long…the learning curve is getting steeper.” They could be right,,, if you buy into their viewpoint.

Social media applications are engineering answers to instinctive human urges to network including our fear of the unknown.

Every human being feels the need to connect with others. Some are shy about it. Some are forward. All feel the need to a greater or lesser degree. Yes we have concerns about “talking to a stranger.” The perpetrators of these arms-length attempts got it half right in my view. You can’t  substitute quantity for quality. For me, Social Media looks like an awful lot of work without a lot of connection with real people.

Be a survivor. Step back from the social media onslaught.

Stop listening to the hullabaloo. Take a deep breath and look at reality. All professional businesses need a steady flow of work. Small businesses need an ongoing revenue stream. The successful ones do it by satisfying a slowly expanding group of customers with whom they have a personal relationship. Even large businesses need a stable base that they add to over time.

In other words, each successful business needs a personal network of satisfied customers, a core of clients or customers that trust you and your brand.  They need to trust you at least enough to keep coming back to you for your product or service. A few of them, never more than a select few, will refer you. Their trust will be transferred to a new customer.

The core of trust is at the heart of building a business and a brand.

Initially, that core of trust is you. If you operate solo it will always be. With a partner or an ensemble or partners you all have to subscribe to the same central beliefs. In a larger organization each person needs to be driven by the same values.

You can’t fool customers for long. They see your brand from the outside in. They rely on how your decisions impact them to make judgments about you and your firm. If you are true to them, they will be true to you.

Jerry FletcherJerry 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.




Brand Scalability

Increase or scaleCan you ramp it up?

When should you not think about it?

What’s the right time to contemplate scaling?

Why should you think about it?

How did you get into this business in the first place?

Let’s start with the last. Entrepreneurs start businesses for different reasons:

  • You couldn’t get hired…for a host of reasons.
  • You did an “apprenticeship” in a field and have new ideas to bring to it.
  • You want to build a humongous operation, sell out for a gazillion, retire and “live the good life.”
  • You want to change the world—one customer at a time.
  • You have an idea that you believe will solve a common problem.

No, that is not all the possibilities but they are the most common ones I hear. Usually it is some combination and that is what drives the discussion of scalability.

When not to think about it:

Do not think about it right out of the chute. Put any consideration off until you have sales. Until your idea begins generating revenue you don’t have anything to scale. Then, even when sales begin you may not have all you need in place.

So what is the right time?

When you have to. When you get to the point that the sales generation can be easily projected to require increases in staff and infrastructure. That is just before you can’t keep up, even with every one pulling double shifts to get things done. Look at what it going to take to get through this crush and the next and the next.

Start now to cast your gaze over all the possible ways technology can impact what you are doing now and in each of those futures. Understand that digital transformation is going to change the way every business works. For instance, I heard on the radio today about how Block Chain Technology is being applied to a neighborhood electricity grid in Brooklyn to allow users to trade credits the way big industrial customers used to on the corporate electrical grid.

Why should you think about it?

Your world is going to change. Keep pace with the technology and keep looking for ways to make your operation more competitive. If Amazon can use drones for delivery and UPS or FedEx can let you track your package from half a world away and the company that provides most of the music for Catholic churches downloads it to musician’s I-pads, then there is something in technology that will give you an edge.

Scale at least as much as it takes to stay even. You need the right resources to grow. Your business needs a certain number of customers to generate the revenues that make your life comfortable. If that is all you are looking for I suggest that you look hard at scaling because your needs will change, the market will change and you’ll wake up one morning and find you’ve been left behind.

Scale to meet the demand. Whether you got into business to solve a common problem or you want to change the world or a combination of the two, if what you have is so desired, the market will push you. You will find yourself pushed to hire more people, add to your footprint, take on more inventory, contract for new distribution and on and on.

Stop! Step back and look at where all that is leading. Hire the folks that can help you figure out the most efficient way to accomplish your objectives. Too often we find ourselves in the tunnel seeing the light there at the end. Then we realize that light is the train coming towards us. It is better to be a little late getting a product to a customer than to wreck the business.

Think about scaling to answer questions from investors.

Funding, not scaling, is the key concern. Currently I’m working with one start-up that is still “in the garage,” another that is “up and running” about to be hammered by a couple of big sales. Each has the same problem—funding. You need to be able to explain why you need the funds and what they will deliver for the investor whether you are talking to friends and family, angel investors or venture capitalists.

Jerry Fletcher, Speaking in olombiaJerry 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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What Color is your Brand?

What color is your brandAre we talking product or personal?


People associate color with everything.  Sometimes color has more impact than a symbol when it comes to establishing brand. Sometimes color is the reason someone buys one brand versus the other. It is always a part of the perception.

The choice of the primary color for your logo should not be left to chance.

How you are perceived over time is, in part, based on the color people associate with you. That may change from country to country. In America, the first preference is blue (35%) followed by green (16%), purple (10%) and red (9%) according to Wikipedia. There are similarities across cultures, too. Red is perceived by many cultures as strong and active.

How do you choose?

Test yourself.

  1. Get a simple set of crayons or markers that include these colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and violet. Markers may also include black.
  2. Is there a color not represented by the selection you would prefer, perhaps pink or brown?
  3. Pick the one color that you like best.
  4. Pick the one you would like to use as an accent.
  5. Repeat steps 2 through 4 based on what you think your prospects prefer.
  6. Test them on real prospects. Then decide which choices you are going to use.
  7. Implement and stick with it.

What the choices mean in North America:

POwer tieRed: Power, Excitement, Love, Lust often used for retail as it demands attention. Wearing a red suit is a turn on for both heterosexual men and women per Wikipedia. And for the less outgoing male it might explain the ascendancy of red ties.

Orange: Is a combination of Red and Yellow which includes elements of each and often is considered the color of negotiation and considered action. The beBee social media platform uses the color to the max combining the full orange of a call to action button with a honey yellow for the bee drawing.

Yellow: Conveys competence and happiness (and sometimes jealousy). Caterpillar made the color a trademark on the large equipment used in construction as it is visually easier to see and then built a logo that combines a simple triangle representing a bulldozer combined with the shortened name which most users call the company. Hertz used it to “put you in the driver’s seat.” And before Google we “let our fingers do the walking” through the Yellow Pages.

Green:  Generates a perception of good taste (and sometimes envy). Starbucks is an obvious choice to demonstrate the power of green. But John Deere has made another shade of green all their own painting all the farm equipment they manufacture in a color you can identify easily out in the fields

Blue: Tends to be seen as masculine, corporate, competent and high quality. Banks, like Chase, tend to use shades of blue from the deepest to the lightest hues. But sometimes combined with a light touch, a light blue can take on a different character. Think of Twitter.

Purple/Violet: Most Americans have difficulty identifying these two colors. Their perceptions are relatively clear however. Authority, Sophistication and Power is what they believe these colors reflect. Cadbury, the candy maker is considered an authority in making chocolate confections for sophisticated tastes. Hallmark, the greeting card company also has a purple logo.

There are four other colors that have become dominant in logotypes.

Pink: Is viewed as feminine, sophisticated and sincere. And the color is used to promote products to women from Barbie to Victoria’s Secret. But is also used to promote insulation that is pink and is the in your face shade of that small rabbit incessantly pounding a drum in commercials to demonstrate how long Energizer batteries last.

Brown: Rugged and Dependable. United Parcel Service (UPS) chose this color at least 50 years ago. I’m not sure they didn’t make people think this way about the color.

And don’t forget…

Black: Stands for sophisticated and expensive. It is also the color of fear and grief. Any person or organization that sells in the high end should think hard about using black as the primary color in their logo. It has been used by everyone from Coco Chanel to Mercedes to the Beatles to Air Jordan.

White: Happiness, Sincerity and Purity. Look in to apple ads and materials. They have made white a signature color.

What should you pick?

Find the color you are comfortable with that is acceptable to your clientele. Remember that the general perceptions of color are often overcome by time. Your choices should all be based on making you memorable and being simpatico with the actions you take that make you trustworthy. Good luck!

Jerry Fletcher, Speaking in olombiaJerry 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.




Personal Brand Must Grow

Personal BrandIf your personal brand doesn’t deepen over time you are doomed to failure.

I don’t mean that “Brand You” must change fundamentally.

I mean that you need to add to the essence.

People are like pearls.

Each of us rolls around in the years of our lives picking up layer upon layer of experience. Every day you undergo adds to the quintessential core that is you. Education. Jobs. Books. Travel. Practice. Winning. Losing. Trying. Failing. Simply living.

We all are seen differently.

Some become well rounded. Others, subjected to irregular times, not so much. But all of us become more seasoned over time. The depths of what we have done and seen and incorporated into our psyches are visible to those around us.

Those that knew you as a teen will either easily recognize you or see the essence wrapped in strata that has added to “Brand You.”

Do you want to be seen as a “Gem?”

Here are some things that will help:

  • Tell the truth about the big things. Sometimes a white lie is the right thing to do but on the key issues veracity rules.
  • Be genuine with everyone. You can’t “fake it until you make it.”
  • Agree to disagree but search out facts. You need to rub up against ideas that are different from yours in order to determine what works and what doesn’t.
  • Keep an open mind. The universe keeps changing and what we knew of it yesterday will have morphed into something else tomorrow. Never stop learning.
  • Have a helping hand. None of us make it alone. At some point on the journey you will have an opportunity to assist someone. Do it with no thought of recompense.

Where do you fit?

Are you like the grain of sand at the heart of the pearl? Are you the tiny seed rolling around getting educated? Perhaps you have progressed to your first career oriented job. Is it later for you? Can you make the transition to management? Do you long to be an entrepreneur? Or are you the Boss?

You will change. It’s up to you to become the treasure you might.

Jerry FletcherJerry 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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