Brand vs the Technology Tsunami

TsunamiWhen the client awakens,

Recently, a long-time client quietly announced that he was now going to learn about all this internet stuff because he felt that if he didn’t he might miss out on some “good stuff,”

I applauded his decision and told him so. For years. I’ve been trying to get him to pay a little more attention to all the possibilities, to no avail.

Like so many of us he just had no time for technology shifts as long as it didn’t directly impact his business.

Do not put your head in the sand.

You and your business cannot stand still. The technology changes, each incrementally small, keep adding up until they are like a tidal wave for those that haven’t heeded the warnings. Your brand is judged by all the interpersonal actions it has with the public. All of them. That includes those that include a technology-based interaction.

Engagement is the only option.

You can’t run far enough or fast enough to avoid the hit. You can, however structure your approach in such away that you maintain pace with the preponderance of your customers. You don’t have to be first to adopt a new technology if your clients aren’t early adopters. Being last in some categories is acceptable if that’s where your clients and prospects cluster.

The key is knowing where the people that pay for your goods and services actually are on the technology adoption schedule. Let them dictate your pace.

Talk to your customers.

  • Literally have conversation with your customers about the technology they use and the ones they recommend to friends.
  • Do a digital survey of a larger block of customers based on those conversations at least once a year
  • Carefully select the technologies that will keep you competitive and satisfy current customers and prospects
  • Implement use of the preferred technologies in your business in time to keep early adopters from jumping ship
  • Do not force the paying public to adopt the technology to do business with you

Don’t go all in.

The services and processes that made you successful should not be sacrificed for new approaches. There are earnest young men and women that will tell you to abandon all the “old ways:,” Don’t. For example, I recently flew in to transport my Mom for eye surgery. It didn’t happen because her blood pressure was in orbit. The reason was she had not taken her morning dose of meds.

In sorting the problem out, I found that the directions she had were not clear, only partially in writing and not in type large enough for a person with cataracts to read. In addition, she did not have written information that identified her daily regimen of medicines and what they were for.  There was an app that you could get but when a person is 95 and does not have a computer or smart phone that doesn’t work.

Give the customer the technology they can use.

If that means pen and paper, so be it. If that means printing things out in larger type, make it possible. If that means taking a little more care in making sure  you have communicated, take the time. You get customers by being approachable. You keep them by being flexible and dependable.

Stay tuned.

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.




Is Your Brand a CTA?

Does the mere mention or visual of your brand cause customers to take action?

Has it reached a level in your customer’s minds similar to that of Pavlov’s dogs at the sound of the bell?

Take a step back.

Pavlov’s dogs learned to react as if they were being fed at the sound of the bell.

They were conditioned to respond by associating a stimulus with an unconditioned stimulus and response.

What unconditioned behavior is linked to your brand?

It is not the same for everyone. We are, after all, a motley crew of individuals. One woman I know arrives at her office drinking a super-sized cola drink each morning. She refills it multiple times during the day. Another greets the day with one of those Grande Coffee drinks I can’t pronounce must less remember. She may have another if she’s meeting someone out of the office.

Both apparently need the stimulus of sugar in their system. Both get the boost they need in liquid form. Why does one like it hot and the other cold? And since human beings are creatures of more complex operant conditioning, what caused them to associate their need with their selected brand?

Every equipment purchase is behaviorally linked.

So you have to buy a bike or a car, a computer or a set of skis or a surfboard. Your need is for the piece of equipment that will help you get done what needs to be done.  But as soon as you come to the conclusion that you need it you are blessed (or cursed) with a plethora of possibilities.

You can get the basic one and that will work for you. But have you noticed that logic goes out the window when you have to make this kind of decision? Basic capabilities don’t mean a thing when we are confronted with products that in our minds do the basic job but then add emotional positives to it!

  • A Bianchi by Gucci bicycle will set you back about 15 grand. Of course it has the panache of Gucci design and is carbon-fiber, flat-bar road bike. Or you could go for a Roadmaster at Walmart for about 80 bucks.
  • You could find a four cylinder used car and get by with it but you prefer to be green. The choices range from a pug-nosed Mitsubishi i-MiEV at about $23,000 to a Tesla Model S at $68,000.
  • Apple or PC? This is more of a religious question at times.

Personal purchases are constrained by brand perceptions.

Logic rules only in B2B situations and not always then. When we can remove ourselves from the product and its use we can easily opt for what gets the job done most efficiently for the funds available.

Personal items allow us to be conditioned. If your product or service is purchased for personal use you can position it in relation to unconditioned stimuli and responses. All three of the equipment examples above bring into play the differential of how the buyer wants to be perceived based on the item purchased. It runs from purely practical to conspicuous consumption. The prices are directly linked and form part of our conditioning.

There is a point however when we stop believing that a higher price means better quality. In bicycles, a solid gold mountain bike for $1,000,000 puts it in the conspicuous consumption range for me. A Tesla Model S even though I can’t afford it still appeals to me. Computers? I never drank the Kool-aid. I’ve used both Apples and PCs and because I view them only as tools I’ve never been concerned about the emotional value of either.

Where are your customers on the scale?

That can give you a strong clue as to how you should build your brand. Based on strong direct marketing research it will tell you whether your communications should look like an explosion in a type factory or arty portraiture. Look at the advertising for products and services like yours that are at the opposite ends of the spectrum to immediately see the difference. Now, where should you be to reap the greatest reward?

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.



Personal Brand and Charisma

Either you’ve got it or you don’t is not true.

Anyone can be more charismatic and anyone can build their personal brand by doing so. The question is: Are you willing to pay the price?

The price may be a shift in your emotional quotient (EQ) because charisma is judged by observers, not you. You may have to change the way you present yourself to the world… all the time.

Behavior dictates how you are judged.

As Shakespeare said:

“All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;”

Your audience, whether you are a speaker, manager, politician or a member of the C-suite, instantly makes decisions about whether or not they can devote themselves to you and your vision. Instantly.

They look at:

  • Your movements and stance—if you appear open and move with sureness you will be seen as charismatic.
  • Your confidence—research indicates that if you are perceived initially as having confidence, that perception will not change over time for the viewer who will see you as charismatic.
  • How you present your ideas—using emotionally powerful stories and images that reach into the psyche of your audience makes you charismatic.
  • Your focus—when you are engaged with an individual or a group you are absorbed in them. Nothing breaks that concentration. And you will be seen as charismatic.
  • Your competence and friendliness—which they are judging from an emotional intuitive basis rather than using their logical faculties. Check your charisma score on these tow elements here

Trump is an example.

In his book Charisma in Politics, Religion and the Media, David Aberbach delineates historical pivot points that occurred due to charismatic leaders. He contends that charismatic leaders release the individual of the pressures of life under stress. They seek protection in a group. When individuals feel vulnerable there is a possibility of a charismatic attachment. This can be very dangerous in certain circumstances.

So was Hitler

Charisma can be used for good or for demagoguery. Hitler employed his power to give people a target of hatred, which gave those who felt broken their own sense of superiority.

Is Trump, like Hitler, targeting a group for hatred?

Why does he continually say, “No amnesty and no citizenship.” Why is he trying to destroy NAFTA?  Why are immigration cops being allowed to operate like Hitler’s Brown Shirts? This is not the the kind of positive charisma and leadership displayed by Franklin Roosevelt, Ghandi and Nimitz.

Use your charisma for good and stay tuned.

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 Video Hacks

Video is not a magic tonic for a brand.

Yes, it is powerful when used properly.

Yes, it can put an emotional stamp on what you’re selling.

Yes, it will deepen your product or service identification.

Video only works to brand when it is consistent.

Keep your visuals, verbals and vision as much the same as you can regardless of where in the sales funnel the video will be used. Your initial video should obviously be the same message as the landing page and the one on the website. Yes they can have variations but since we know we are dealing with limited attention spans, consistency and repetition are essential to build your brand.

The eyes have it.

The secret to powerful testimonials and any presentation on video, no matter what level of equipment you are recording with is being able to see the eyes of the presenter. They should be looking directly at you. My way of getting that to happen is to speak to the person on video from just next to the camera. In looking past the camera at me they give the impression they are looking directly at the viewer.

A tip of the hat to a video of Michael Caine teaching a master’s acting class for that tidbit.

Be careful to avoid shadowy eyes. Seating the subject in the light from a window will give them a healthy and flattering glow.

Seeing the eyes builds trust. It is that simple. Ever notice that meetings that use jumbotron projectors with operators that concentrate on capturing the presenter’s upper body and face provide a deeper confidence in the speaker and the message?

You also see with your ears.

We’ve grown up on audio that just keeps getting better and better. Our expectations are for a full rich sound on a video. You can’t get that recording in a sound swamp. Nor can you get great sound without putting a microphone in close proximity to the presenter.

You can get an adapter for your smart phone or DSL camera that will increase the capability immensely. Or, you can take a note from my playbook and get yourself a video camera that is ported for a microphone. My sound set up uses a lavaliere microphone remoted to a unit that pipes the sound straight into the recorder.

The key here is that you can improve your video quality significantly for less than a hundred bucks!

Steady as she goes.

One last simple but impressive hack.

Use a tripod.

There is nothing worse than trying to understand a video shot hand-held. Yes, the Blair Witch Project was shot hand held. It helped give it that quirky look. Thing is, when you’re pitching yourself, your product or your service you don’t want quirky. You want steady, sure, comfortable.

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.



Is Your Brand Singular?

UniqueAre you:

  • Focused
  • Unique
  • New
  • First
  • Defining

Successful brands are at least one of those.


The problem with most entrepreneurs is that in their rush to please customers they keep adding products or services and confuse people. Big companies are notorious for making this mistake. Automobile companies may be the best example of the worst behavior. Can you even begin to name the cars that Chevrolet manufactures today?

However, if you stick to one thing, then people identify you with that singular product or service or category. Examples: Starbucks, H&R Block, Subway.


There is only one Alan Weiss or Taylor Swift, or, for that matter, you. There is something unique in every individual. What is it about you that identifies you in other’s minds? One of my clients, a management Consultant is known for his ability to bring clarity to leadership of mid-size companies. He is known as “the Defogger.” Another is branded by her ability to help you see the psychological reasons you get tangled up in with managing money. When it comes to money knots, she is known as “the Untangler.”

If you are a professional or consultant your brand is a mixture of your skill set, your personality and how well you succeed in getting to trust. Ask your clients or patients or customers how you are different in their eyes. Use what you find out to let new connections have a better picture of you in their minds.


Brand spanking new, never seen before is not common. More often, yours is a new entry in an existing category. Every Salon that opens is new to the neighborhood but not to the category. Every young man or woman that passes the bar is a new lawyer but does not yet have a brand. Just because you are certified as one kind of professional or another doesn’t mean you have cachet. It may take years.

New is easier with products or services or even how people pay for your services. A former client (WingVentures) trained people to become pilots. The standard pricing in the industry is an hourly rate payment for the instructor plus an hourly rate payment for the aircraft plus the fuel cost for the aircraft each time you take a lesson. When he offered an all-inclusive price to go from novice to a pilot’s license he was not sure it would work until the first time he tried it and the client handed him a check for the full amount. The new approach netted him executive clients from not only his local area but from across the USA and Europe.


Don’t confuse being first with being first, ever. You can be first in your geographic area, first in your category or first to jump from one prospect audience to another.

Being first ever means you have to have a completely new product or product implementation. For example, false fingernails have been around since ancient times but Acrylic finger nails were invented in 1954. Fred Slack, a dentist, broke his fingernail at work, and created an artificial nail as a realistic-looking temporary replacement. After experiments with different materials to perfect his invention, he and his brother, Tom, patented a successful version and started the company Patti Nails.

Today, acrylic nails come in do-it-yourself kits. Professionals continue to offer them along with other kinds of false nails.

You will definitely not be the first to offer false nails but you could be the first to offer your own designs in your neighborhood.

You could be first to offer the service in the local barber shop with special nail designs just for men. Just thinking.


Sometimes a brand becomes the definition of product or service. Ever ask for a Kleenex or a Xerox? Ever specify a brand because they own the word that defines the solution to your problem? For instance, if it absolutely positively has to be there overnight you would probably call FedEx. Have a small cut? Sounds to me like you need a BandAid.

Remember my client the flight instructor? He offered Executive Flight Training. We oriented all discussion of the service and ancillary services to busy executives that wanted to get licensed on their schedule. There was a Private Pilot’s package, an Instrument Rating package and even a Jet Transition package. We even put together special deals for lodging for out of towners to come in for up to 21 days of training.

You can define your Brand with a word. It is best if it is a name but just hooking your brand to a specific word in the prospect’s mind can make you singular.

Jerry SpeakingJerry 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.