Jerry Fletcher

4 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility 0 ·

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Brand Ain’t Real



It’s tattered now. I found it wandering about my bookshelf looking for inspiration.

Chapter 15 begins: “Monday, November second, was a day of evil futility in the United States of America. Evil because on the day before election day, stupendous lies are unanswerable, outrageous slander is unchallengeable…”

In the book (The Golden Kazoo) it is 1964. It is fiction about how Madison Avenue’s masters of brand could elect a presidential candidate no one thought would be in the running a year before.

Sound familiar?

In some ways yes. In others, not so much.

Both then and now Brand is “understood” by a few at a relatively primitive level. We do know that Brand ain’t real. It is perception. Individual assessments totted up to general insight. Because it is strained through so many brains it has no concrete, measurable metric.

Sure, we can determine awareness and preference. We can evaluate how long the fans will wait for their brand to reach parity with another product in order to buy the same features and benefits. We can even get a fix on the numbers of folks that will accept no substitute.

Still, Brand Ain’t Real.

In the last presidential election there was some masterful work done on Brand. He appeared in a baseball cap with the slogan “Make America Great Again” at just about every event. And that is what most of the placards and banners said. He promised just that and let people define what it meant for themselves.

She had at least 14 slogans and no consistent message.

From an ad man’s viewpoint there was little doubt who would win.

What I couldn’t figure out was how he got such good advice.

There is a dearth of knowledge in my opinion on how to build a business, a brand, or even a life of joy in the repositories where such knowledge used to be found. Too many people, even those that claim to be experts are “digital True Believers.”

Content is not king.

We are hammered on the internet, in the press and in broadcast with the idea that the successful are those that generate more positive content than anyone else. His content was and still is being demeaned in the general press. The exception is papers, magazines and broadcast operations of those focused on a conservative viewpoint. If you look at where the latter are located it maps almost exactly with the Red states from the election.

Brand can wither and die in a heartbeat.

If the perception of trust that you, your product or service enjoys goes away, regardless of the reason why, the result is abandonment. They will take their hearts, minds and wallets elsewhere.

Brand ain’t real. It is perception.

It can change.

Pray that it does.


Jerry 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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