Transcript of Frankel's Free Clinic October 4, 1999

Hip Deep (10/4/99 8:56 AM): I feel like I'm waiting in class for the professor

RobFrankel (10/4/99 8:57 AM): Entered the room.

Glenda (10/4/99 8:57 AM): Hello Rob

RobFrankel (10/4/99 8:57 AM): The professor has your books to page 10....

Hip Deep (10/4/99 8:57 AM): Wow'est . . . great information! You're hired!

Terri ( (10/4/99 8:58 AM): Entered the room.

Glenda (10/4/99 8:59 AM): Hi Terri

RobFrankel (10/4/99 8:59 AM): Greetings all. I'm early today because someone else is making the coffee...

Hip Deep (10/4/99 8:59 AM): Who's up to bat, Herr doktor?

Terri ( (10/4/99 8:59 AM): Good morning everyone! Hiya Prof *g*

RobFrankel (10/4/99 8:59 AM): You are, Hip, because you're....ummm, so hip. (10/4/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Benjamin Fitts ( (10/4/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Glenda (10/4/99 9:00 AM): Hi Cecilia

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:00 AM): Entered the room.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:00 AM): Funny! Differentiation, when you look at a company, what do you like to see as parts that differentiate it from others?

Glenda (10/4/99 9:00 AM): Hello Benjamin

Glenda (10/4/99 9:01 AM): Hello Clayton

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:01 AM): Hi Rob! The last time I was here I got such great advice, but can't find the transcript from August 30. I would like to refer to it.

Benjamin Fitts ( (10/4/99 9:01 AM): Hi all. Work has been so busy I only get to show up once every 3 weeks

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:02 AM): Good morning All!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:02 AM): Differentiation is only part of the brand, Hip. But to answer your question, once the brand is articulated, you'll find it differentiates every part of the biz.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:03 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:03 AM): That's the beauty of branding -- if you do it right. It brands everything you do, right down to how you answer the phones.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:03 AM): So branding comes before the identifying the content?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:03 AM): Kathleen, I believe August 30 may have been fried by the server and was lost....

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:03 AM): Morning! (10/4/99 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:04 AM): Boo hoo! Well, any advice on contracts for writing services. I need a good boilerplate to peruse.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:04 AM): Absolutely, Hip. That's the hardest part to train client on. If you brand first, everything is much easier, because everyone is rowing in the same direction. Much easier done before you write the business plan, even.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:04 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:05 AM): You've got to know how others will perceive you before you can build something they'll want to buy.

Guy R Cook - (10/4/99 9:05 AM): Entered the room.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:05 AM): When the brand is articulated for your ad agency,, pr person, web designer, etc, they all have a clearer idea of how to do their jobs.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:06 AM): So, if we're seeking seed $$, have proven, profitable and proprietary ideas, we "Brand" first before writing the great American Biz plan? Hummm

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:06 AM): Kathleen, try they have a lot of good templates for contracts.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:06 AM): Basic question you probably answered twice today Rob, but how do you articulate a brand? Examples?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:07 AM): Hip, I've done so many dog and pony shows to VC's and investors, and I cant ell you, they all ask the same question: Why should I invest in your plan instead of the other 40,000 sitting on my desk?

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:08 AM): That's differentiation. yes?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:08 AM): Kathleen, didn't mean to ignore you there. I'm no lawyer, but the stuff is pretty simple. If you just describe the entire assignment, spell out the price, the terms and what happens in the event of a legal issue, you're covered.

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:08 AM): Thanks Clayton. How are you?

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:09 AM): Good, Thanks for asking.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:09 AM): One thing lots of people don't get is that if you DON'T specify where you're going to hold legal proceedings (if the deal goes bad), you could be up the creek.

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:10 AM): Thanks Rob. I appreciate the advice.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:10 AM): So make sure that your legal stuff includes the fact that all legal proceedings are under the jurisdiction of your local community. That way, they have to fly to your county....

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:10 AM): Is that according to the laws of the state I live in?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:11 AM): One last thing: if you're really clear and specific about stuff, and both parties agree to it, it's a binding contract. The only time contracts get into trouble is when they are vague. Be really specific about what you do, how and when you get paid --

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:11 AM): -- and when the project is over.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:12 AM): Yes, Kathleen, state is important for the contract law, but local county is where the case gets tried. You don't want to fly to New York to collect.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:12 AM): Andy, let's talk about articulation.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:13 AM): Please. You state that you need to articulate a brand. Do you see the brand as a sort of "Mission Statement for all of your promotional activities?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:13 AM): First, let's talk about brand that DON'T articulate. Anyone know what United Airlines means by "Rising."? Or what Nike means by "just do it?"

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:14 AM): These are meaningless phrases. They have nothing to do with why you or I buy shoes or airline tickets.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:15 AM): When you articulate a brand, you bring your prospect closer to solving their particular needs. They understand why you're the best solution more readily.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:15 AM): Of course, these businesses have reached a level of recognition where they can get away with that stuff, haven't they? Coke is the real thing... the real what? It's still Coke though!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:16 AM): My favorite example is Federal express, when they first launched the service. Everyone else bragged about how many airplanes they had to get your package delivered overnight.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:16 AM): But FEDEX was smart enough to show me they knew how important the service was to my career. They showed what happens when the package DOESN'T arrive.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:17 AM): They named the service federal Express to imply the strength of a government-backed institution (which it wasn't) and tagged their ads with "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight."

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:18 AM): No, Andy. Coke is a successful brand -- but not a well-branded product.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:18 AM): So your branding should direct your advertising creative development. What else?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:18 AM): Here's the proof: If you order Coke and they only serve Pepsi, are you NOT going to order the Pepsi?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:19 AM): The truth is that Coca-Cola BUYS their way into markets. They are not dependent on consumer preference.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:19 AM): Good point!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:20 AM): The same can be said for Microsoft, incidentally.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:20 AM): Andy, branding drives everything, not just advertising. It develops the way your business functions and even the kind of people you work with.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:21 AM): Your strategic alliances become more productive, because they're based of brand-compatible partners, not just "any company who takes an interest."

Glenda (10/4/99 9:21 AM): Rob, how do you brand something that is more of a resource rather than a product?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:21 AM): Give me some examples of well-branded products or companies

Guy R Cook - (10/4/99 9:22 AM): Thanks Rob, now I will be mission critical web hosting for business, not for small and medium sized as I was a minute ago.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:22 AM): The brand breathes life into your company mission statement, most of which are laughable, at best.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:23 AM): Glenda, the resource gets presented as the best solution for its end users. Why do you use one search engine over another, for example? Yahoo presents its service much differently than AskJeeves.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:24 AM): Andy: FEDEX, Apple and the USA are three great brands.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:24 AM): My company's mission statement is well written, but I suppose our branding statement (if there is such a thing) is Right Product, Right Place, Right Time (we're a retail distributor.) Too trite?

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:25 AM): Is "Bills Without Boundaries" a good branding line for a billing outsource group? They only do telephone bills, should that be part of their up front branding?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:25 AM): Not trite, Andy, but awfully generic. The same line can be said for carpeting sales or Lockheed.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:26 AM): If my biz is creating ways for corporations to better reach their counters, who am I branding to? My clients or their clients/ end users?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:26 AM): Kathleen, BWOB sounds like a service that bills any service, anywhere in the world. Is that what it is?

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:27 AM): That's what it wants to be. Their goal is to go from paper to the web.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:27 AM): Hip, your brand is always aimed at your end users. In your case, it sounds as if your brand is a corporate solution that's invisible to the their eventual end-users. You're branding to your corporate clients.

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:28 AM): Good point about it being too generic. We specialize in a very volatile product line (trading cards and sports collectibles) so we probably should position ourselves more specifically in that industry.

Guy R Cook - (10/4/99 9:28 AM): Rob, I have my first "rearticulation" it's Internet Marketing and Consulting Services offers premium web hosting services to companies requiring mission-critical solutions.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:28 AM): Kathleen, it's okay if the main message to your end users is about how you can service them from anywhere, as well. It could work.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:29 AM): Sure, Andy. If I had known that about you, I would have asked you for a complete set of Pokemon cards for each of my kids!

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:29 AM): Lemme get this right, professor, I should be branding to the end user? Creating loyalty from them?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:30 AM): Yes, Hip, but be careful in defining your end user. Sounds to me that your end user is the guy buying the product from you to use with HIS end user.

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:30 AM): Pokemon? Did someone say Pokemon?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:30 AM): Pokemon! AHHHH! What an incredible phenom... we've already distributed almost $8Million worth of that stuff, and it shows no signs of stopping!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:31 AM): So Andy, how about a couple of English Charizards thrown my way, eh?????

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:31 AM): Er, you lost me on that one??

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:32 AM): To my mind, our end user is the customer of our customer

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:32 AM): Okay, forget it, Andy. But for a minute, you COULD have had me indebted to you....

Glenda (10/4/99 9:32 AM): Charizards or Charmanders? How many different Pokemon's are there anyway? LOL

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:33 AM): Hip: Not if that eventual end user doesn't know about you or isn't purchasing from you. Without knowing much more, it sounds like your product makes other people heroes with their end users.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:33 AM): Glenda: According to my kids, something like 150

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:33 AM): Blastoise, anyone? You could tell the people with kiddies of a certain age!

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:34 AM): Well, in my biz our end user is the public buying trading cards at Target stores, but my Customer is still Target. Rob, I don't have any kids, so I'm trying to learn all this Pokemon stuff on ,my own. I've got a box of cards sitting on my desk right in front of me here. Guess I should open a few and do some research!

Glenda (10/4/99 9:34 AM): I had to dodge Pokemon's all day Saturday at the State Fair with my little one,

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:34 AM): Now THERE'S a brand! (Rob turns everything back to branding). Just try getting a kid to take a substitute...

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:35 AM): Y'all lost me on this Pokemon stuff? It is trading cards?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:35 AM): Andy, you are indeed branding to Target. And my kids will be happy to review your collection for you...

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:36 AM): Yes, Clayton, it's game from Japan. most kids have no idea how to play the game, but they love to collect and trade them.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:36 AM): pogs

Benjamin Fitts ( (10/4/99 9:36 AM): Pokemon is a Japanese animated cartoon. Their video games have sold over 4.5 million copies (quake only sold 1 million)

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:36 AM): Hip, what does your company actually sell?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:36 AM): It's like the pogs phenom times 100!

Benjamin Fitts ( (10/4/99 9:37 AM): They have a very popular trading card game, an upcoming movie, a TV series, and something like 100 licensees for every type of children's product you can imagine

Glenda (10/4/99 9:37 AM): Well, it's the cartoon that's blossomed all these promotional retail items from trading cards to Pokemon cameras

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:37 AM): Ha, no kids, no clue- getting one though

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:37 AM): Clayton, watch cable on Saturday mornings....

Glenda (10/4/99 9:38 AM): It's on daily in Dallas Rob

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:38 AM): We distribute Pokemon products from 120 different licensees. And the line keeps growing!

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:38 AM): Rob, is it better to do business with a company name, rather than use my own? Or should I use my name with a title like "wordmeister extraordinaire" after it?

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:38 AM): We're spinning off from a big University. Applied research turned to entertainment experiences that help "end users" pay attention to educational messages.

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:38 AM): OK

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:39 AM): Kathleen: If you're a one person business, I recommend sticking with your own name. If you're a company, I recommend a fictitious name, but only a seriously branded one. Nobody likes to do business with whimsical companies. Scares people.

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:40 AM): It's just me. But I do subcontract if I get overwhelmed, but I don't want to be a referral service. I like my own name, anyway.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:40 AM): For example, people who call me want me, not some junior exec. If that's how your business works, that's what you should do. But not if you're a product-oriented company.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:41 AM): What if YOU are part of the product? Seems like you are

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:41 AM): That's what I thought. I run my business with myself as the only "full time employee". Clients never know that I may have 1 to 25 people working for me at any given time.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:42 AM): Hip: I'm definitely the service. But if I produce products (creative materials, TV commercials, etc.) as an extension, I produce those through Frankel & Anderson.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:43 AM): But I am not the product. The brand is the product.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:44 AM): Cecilia, are we going to hear from you today or just watching? Jump in if you like.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:44 AM): If you get mugged by some Pokemon creeps, does your brand live on?

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:45 AM): Unfortunately, Hip, n. My brand dies with me. Which is why I place my rates where they are. There's only one place you can get a Big Time Brand from Rob Frankel. And that's how it should be.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:46 AM): R-I-G-H-T O-N!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:46 AM): Wow! Hyphens and everything!

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:47 AM): Is positioning different than branding?

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:47 AM): Good question Hip!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:48 AM): Good question, Hip. Yes, positioning is different. Positioning helps you decide what you what your brand to be. In the old days, they used to say a brand was an identity, and you position that identity. But that's how Big Time Branding differs.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:50 AM): See, the old guard doesn't take into account all the media and other social influences. Bit Time Brands merge positioning, identity and consumer benefit into one entity.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:50 AM): As a lapsed academic -- I got lost on that one

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:50 AM): And to really make it sing, I inject a healthy dose of personality, as well.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:50 AM): (TEN MINUTE WARNING)

Clayton ( (10/4/99 9:51 AM): Gotta run. See y'all next week:)

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:52 AM): For me, the solo flyer, is it good to have my picture on my web-site. What if people don't like how I look? I can't bob my head that much, it would hurt!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:52 AM): Okay, Hip: Old brands are usually just names: Colgate, Tide, Keds, etc. Big Time Brands have their positionings associated with them: Federal Express starts communicating itself just with the name. You get more out of it than with UPS. And even more

Glenda (10/4/99 9:52 AM): Bye Clayton

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:52 AM): when you add their taglines.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:53 AM): Kathleen, I have never mat anyone who couldn't put their picture on their site. But you have to use the right picture. Some of us aren't made for the cover of Esquire or Elle.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:54 AM): For those, I recommend, stylizing the photo in a way that conveys more than just your face. Again, this is where branding comes in: in what way would your brand display you? Mine is the bobbing head....

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:54 AM): The bobbing head immediately tells people that I am not a stuffed shirt.

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:55 AM): Chicken egg question them: Our biz has research-based, proven effectiveness, a different way to present the same old, our positioning is that differentiation, when completing out biz plan, when does branding come in - after funding?

Glenda (10/4/99 9:55 AM): Taglines seem to be the hardest thing to write

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:55 AM): It communicates -- hopefully -- a sense of ease and humor which makes me an enjoyable guy to work with....

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:55 AM): Do I show myself writing? On the beach, to show my inspirational sources?

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:56 AM): Wow'est . . this is fun! Hope it is for others!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:56 AM): Hip: Brand in the business plan. Whenever you can.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:57 AM): Kathleen: Depends on how you want to be known. One dear friend of mine is just not a beauty, but looks great when she laughs! her personality comes through that photo.

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:57 AM): You may find that a grainy black and white candid shot does better than a full color posed thing. God, I hate those insurance-salesman company shots...

Andy TeBockhorst ( (10/4/99 9:58 AM): It is fun Hip. I'm here weekly now. Hope you will be too. Rob thanks again. I'll try to save some Pokemon stuff for you (if it keeps selling like it is, I'll take the $ instead!) Thanks and so long!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:58 AM): Glenda, tags are tough. That's why you bring in the pro's! Heh heh...

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:58 AM): (TWO MINUTES)

Glenda (10/4/99 9:58 AM): ok, Rob...I gotcha!

Hip Deep (10/4/99 9:58 AM): Thanks for all your insights and help today!

Kathleen (10/4/99 9:59 AM): This was great! I hope the server doesn't fry it!

RobFrankel (10/4/99 9:59 AM): Okay, you guys, go out and kick some butt this week. I'll see you online...and my even meet you in Hawaii -- watch the FrankelBiz list for details!

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