What makes Gerry Foster uniquely qualified to brand my business? I’m looking for someone who is degree certified with years of relevant, demonstrable branding experience.Caesar Blue2019-12-25T03:52:30+00:00
Since July, 1985, I’ve assisted over an estimated 100,000 small businesses from over 600 different industries with their branding.
It’s the only work I’ve been doing my entire adult life, after leaving Detroit (the birthplace of Motown music), earning two degrees with honors (cum laude) from USC (University of Southern California) where I attended the Marshall School of Business … majoring in marketing with deep study in branding … married my college sweetheart (Linda) who I did wrong and regret to this very day:
All of this is significant because, according to studies, the average person changes jobs 10 to 15 times (with an average of 12 job changes) during his or her career
I’ve never pursued another career or done anything else besides branding in my lifetime!!
Vast, Proven Experience
From manufacturers to service providers, healthcare to non-profits, home-based businesses to companies with numerous employees, my ‘resume’ reflects the privilege of creating a multitude of brands.
The over 600 industries to-date I’ve worked in have included:
Business consulting, coaching, training, professional speaking, writers, authors (and other transformational leaders or ‘thought leaders’), energy healing, personal growth & development (life coaching, self-help, etc.), non-profits, non-profit consulting
Accounting, architecture, consulting, dental, engineering, financial services, insurance services, interior design, legal, metaphysical, medical (i.e., physicians and specialists), nutrition, optometry, real estate, weight loss, health & wellness, martial arts, boxing, psychotherapy, property management, commercial & residential real estate (buy & sell), real estate (investing), insurance training, voice coach
Acupuncture, bookkeeping, bottled water, nutritional beverage, health supplements, energy bars, child care, commercial printing, cosmetics/skincare, custom clothing, fashion design, green products, hair salons, hypnosis, image consulting, jewelry design, inspirational clothing, multi-level marketing, party planning, wedding planning, pet products, piano instruction, shoe wear, specialty food products, educational products, gluten free baked goods, plus-size casting and model management agency
Copywriters, graphic designers, IT (information technology), software development, computer repair, security systems, social media marketing, telecommunications, web developers, video production, photography
Gosh, there are 100s more! Look, I’m no spring chicken (although I have a youthful appearance & spirit … ta-da!). Yet I pride myself in being capable, knowledgeable, unflappable and naturally gracious enough to big brand pretty much anything or anybody that can provide value to customers. Heck,I even branded a monk, a sex toy business, and a funeral home! And let’s not forget the marijuana based BBQ sauce.
A Bit of Perspective
As background, playing in this sandbox over the past 30 years has allowed me to work with multiple products & services … and all kinds of people from different walks of life. Most clients and students came from the many, many stages, platforms, and rooms where I’ve spoken.
I’ve given plenty of keynote speeches (interviews as well). My focus has always been to be known for something beyond just ‘great content.’ Whenever I speak to people I’ve wanted my talk to be more about a spirit, a voice, and a cadence that audiences, hopefully, would feel had some magic to it.
Taught countless ‘SRO’ workshops, seminars, and college classes (little ones too)
Was an adjunct professor of branding, marketing, & advertising for 10 straight years at 4 major Southern California Universities (weekday evenings & Saturdays).
Even led two church ‘entrepreneur’ ministries for a while.
Beating the Odds
All of the above despite coming from a great city (Detroit) whose national reputation (unfairly) is crime, corruption, and cars. Along with economic hardship, urban decay, and abandoned, blighted neighborhoods.
There I was placed in a Detroit public school system filled with students who feel like they are 10 steps behind, always trying to catch up (so true for me too despite being born in a well-to-do family … my dad was a dentist and my mom a school teacher who taught me to be refined … someone who was well-bred)
My high school guidance counselor (Miss Reckinger) told me ‘I wasn’t good enough’ to attend college … that I should get a job at an auto plant, work on an assembly line, and make my way up to become a supervisor one day (my mom went nuts when she heard that)
This punch in the gut of ‘I couldn’t’ planted a seed of self-doubt that took years to overcome (along with some other issues). 🙁
Always Enjoyed the Next Frontier
In spite of it all, after a successful 10 year branding career in Corporate America, I went into business for myself. To give you some perspective, spanning over two decades:
Public speaking, training, and teaching was all done ‘live, in person’ (the Internet didn’t exist)
Audiences, clients, and students galore; I was consistently Johnny-on-the-spot wherever I spoke or trained
There were several watershed, eureka moments; every talk was an opportunity to learn something
The Way we Were
LOL, when working with private clients as a ‘branding coach,’ my ‘tools of choice’ to communicate back in the day were traditional landline telephones. Curly-corded, cord-free, rotary or the ones with chunky plastic buttons were always a fixture in my home office. Of course, close by was my trusty PC and FAX machine.
Out in the field were pay phones. Used up lots of coins. Is that still a thing?
To get around to LA and other parts of Southern California from where I was based (Laguna Beach, CA; lived there for 29 years) I used a map book called the Thomas Guide
This was a paperback, spiral-bound atlas featuring detailed street maps (there was no such thing as Google Maps or WAZE). It was my ‘travel bible.’ Unimaginable for some of you, huh?
During one stretch, when training & teaching, I used overhead projectors to display images onto a screen or a wall (I moved away from chalk-boards). 🙂 Then came the big shift from landlines to wireless – cellphones, smartphones, videoconferencing, and online learning platforms. Even SKYPE was used now and then.
“What drove me to play and stay in the game all these years,” you might ask, “enabling me to successfully go from startup to self-sustaining?”
Sometimes it was the thrill of the challenge, or a jolt of ‘Red Bull inspiration’, and that can be infectious
Other times it stemmed from my passions, curiosities and whims
Or in some cases it was during an owner’s time of need as I brought some much needed light into the dark
Most times I simply believed in the possibilities of the brand and admired … or just plain liked … the owner. I always knew who I was here to help. I’m just a teacher at heart.
Let me break it down this way. I’ve always felt as if was was created in some sort of branding laboratory. Like, I was carved out of stone to teach & preach branding … specifically made like David just for this particular endeavor.
Small Business: It’s All About Relationships
I further believed: friendships first, business later. To this day, in the vortex of the branding world I orbit in, I never take on a private client whom I don’t feel can become a friend (male or female).
For I wholeheartedly believe in the sentiment of an old adage:
“Your soul doesn’t live in your body, it lives in your relationships.”
And not generic relationships. Individualized bonds! I have plenty of ‘brothers from another mother’ and ‘sisters from another mister.’ 🙂
Finding the Courage
You see, in the early stages as a brand strategist, speaker, and trainer there were no footsteps for me to follow. I used credit cards to start my business which I launched from my living room working on a card table in my pajamas or underwear, essentially flat broke.
Like I said earlier, there was no Internet
I had no mentor
I blazed my own trail for about 25 years and was kicking booty every decade despite constantly combating feelings of loneliness
The fact is, I always felt I had a promising company. So I connected with the people I needed to connect with, making it a point to tap into networks of community we all need to succeed. I learned the hard way that if you’re gonna doing something:
Stick with it, do it well, and be your very best self; if you bet on yourself and commit to something with passion then give all your energy and effort into it to pursue your fullest potential; be a ‘hustler,’ don’t sit around and wait for other people to create magic in your life (bring your own magic into the world)
Also: With both hands on the wheel, head directly toward what you want. Make sure what you want is as clear as the full moon peeking over a dark horizon. Stay in your lane of work, keep working, and don’t venture outside the lines.
And if you ‘do your job’ with humility, maintain a fundamental core of integrity, and you’re generous of heart … being ‘for real’ & unfailingly authentic … faith, talent, workmanship and a little grit will carry you far down the line … not to mention grace with success (said another way: don’t get too impressed with or full of yourself … stay humble, never cocky)
Don’t Make a Lunge for that Golden Ticket!
I also learned not to expect ‘instant oatmeal,’ microwave success.” And to not ‘want off’ any cash-flow-up-and-down roller-coaster rides during the tough times when I felt hunkered down under my own thunderclouds. This comes with the territory of owning a business.
I disciplined myself to sit down, keep my hands, arms, legs, etc. inside at all times, & go where the ride takes me until it comes to a complete, full stop
I learned & am still learning to be okay with discomfort
Things never stay the same all the time; bad times don’t last
What’s more, over time I embraced the importance of thinking outside of the box: reimagining the power of my brand, and enhancing my customers’ experience to help generate higher engagement, satisfaction & growth. REBRANDING: re-imagining, re-tooling, re-engineering, or re-vamping is perfectly okay! 🙂
Endure the Fire
And as a professional speaker I learned to ‘always be on!’ Stretch that smile, educate & entertain, even in the midst of personal turmoil.
Over time I discovered how to deal with the valleys, climb over the ‘doesn’t feel good’ stuff – walk through the flames, go through the storms, and build up a tolerance for frustration – to get to the other side where there is hope and often glory
During this journey I also never took the bait and went down a rabbit hole of “OMG, business is horrible, why can’t I be successful like others in my field, people I know, or some of my friends! I need to stop, do something else, or go get a real job!”
I avoided the ‘keep up with the Joneses’ BS many folks fall into, never believing I wasn’t up to par or far enough along; discovering how to define success in more ways than just money and stuff
Stay the Course
You see, like a marathon runner, when the going got tough I knew I had to dig deep, not allow myself to settle for mediocrity, and push through the pains of discomfort. For I believed on the other side of ‘pain’ was something special for me to experience and/or accomplish.
It required giving every ounce of energy to
always cross that finish line!
It meant keeping hope alive and my head high.
There May be Snow on the Roof,
But There’s Still Plenty of Fire Down Below!
I share all this to say, “I’ve been running my own marathon for a long time. I’m in my fourth decade. What’s really great is that I’m not running out of gas. There’s no part of me that’s pumping the brakes. Nor am I winding or slowing down.”
And I embrace the younger generation (especially the so-called millennials) for their technology experience, digital insights, and understanding of digital trends.
Their take on TECH is light years beyond my understanding and knowledge
These are gifted, talented, enabling young men and women whom I interact with quite frequently
From them I grab energy in handfuls
No Signs of a Flat Tire
I’m also gearing up! I haven’t even hit my branding prime yet. No way am I considered ‘past it,’ old school, or passe! I’m no dinosaur! Hardly over-the-hill. To the contrary, I continue to get better as I get older.
It’s all an ‘evolution of my game’ (as an athlete might say)
In some ways I feel like a late bloomer just getting started
I’m ‘flowering & fuller’ than ever … with the energy and ambition I had 25, 30 years ago!
As the saying goes, “I ain’t done yet!” My new, better-than-ever big branding work has given me, ‘the best years of my life!’
Pull Towards the Life You Desire
With so much experience under my belt having …
Ridden the rapids of business ownership for over 3 decades when 85% of small businesses fail in the 1st year; 50% close within five years; and only about one third survive ten years or more.
Juggled the duty of married life at one time while servicing clients & students (no kids by the way)
… I do what I love. I love what I do. I’ve made branding my life’s work! I’m doing what makes my life worth living. This is my spiritual calling – the intersection of what I’m good at, love to do, and meant to do. I continuously get to intentionally and passionately add value to owners to make a difference in their lives.
Best of all, I do it the way I want to do it. My shot in the arm is that I get to do it every day with enormous gratitude, spark, and zest. As a brander of the highest expertise both online, offline, and on stage … plus a Motown music aficionado … there are still so many songs within me yet to be sung.
All I can say is, ‘how grateful I am.’ I’ve been given an opportunity to do something special … something significant in the world. I’ve been granted a gift, a canvas, to paint with my talent. It’s a gift that can give owners hope, or joy, or maybe both. I’m just so happy that my company started when it did. And I can look back with pride.
I’ve also come to recognize that the higher you climb, the less you will be liked. I came to see that as a sign of progress. To let it be okay with not being liked by everybody; let haters say what they want to say for if everybody is pleased with you, then you are not doing great work.
I invite you to check out what other owners have said about me at Kudos and on my Private page and how I was able to change the trajectory of their business and help reshape many lives for greater things to spring forward. 🙂
It Won’t Be Hard For
ME to Develop YOUR Brand!
Let the record show that I’ve also done a lot of self-help, personal growth, & healing work too (and still do … I’m a work in progress). This has helped me immensely to overcome my self-doubt issues from childhood & other flaws.
I pride myself in being able to get along with & work with just about anybody, regardless of:
Age, sex, ethnicity, political idealogy, socioeconomic status, personality type, where you live, etc. (I don’t give a hoot!)
IT’S THE SPIRIT OF MOTOWN MUSIC WITHIN ME!!
Making the Difference I’m Here to Make!
All the ‘work on myself’ has also served me well in other areas. I really pat myself on the back for my optimism, resilience, and disciplined intellect. It’s all come together to help leave my mark on this generation and generations to come.
Also know that while I provided marketing training and services to small business owners as well for many years, strategic branding was always the cornerstone of my work
One of my favorite compliments came from a past private client I ran into at a networking event in the early 2000s where he said, ‘Gerry, you were talking about big branding and helping folks develop their brands 15 years ago or so when nobody else was even talking about branding!”
To close this out, what also makes me uniquely qualified to navigate these waters is my brand and product management work in Corporate America for ten years, most notably with The Procter and Gamble Company (P&G – they wrote the book on branding).
First off, we want you to be satisfied with your purchase of any programs we provide. Thus, we offer a 30-day refund period for purchases of certain digital training programs.
There is also a specific refund policy provided for purchases of our coaching services (i.e. group, private, or VIP coaching). That’s how confident I am that you’re going to love what you buy. At the risk of appearing boastful, the value you gain is well worth the cost of tapping into the Formula. So go ahead, jump in … the water’s fine!
Have more questions? Email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I or someone on my team will get back to you as quickly as possible
What experience do I need to succeed with any of your Big Brand Formula programs?Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:34:33+00:00
None. If you want to learn how to create a brand from scratch or strengthen your existing brand, our programs are for you. Nor does it matter if you want to big brand a business, nonprofit, product, or service … or even yourself as a personal brand).
However, you must have a strong desire to learn the key things you need to know about big branding and be teachable, coachable, and trainable. Your success will be directly tied to your commitment to self-learning and self-discovery.
How long will it take me to increase sales after I apply what I learn or develop with you? How fast can I expect to start making money? I’ve shelled out a lot of money in the past on marketing programs, for example, with little or no return to show for it.Caesar Blue2018-12-18T01:35:27+00:00
Most Big Brand Formula students and clients start making money within the first 30-90 days of applying what they learn in our programs through through their own effective marketing and selling efforts.
Here’s the deal. Once your Big Brand is created, you can immediately start marketing and selling with greater confidence. Now, be careful. There are a lot of folks out there who will want FIRST to sell you “marketing” stuff.
Any marketer who simply wants to sell you a tactic such as Internet marketing, video marketing, a social media campaign, SEO, advertising, etc. without making sure your marketing efforts are rooted in a solid brand strategy is misleading you
The truth is, without your foundation in place, it will be very difficult for your marketing to pay dividends. I’m referring to dividends such as:
Standing out from your competitors, getting recognized in your market, generating sales leads, conveying a unique, compelling, and memorable messaging
Specifically, a brand message that is consistent with your promise to the customer. Or perhaps developing powerful and creative marketing communications (i.e., copy, website, print, packaging, social media, videos, etc.) designed to encouragecustomers to make a purchase
As I said, I’ve had students and clients get the results they want very quickly, while others sometimes drag their feet
It all comes down to effective follow through on your part. Taking responsibility for properly integrating your big brand strategy with your marketing can help net you a nice return on your investment of time, energy and money. That’s where the excitement starts to really build up when you see Big Branding as the engine of your business.
I’m still a little confused, why can’t I just concentrate on my marketing? Or for that matter, making sales?Caesar Blue2018-08-10T06:13:58+00:00
Promoting your product or service to land customers may seem like a reasonable activity to pursue. However trying to form a viable bond of trust with a customer without strategic branding, will typically prove quite challenging and frustrating. Strategic branding must precede and underlie your marketing.
Moreover, consumers are more demanding, selection savvy, and discerning (you could even call them ‘finicky’) in today’s high-tech, global marketplace. Therefore, understanding and communicating your brand’s unique value is necessary to shape their perception of your business.
As you try to wrap your arms around this thing called ‘branding,’ mistakes will always happen if you are out of sequence.
One thing you should know is that if a simple mistake is made by putting tactics (marketing and selling) ahead of strategy (branding), it can take months to recover if the marketing doesn’t work
The time lost could directly translate to lost revenue, cash flow, and profit problems
TRANSLATION: don’t get too far ahead of yourself!
Suffice it to say, working with Big Brand Architects could greatly minimize costly mistakes and bring you the results you need within the timeline you desire. Your brand architecture will be developed. This includes:
Identifying who you are trying to reach with your specific brand message
Formulating a brand promise that can be conveyed in all your brand communications and customer experiences
Defining your visual identity (i.e., logo, packaging, images, etc.)
From there you can make smarter marketing investment decisions in your overall marketing strategy particularly in critical tactical areas such as website development, social media, media pitches, promotional videos, and printed materials.
Why is Big Branding so important for my business when I already have a brand name, a logo and some nice graphics? In other words, I think I already have my brand!Caesar Blue2018-01-13T07:40:07+00:00
Branding is more than having a nice name, logo or graphics.
As the battle for new customers rages on each day, it’s essential that you give yourself the ultimate edge to get people to choose your brand, especially in increasingly competitive markets. A nice visual image is simply a nice visual image. But that alone will not bring home the bacon!
Will I need to dedicate a lot of time to become proficient at the SKILLS and TOOLS provided in your programs? I’m already busy, with a lot on my plate, and the last thing I need are programs that are time consuming or hard to do.Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:37:17+00:00
We are here to make your life easier – not more complicated.
We adhere to the belief that it is always best to not focus on doing less but doing better. Thirty minutes a day or three ½ hours a week (depending on the program you choose) of focused attention is recommended to help achieve optimal results. Of course, you can work at your own pace. The more time you dedicate, the faster you will realize success.
With our Big Brand methods, approaches, and personal support, you will see yourself becoming more effective in getting more customers and increasing sales. Imagine no longer feeling stressed out, frustrated, or confused about what to do to grow your business.
What if I can’t start immediately?Caesar Blue2017-12-08T18:00:16+00:00
You can start at any time as any of our ONLINE programs are available 24/7.
For my private coaching clients, all coaching must be completed within 6 months from the time of engagement.
Why should I trust you? I tried working with someone on my branding once before, but he didn’t really listen to me or grasp what I was looking for, and I didn’t like anything he recommended.Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:38:40+00:00
First and foremost, I’m grateful for you being here and checking me out.
I totally respect your concerns and understand how you feel. We’ve worked with many owners in the past who felt the same way having invested in coaches, hired consultants, read books on branding and even took branding courses … all to no avail. And it went beyond creating a brand that simply did not work.
In their mind and spirit it felt as if something was missing during its development
They felt short-changed
They drank the kool-aid and lived to regret it!
They found my Formula to be very paint-by-the-numbers and comprehensive, making sure we get all the ‘t’s crossed, and I’s dotted.’ This is vastly different than many ‘so-called’ small business branders who often work in a somewhat whimsical, shoot-from-the-hip manner.
Is a sequential, step-by-step process where our primary goal is for you to have a well-grounded, well-thought-out big brand strategy
Can pave the way for future marketing and sales success (click Kudosto hear and see what other owners have to say about me)
And lastly, should you choose, you can be part of our online Big Branding Community of like-minded owners whom you get to brainstorm, collaborate, share stuff, etc. with on an ongoing basis.
What exactly are your Big Brand Formula programs all about?Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:42:53+00:00
Our mission is to help small business owners create exceptional brands and live exceptional lives.
We pride ourselves on providing forward-movingprograms to you online, be they private coaching, group coaching, or our digital training program or products. As stated earlier, you may participate from the comfort of your home at a time that is convenient for you.
Within this context we cover the key ‘fundamental big branding ABCs’ such as brand purpose, differentiation, promise statement, messaging, etc. A lot goes into creating a Big Brand, and the Formula covers those vital bases as you embark on this journey of self-discovery.
Will your programs benefit me if I have a ‘solo’ business?Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:44:37+00:00
If you see the importance of being perceived by your target audiences as “the only” brand that will meet their needs and desires, then without a doubt, our programs will benefit you.
In fact, our Big Brand methods can not only help shift the perception of a ‘me too’ product or service into a ‘must have’ purchase, but you could also command a higher price. Not to mention that you can become more recognized, and increase the likelihood of being remembered by customers when they are in the market for your type of brand.
How do I know my type of products and services would be a good fit for your programs?Caesar Blue2018-05-31T00:01:50+00:00
If you have something that can solve a meaningful problem, produce a better outcome, perform some sort of “miracle,” or provide an emotional benefit … then you have at least one reason for Big Branding it!
On top of the key ‘fundamental big branding ABCs,’ the Formula zeroes in on how to help give customers the utmost confidence in what you offer. As you work with it, you will learn to create customer trust and prompt customer selection.
You will discover how to be distinctly different from others, fill an unoccupied spot in the marketplace and how to support your brand with an irresistible brand promise.
What do you offer that others don’t?Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:48:06+00:00
We don’t just give you the fish we teach you how to fish.
We pride ourselves in offering a high-caliber, innovative, real-world, proprietary 3-step big brand process, with the option of hands-on assistance, to help you captivate and capture more customers. Be sure to visit both The Company and How the Formula Works pages to gain a complete understanding of what our process entails.
Should I be thinking about branding even though I don’t yet have a product or service to offer?Caesar Blue2018-11-18T16:11:35+00:00
Yes, no matter what stage you’re at in your business journey, whether you’ve made the leap (part-time or full-time) or are thinking about it, it starts with you deciding to put out a brand that will excite, delight, and ignite your market as opposed to simply a product or service.
That starts with developing a solid big brand strategy, the foundation you must put into place to build a successful business upon. Many of my past students and clients DID NOT have a product or service solidified when they purchased any of my programs. It’s quite okay to start with a blank canvas if necessary, which is how many great brands are born.
Think of it this way: no matter what stage you’re at, you can’t run in place or someone will pass you by.
Where should I start?Caesar Blue2019-01-17T16:49:59+00:00
To start, clickBig Brand Resources and enjoy a few of our no cost branding programs to get on the path to attracting new, great customers, accelerating your business growth, and not having to rely upon hit-or-miss marketing that often delivers minimal results.
Is Your Brand Distinct or Risking Being Extinct? Take this Big Brand Biz Quiz to find out!