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Branding: An Anatomy of FlyLady

By: Susan Dunn

Susan Dunn, The EQ Coach, coaches individuals and executives in emotional intelligence, and offers workshops, presentations, trainings, Internet courses and ebooks.  She is a regular presenter for the Royal Caribbean and Costa cruiselines.  Visit her on the web at and for FREE ezine.

In my 20 plus years in public relations, I was from time-to-time faced with the dilemma of a strong-willed CEO determined to be the public spokeman for his company, who would not "work" on television or radio.

How did we know?

After many years in the field, you begin to have a sixth sense about who is promotable. It’s an innate talent, honed with learning, acquired skills and experience, necessary in a field that’s more “art” than “science.”

I have now two clients I know have a chance of “going to the show,” of making the big-time on the Internet. I knew it the minute they came to me for marketing coaching, and I know others will respond the same way. It’s “just” a matter of time, and exposure.

We all have the same 6th sense. Didn’t you know (depending upon your age) the first time you heard them that these ad lines would be immortal:
  • You can’t fool Mother Nature.
  • I coulda had a V-8.
  • Where’s the beef?
  • Nothin’ says lovin’ like something from the oven.
  • You deserve a break today.
  • Diamonds are forever.
Kudos to the geniuses who wrote those lines.

And didn’t you stare at the television, fixated in an odd sort of way the first time you saw Dave, or the Kentucky Colonel, or the Pillsbury dough boy?


To be brandable you must be unique, and consistent. Have something special to offer – of quality - know what it is, and capitalize on it. Branding relates directly to the EQ competency of integrity. What you stand for, you must deliver. We are not surprised to see Bill Cosby on the cover of AARP with a 5:00 shadow and a daisy in his mouth.

Unfortunately, this being 2003, I must add “real” quality.

Quality Captivates

Quality is quality. We know it when we see it and word spreads like wildfire. “Have you seen Jacquie Lawson’s e-cards?” We know we’ve seen something special. Take a look - at the first two, the turkey and the fish. Have you ever seen anything like that?

Other things touch us about Jacquie. Those of us with her the first 4th of July after 911 recall her magnificent card in homage to the US celebration, though she, of course, is a Brit. Quality and integrity. And it extended her popularity immediately “across the Pond,” as they call it.


Take a look at another Internet sensation. The word-of-mouth about FlyLady ( )
is astonishing.

I market a psychologist and was waiting for him the other day when the patient in there with me struck up a conversation beginning with, “Have you see FlyLady?”

FlyLady identified the target market and the need, and faithfully delivers the solution. What I hear about most is the daily emails. She has seen the plight of the young homemaker (often working in isolation) and gives solid support, breaking it into manageable “babysteps” and delivering it one infant spoonful at a time. “She attacks the “perfectionism” that “blinds us to the true meaning of life.”

I visited a young friend the other day. She works from home, has two preschoolers and a 14/6 working hubby. As we walked through her kitchen she said, Look my sink is spotless. I soaked it in Clorox®. FlyLady said start there.”

FlyLady will “guide you through babysteps to help you set up routines, get rid of your clutter, and put your home and life in order.” Pertinent to her success is this “firmly holding” of the young homemaker. We will tackle anything with a supportive more-experienced by our side who is non-critical. With today’s scattered families and overwhelming lifestyles, it’s a comfort, and a necessity.

Now look at the zany graphics. This is branding – you can’t have graphics like that and be a proponent of “perfectionism.” – she’s lumpy, and she has on that impossible outfit. You were never this bad on your worst day. (I was, but you weren't!)

Now try to find a photo of FlyLady herself, Marla Cilley, or anything about her. Not there!

Branding. How so?

Having been a young overwhelmed homemaker at one time, and also human, I was ofttimes besieged by advice (read: criticism) from my super-competent mother-in-law in comparison to whom I felt woefully inadequate. I was also holding myself up to the impossible standards set by my husband’s partner’s wives, older and richer. Is it so hard to be “organized” when your children are grown, you’ve been doing it 20 years, and you have a maid 3x a week? Doh.

We all had mothers, God love mothers (I am one and I had one) and inside all of us is the school marm shaking her finger at us and barking “Not good enough! Do it over!” We can’t grow with that image in our minds, those words rattling in our brains. We wouldn’t dare try.

In using a graphic, FlyLady removes herself from anything subconscious in our brains and becomes Every Woman. Approachable. She can help us because she doesn’t intimidate us.

Graphics give distance; they make emotional issues “safe.”

If we saw a photo of Marla, we might begin to glorify her, in a perfectionistic sort of way, instead of focusing in on the “every woman’” that is each of us, and gaining confidence in ourselves. At the same time, a graphic allows us to “project” whatever it is we want to “project” upon it. Therefore it suits us all!

If you want to succeed on the Internet, offer something unique and of quality, and pay close attention to your branding.

© copyright, Susan Dunn, 2003

Other Articles by Susan Dunn

The author assumes full responsibility for the contents of this article and retains all of its property rights. MarcommWise publishes it here with the permission of the author. MarcomWise assumes no responsibility for the article's contents.


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