About

Matthew Fenton is a long-term brand-builder in a short-term world, and an inventive brand strategist with a proven track record.

He’s the creator of Asymmetric Branding and the founder of Three Deuce Branding, a consultancy with a simple mission: “To help good people build great brands.”  Since 1997, Three Deuce has helped hundreds of brands and businesses to achieve “brand clarity.”

Matthew knows how to build strong brands with limited resources because he’s done it from the inside.  In each of his seven years as a client-side brand leader, including two as CMO, he led challenger brands to double-digit growth.  These include brands like:

  • Airheads – Where he led the plan that tripled sales in under five years, and launched innovations like White Mystery Airheads and the 6-Bar Pack, which remain in stores over 25 years later.
  • Trolli – Where he led Sour Brite Crawlers to become the best-selling gummi worm in the country.
  • Brach’s – Where he inherited a classic American brand suffering from years of decline, and returned it to growth in a matter of months.

As the founder of Three Deuce Branding, Matthew has helped hundreds of brands to get clear on who they serve, what they stand for and how they’ll win.  Clients have included major brands like Fidelity Investments, Wrigley and Valvoline, as well as niche leaders like Bob Rogers Travel and Natorp’s.

Matthew’s also an experienced facilitator, having led over 300 workshops, and is a highly-rated speaker.

The Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber honored Three Deuce Branding with a Small Business Excellence Award, and the Cincinnati Business Courier selected Matthew to the 2003 class of “Forty Under 40.”  (Matthew has since relocated to Chicago.)

Matthew has competed in the World Series of Poker and is a graduate of the Second City Improvisation Program. He’s partial to travel, wine, fitness, his music collection, reading anything he can get his hands on, and decency. He lives in Chicago’s thriving Fulton Market District with his wife, Kara, and Dylan, their internationally famous, Zoom-bombing cat.

Beliefs

These are my core beliefs about branding & strategy:

  • Branding is not about us; it’s about improving the condition of others.
  • In branding, as in life, what we do matters more than what we say.
  • If we do something different, we’ll have a story worth telling.
  • A brand reflects the unified intent of the team behind it.
  • In a short-term, tactical world, we can win by taking the long view.
  • Strategy stands on analysis but thrives on creativity.
  • We’re nothing without the people we serve.
  • Let’s win with honor.
  • Let’s enjoy the ride.

Rules

As we work together, here are four rules I like to follow:

  1. The Rule of Mutual Respect.  We are partners.  I work with you, not for you.  I promise to treat you like an equal, and I trust you’ll do the same.  And I’ll always give you my honest opinion, even when it’s not the same as yours. 
  2. The Rule of Many Minds.  Consumers always have good ideas.  They just need to be asked in the right way.  The same is true for front-line employees, factory workers, middle managers and new hires.  We get better solutions from a diversity of perspectives.
  3. The Rule of Depth.  The best ideas are never just sitting there on the surface.  Brand strategy is a matter of depth.  Depth takes a little more time and costs a little more money, but it also has tremendous long-term value.  If you value “fast and cheap” over “thorough and deep,” we’re not a good fit.
  4. The Rule of the Long Game.  Branding is not some magic pixie dust that triples your sales by Tuesday.  Smart brand strategy should set your brand up for success for years – though, depending on your starting point, it may also take time to manifest.  If you tend to take the long view in important decisions, we’ll get along just fine.

But enough with the life story. Here’s what others say…

“An Endangered Species”

Matthew is an endangered species: A marketer who can blend positioning, strategy and tactics.  Without hesitation, I call on Matthew to help create miracles for the world’s greatest marketing challenges.

Doug Hall, Founder & Chairman, Eureka! Ranch

“Reshaped My Thinking Around Marketing”

Matthew has reshaped much of my thinking around marketing and shown me and our organization the importance of branding.

Not only does he know how to simplify the brand strategy process, but he understands culture, research and creativity.

I highly recommend Matthew for anyone that is struggling with how position a brand in the marketplace.

Jim Price, CEO, Empower MediaMarketing

“Better Than the Rest”

I’ve had the opportunity to work with Matthew in a variety of settings, both with large and small companies.

He’s an inspirational, “what box?” kind of thinker. He’s able to manage difficult personalities, bring the best out of everyone, and ensure everyone has a fantastic and productive time doing it.

I’ve worked with a variety of consultants in my career, and Matthew is better than the rest, with no comparison!

Robbin Bedard, Former VP-Marketing, Polyform Products; Former New Products Manager, Wrigley

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