Doing It Right vs Doing It Now

And understanding when both are appropriate.

February 5, 2020

There are two camps for prioritizing brand elements and how much investment should be given to them:

Doing it Right and Doing it Now.

"Doing it Right" elements can be distinguished by one key characteristic: longevity.

Meaning, they should not change drastically over time because it would diminish their value. Items that come to mind are pieces of the core identity like a name and logo. Without the necessary attention given to them, they easily become lost among competitors or run into issues later. For example, a neglected logo will have difficult placement on varying applications, improper formatting, or general discontent from the owners of a company. Neglected names follow a similar trajectory, as they lose their appeal fast and are difficult to expand. "Do it Right" elements left unattended fall victim to sunk-loss fallacy, working their way deeper and deeper under the skin. Until you finally pull them out and they take pieces with them. Ouch.

"Do it Now" elements can be distinguished by one key characteristic: change.

Meaning, it is expected that at some point these will change because it will increase their value. In the digital age, we have a lot of flexibility to adjust things like a website, social campaigns, email templates, printed marketing collateral, etc. In fact, as technology progresses, it's not even certain whether those mediums will still be relevant. However, it is certain that those elements will change to be better optimized and catered to reflect the brand, or that they will eventually run out of stock and need to be revisited anyway. "Do it Now" elements can start rocky and gradually get better. For example, a website might start out as a single page and move toward a robust, e-commerce site with membership logins, custom CMS platforms, gated content, etc. Change made for the better that adds value rather than detracting from it.

Debating whether or not a brand element needs to be done right or done now?

Ask yourself, "how long do I expect this to stay the same?"

If the answer is, "a long time, hopefully forever," give it the attention it deserves.

If the answer is, "it will have to change eventually," get rolling fast and iterate.

More you say?

The Feeble Best

Claiming you are the best is a feeble means at persuading someone to do business with you.

11.19.2019

When we think of the most confident people we know, be it a politician, an entrepreneur, a mentor, thought leader, or a friend we admire, I'm willing to bet they never claim to be the best at what they do. If they did, it would be hard to respect them as much because it feels like they have to puff up their chest to make an impression. What's strange is that most business owners take this approach in branding their company. They plaster words like "best," "quality," "choice," "preferred," and a gaggle of other superlatives that hold no ground. Why?

I believe that asserting claims like this is done to veil the flaws of these organizations. They can claim to be the best all they want, but it doesn't take away from the fact that they cannot be everything to everyone. Or that new companies with new ideas come up everyday that can beat them in price, speed, and accuracy. Their claim of being the best loses its validity the minute they stop thinking of themselves. As for consumers, the claim loses its potency once they see 30 other competitors that claim the same thing on Google.

Claiming you are the best is a feeble means at persuading someone to do business with you. Is that really the extent of your personality? Do you lack so much confidence in your brand that you have to cover it in a lie? Nothing connotes a greater lack of maturity and competence than such action.

Confidence is not saying "we are the best." Confidence is saying "we know we can't do everything and we can't help everyone, but this is who we are. Whether you like it or not is cool with us."

So, are you going to be the best or be yourself?

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No Heart in the Buyer

Why empathy is the most important part of building your brand.

2.24.2020

I was the best man in my cousin's wedding yesterday. I'd spent weeks trying to write a speech for this occasion, but found myself tearing up when I would start writing introductions. The memories I share with my cousin are that powerful.

Needless to say, the attendees of the wedding felt something when I was speaking with plenty of "awws," laughs, and, of course, tears responding to the speech.

Whatever the audience was feeling, the strange thing was that I felt it too. I was reminded of this quote from Robert Frost, "no tears in the writer, no tears in the reader."

Here's the thing:

When coming up with the personality of your brand, its values, mission, and purpose, YOU need to feel something. If you don't, how do you expect anyone else to?

No heart in the founder, no heart in the buyer.

In a cluttered market where people buy on emotion, it's the safest bet you have against becoming a commodity.

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