Branding Bullshit

By: Jeremiah Gardner

Many entrepreneurs equate branding to excess, prodigality and even bullshit. It’s the notion that branding is just the stupefying marketing noise (sizzle) that sells the real thing (the steak). This notion is fueled by the belief that features, benefits and the ‘x factor’ of a new product alone create value and, therefore, there is no need to spend already scarce time working on brand development over product development.

After all, bringing a new product or service to market isn’t easy. There are design and production problems to solve, distribution and endorsement deals to ink, capital to raise and contracts to win.

These hurdles are real, quantifiable, well-defined and well-written about.

Yet the single most challenging hurdle facing an entrepreneur is just as real as the others. It is also the least well-defined, least quantifiable, least written about and probably the simplest to understand:

People have too many choices and too little time.

A byproduct of our over-messaged and hyper-connected culture is the proliferation of choice. Consider the toothpaste aisle alone. There are over 400 different types and brands of toothpaste to choose from. Some whiten, some are meant for sensitive teeth, some are dentist-approved, and some are even gluten free and organic.

Add in the thousands of choices for what type of toothbrush you’re going to use to apply your toothpaste, and the simple act of brushing your teeth can become an overwhelming myriad of choice. If just brushing your teeth presents a person with an immense amount of choice, what about the rest of the marketplace?

I know what you’re thinking, “That might be true, but our product is so unique, so different, we’ll be the only one out there.”

I hate to say it, but that’s probably not reality. If you are one of the very, very few entrepreneurs who have come up with something so unique and so different there is literally no basis for comparison, kudos to you. You can officially call your product, ‘disruptive.’ For the rest of us, we will face the challenge of over-saturated choice sooner than later.

That’s where brand proves to be the opposite of excess, prodigality and bullshit. Why?

Brand simplifies choice. jgardner

People, as emotional, intuitive beings, base their buying decisions on trust. Trust is gained from the relationships developed between people and organizations, and that relationship is facilitated by your brand.

Does branding matter to you? How are you cultivating your brand? What can you do today to become more intentional about your brand in a new way?

Jeremiah Gardner is the author of the upcoming book, The Lean Brand. He helps entrepreneurs, intrapreneurs, and Fortune 500s reframe the way they think about brand development. He is an author, speaker, brand thinker and bulldog lover. Tweet him @JeremiahGardner.

Sponsored Article Posted by the San Diego Entrepreneur Center

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