On Branding (Or, Dating WTF)

If I’m really really honest about what I really really really think of branding for a moment, here’s what I think (and for the per usual disclaimer, I wrote this post while brain dead and sleep deprived from working on a pitch that was only three … wait, what was that email? Two, days away.):

I read a lot about behavioral economics and cognition and think a lot about decision sciences and cultural motivations and why people make the choices that they do. I consider how many sources they consult. And what they do in the shopping aisle. What they do online. Where they click. What tools and apps they like. And what they “like.”
I know that pricing is important. Companies want people to think they can afford it, with free shipping and on clearance, because it’s worth it. Whatever it is.
And they might look for it on Google. And they might misspell its’ name. I get it.
But I really don’t think branding is about metrics.
It’s is about deciding who You Are within the world that you’ve created. Even if you don’t know you’ve created it. And then it’s about figuring out who They are. Like, IN PERSON. And FOR AWHILE.

It’s been said before and it will be said again, branding is about relationships.
So, and welcome to a new challenging part of my life, maybe it’s kinda like dating.

WE MAKE IT SO HARD.
BECAUSE WE TELL OURSELVES STORIES.
AND WE DON’T JUST LET OURSELVES BE.
We start out with a lightening bolt and then some amazingly great or terrible dates. And there’s some magic and intimacy. And then we feel like we’re swimming around blindly in this world called “Dating WTF”. And we question our feelings and our desires and we think maybe we’re failing.
But maybe we aren’t.
Maybe we’re building something. We have to let ourselves build with it. If we push to hard, we deny ourselves the time to feel it. If we don’t push hard enough, what’s the point.
Relationships are about risk-taking for a reason.
The good ones are about knowing who we are and then letting others show us that we’re totally wrong because we can actually be who we didn’t know we could be. And sometimes they’re just to remind us what we can live without.
(Much of this amazing wisdom is care of my incredible soul-sister-the-universe-gave-me-a-perfect-college-roommate and some fucking great udon in Brooklyn. And finesse by JCS).

I think the same goes for any relationship.
Even for brands.
Because what it really comes down to is this.
People want to be inspired.
They want to believe in what companies make and how they sell. They want to believe in what they stand for and trust how they make them feel.
So, these kinds of relationships are also about risk-taking.

SO. Again. Branding, to me, isn’t about science or metrics.
IT’S ABOUT DOING COOL SHIT THAT MAKES US WANT TO DATE YOU!
And saying the things that make us want to BE WITH you!
IT’S ABOUT TREATING US AWESOME.
Creating beauty.
Having meaningful conversations.
Designing things people actually want that are good for them and good for the world and good for the planet.
BEING awesome.

Sometimes I just want to scream at people in the biz and in my life, “IT’S SO EASY WHY ARE YOU MAKING IT SO HARD?! JUST BE AWESOME!!! They know they can live without you… SO HOW HARD IS IT TO JUST DECIDE TO BE AWESOME AND THEN BE AWESOME?!!”
And then I realize I sound a little bit Lloyd Dobbler, and that makes me think I’m on the right track. I mean, he did get the girl in the end.

About anemilie

Cultural anthropologist, philanthropist, strategist, management consultant, process architect, brand builder, hockey player, lover of all things sparkly, traveler, singer, writer, photographer and all around smarty pants.

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