Seth Godin recently gave his take on “finding your brand essence.”
It brings to mind the painful process of trying to explain a joke to someone. You get it, or you don’t. You have it, or you don’t. Of course, there are different humor streams:
- Some people adore slapstick. The more some poor schmuck gets battered and bruised, the louder they guffaw.
- Some people have snide humor, which snipes at others and is fond of seeing others cut down to size, if not decimated.
- There is the in-group kind of humor which only those who are “in” can possibly comprehend.
- Some people have a very private sense of humor: they are constantly finding situations, or other people, amusing but can’t or won’t explain why. Your frustration will only heighten their enjoyment.
- Punsters: You can tell by the title of this post that I fall into this camp, from time to time.
- Some people find everything so amazing, so phenomenal, that they often laugh out of pure joy. This is not humor so much as a state of being. Unfortunately,many typically ridiciule this kind of humor, which they dismiss as insane, inane, or ingenuous.
- Your sense of humor, glaringly superior.
Advertising companies have been involved in branding since their inception, but now the Internet is flooded with brand gurus, or brandurus, who assure you that they can brand you with a phrase which will capture the essence of what you have to offer. This brand will be so perfect, so complete, that potential followers will grasp it in a gestalt kind of way, desire it, and your bank account will fatten like a grain fed cow as they milk your delicious essence for their own consumption. Or maybe you are being milked by bad branding (and I do not mean bad in the present colloquial sense).
NOT BAD MEANING GOOD,
BUT BAD MEANING BAD!
Godin points out:
Clothes don’t make the man, the man makes the man. Clothes (and the brand) just amplify that.
If he’s right, branding could be revelatory in a way that the brandee did not intend. If you don’t know who you are yet, or what you have to offer, your sparkling brand could make such lack glaringly apparent.
There are those who can help to tease your brand out of you: but they can’t manufacture it out of something that’s not there. Can they? (she asks naively.)
Unless you have a bloated budget to blow on a branding, just do what you love, and have your brand grow out of that. Promote it when you are clear about it, and know that it captures who you really are, in a place you’ve earned. Nobody wants their brand to appear larger than they are. It makes the real thing look small.