What’s with this branding crap, anyway?

When I was a kid, there were a handful of misguided entrepreneurs in my neighborhood. My mom called ‘em “no good drug dealing scum” … but that’s not important for this story.

What is important is how those drug dealers remind me of “The Branders.”

You see, the worst of the dealers would “get high on their own supply.” They were wrapped up in the culture of what they did. Instead of being able to talk intelligently about what they do (or just about anything) … they’d make sucking sounds and talk about “how good their stuff was, man.” To a naive outsider, they looked mysterious and cool. To someone with some smarts, they looked like fools.

Not unlike The Branders.

The Branders will give cool and mysterious explanations of what they do and how it is supposed to help a business. But usually, under the haze of thick smoke and giggles, the substance just ain’t there.

Fortunately, every once in a while clarity shines through.

It shouldn’t surprise me that one of my favorite bloggers, the brilliant Tom Asacker, has posted a definition of branding that pretty closely matches mine. The “smoke their own dope” Branders will probably hate it, but I think Tom’s dead-on.

Toms definition: “A brand is the expectation of someone or something delivering a certain feeling by way of an experience.”

My definition: “What a person feels to be true of themselves when interacting with the product/marketing/business.” (See Small Businesses: Direct Marketing OR Branding?)

Since reading Tom’s, I’m amending my definition to start “What a person feels or expects to feel to be…”

Anyway…

Two recommendations. First, read Tom’s full post. It’s got some goodies. And second, Tom has a book out you should buy. I’ve ordered it, haven’t read it yet (it’s pre-pub), but going by his blog… it’s going to be great.

{ 13 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Anonymous September 16, 2008 at 5:57 pm

Great read!! I’m totally in love with your articles … They are REALLY awesome! Keep up the good work

Reply

2 Anonymous September 16, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Great read!! I’m totally in love with your articles … They are REALLY awesome! Keep up the good work

Reply

3 Anonymous September 15, 2008 at 8:50 pm

I am in love with your quality articles! I wish I had time and patience to make my blog like yours. Thanks for the informative information you share. Bookmarked your blog.
http://www.ideasbynet.com

Reply

4 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 2:06 pm

Josh,

In the context of money-making schemes? Sure. It’s the basis of just about every successful business opportunity sales pitch out there. It’s also the basis of multi-million and billion dollar wealth managers and investment managers.

What you are calling fluff, when done skillfully, absolutely works. And I’d argue that it’s not fluff if you can do it. Are you missing out on something? I dunno. Are you marketing on the Internet? If so, probably. I buy anything and everything even remotely related to what I do because it only takes one decent idea to make all the money back many times over. Same reason I buy all the business, marketing, advertising, psychology, and biography books that come out … even though 99% of the content is regurgitated junk. Seems like “cheap money” to spend to me.

Michael
——-

Reply

5 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 7:06 pm

Josh,
In the context of money-making schemes? Sure. It’s the basis of just about every successful business opportunity sales pitch out there. It’s also the basis of multi-million and billion dollar wealth managers and investment managers.
What you are calling fluff, when done skillfully, absolutely works. And I’d argue that it’s not fluff if you can do it. Are you missing out on something? I dunno. Are you marketing on the Internet? If so, probably. I buy anything and everything even remotely related to what I do because it only takes one decent idea to make all the money back many times over. Same reason I buy all the business, marketing, advertising, psychology, and biography books that come out … even though 99% of the content is regurgitated junk. Seems like “cheap money” to spend to me.
Michael——-

Reply

6 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 1:06 pm

But does it actually sell products?  When I look at all of these internet marketing schemes (So and So made 200,000 last year by working 4 hours a week), I have to ask myself, does anyone buy into this crap and am I missing something by not buying into it?

Does the fluff work or do products sell inspite of it?

Reply

7 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 6:06 pm

But does it actually sell products?  When I look at all of these internet marketing schemes (So and So made 200,000 last year by working 4 hours a week), I have to ask myself, does anyone buy into this crap and am I missing something by not buying into it?

Does the fluff work or do products sell inspite of it?

Reply

8 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 12:06 pm

Josh,

True enough. I think the real key is in your last sentence though. The lie most people want to believe more than anything else is that all they need is the right “thing” and then their life will change. It’s an extension of the victim mentality. People line up to put responsibility for their growth on other people and things. It’s a sales message that, for better or worse, sells and sells and sells.

Michael

Reply

9 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 12:06 pm

“Smoking their own dope” is a phrase I have been looking for for years to describe the PR and promotional crap that most companies put out about their products.

If you actually believe everything you read, every single product is going to change your life for the better.

Reply

10 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 5:06 pm

“Smoking their own dope” is a phrase I have been looking for for years to describe the PR and promotional crap that most companies put out about their products.
If you actually believe everything you read, every single product is going to change your life for the better.

Reply

11 Anonymous June 8, 2005 at 5:06 pm

Josh,
True enough. I think the real key is in your last sentence though. The lie most people want to believe more than anything else is that all they need is the right “thing” and then their life will change. It’s an extension of the victim mentality. People line up to put responsibility for their growth on other people and things. It’s a sales message that, for better or worse, sells and sells and sells.
Michael

Reply

12 Anonymous April 21, 2005 at 11:04 am

“Branders smoking their own dope”…sounds soooooo reminiscent of Amway!  The Cult of Amway requires (practically) that you immerse yourself in their products (at your own expense) and become a member of the choir so you can convincingly preach their gospel.  That’s how Robert Kiyosaki got to be such a hot book seller—he was an ex-Amway salesman, and employed their Borg-like sales system and force.

Come to think of it, I think this phrase also covers religion in general.  smile

Reply

13 Anonymous April 21, 2005 at 4:04 pm

“Branders smoking their own dope”…sounds soooooo reminiscent of Amway!  The Cult of Amway requires (practically) that you immerse yourself in their products (at your own expense) and become a member of the choir so you can convincingly preach their gospel.  That’s how Robert Kiyosaki got to be such a hot book seller—he was an ex-Amway salesman, and employed their Borg-like sales system and force.
Come to think of it, I think this phrase also covers religion in general. 

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: