good branding vs bad branding
You already know that branding is important in business – but today I want to talk about another surprising angle: the truth about good branding vs bad branding, and what it means for you as an entrepreneur.
Everything is branded in our society. And I’m not just talking about products – I mean everything. People. Movements. All 3 branches of the American government. Cities. Climate change. Yoga. Hip hop. Big Pharma. Black Lives Matter. The Army. Christianity. Feminism. The NFL. Cults. Wars.
Which means the more attuned we are to the sense that our perceptions are being controlled, the better understanding we have of what NOT to do as entrepreneurs building our own brands.
Corporations are especially obsessed good vs bad branding because they’re obsessed with controlling how they’re perceived. But no matter how much advertising and content and messaging gets pushed out about a brand, the fact is consumers are more discerning now.
We have access to information and resources and history and facts and other humans like never before. Most of us can tell when we’re being duped. We can usually see through the bullshit, which means we usually have a gut feeling about whether a business has good branding or bad branding.
You can see how this change has been taking place the last few decades – western work culture is being forced to shift, especially now that most workers have realized they can work from home. Smaller companies with real ethical and sustainable practices are seeing huge growth and success. CEOs and leaders are being held accountable for their decisions.
Which is why the idea of good branding vs bad branding is too simplified to be helpful. I don’t subscribe to the idea that branding is inherently good or evil – branding is just a tool. A very, very powerful tool. And it’s our duty as entrepreneurs to use that tool responsibly.
Branding isn’t a devious process meant to manipulate. It’s not about controlling an image; it’s about actually doing business with integrity so you become known for the thing you want to be known for. A strong brand is genuine, not a curated performance. Irresistible branding is honest, not propaganda.
Instead of searching for examples of good branding vs bad branding, start by measuring the effectiveness of your brand instead. Because the way I see it, you can build your brand in one of two ways:
1. The classic, corporate way the branding industry teaches:
Wrap up your product or service in a pretty, aesthetically-pleasing bow. Put your business in a perfectly curated box. Tell people what you think your brand is, and then manipulate their opinions until they agree.
2. The new, revolutionary way:
By deciding what kind of impact you want to make as an entrepreneur, bridging the gap between your big ideas and your business model, and then letting your vision and integrity guide every damn business decision you make.