What You’re Not

As a branding company, we often help companies define their brand, usually from the onset. To do this, we walk their key leadership through an intense, two-day branding workshop. We begin by focusing on the brand essence.

We ask the right questions and challenge the team to define their brand by distilling it down to its core, which can usually be summed up in about five words.

In the brainstorming process, there is one word we don’t allow them to use because in this context, it is void of meaning:


Who isn’t these days? Or who wouldn’t claim to be ? Better yet, to define this word, you have to define yourself by what you’re not. To be unique, you have to be so unlike everything else.

It is good to be different, especially in today’s marketplace where nearly every industry is crowded with competition. But saying that unique is a defining value is weak. Be bold. Be caring. Be educated, eccentric, personal, approachable, exclusive, warm, funny, or uplifting.

Define your brand by what you are, not by what you are not. Otherwise, you’ll never get the chance to tell your customers who you are. You’ll be spending all your time telling them what you’re not. And that’s a waste of their attention. People are much more likely to become your devoted fans if they know what to root for.

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