Ever notice how many teaser headlines, particularly in online display ads, invoke the words “trick,” “secret,” or “simple”?
The simple secret to branding success, of course, does not exist. Nor, may I add, is there a “trick” to elections, religion, weight loss, home buying, marriage, public policy, child raising, mental health, investing, budgeting, radioactive waste, conflict resolution or wine pairings.
No human problem more complex than which way to tighten or loosen a light bulb can be solved with a pithy formula. There are, of course, no shortage of buy-my-book soothsayers willing to persuade us otherwise – there is marketing gold there. One way to sell stuff or create converts or solicit votes is to appeal to the allure of sweet simplicity, delivered without hesitation or doubt.
The implications for branding are clear enough. Life is messy, and decisions are often complex and nuanced. To begin the dialog, however, a brand should offer one kind of simplicity: it has to stand for something. One thing.