Posts Tagged ‘marketing’

The Truth about the Truth

Posted by Robert Weitz on July 14, 2014 8:00 AM

Brand experts tout authenticity, great story telling and the importance of staying true to your brand’s promise. How do we accomplish being authentic in a commercial environment that is crowded with conflicting promises and ephemeral truths? Manufacturers all promise impeccable quality, politicians promise lofty attainments, and food companies promise gratification. But all of our tastes are different and we’re all moved by different cultural symbols, style and media. We all have our own truths when it comes to our emotions, and emotions drive brands.


Brand strategists and marketers address this issue by focusing on well-defined market segments. To a marketer, “the truth” is defined by the tastes and values of your customers. A brand should be a cultural leader, and for the first time brands are hearing from their community 24 hours a day, everyday. The best brands create a kind of Jobsian “reality distortion field” that sets the tone for a culture formed by the tastes of  your community. Each brand creates an argument for their own existence, and if they can get a buy-in from their community, the whole formula works.

Objective truth is a fleeting butterfly influenced by a point of view, state of mind and predisposition. The truths of branding are consensual, collaborative and community-based. In highly competitive or exclusive markets, brand leaders need to clearly communicate their value, while working with their customers to define the relative truths of the marketplace.

Startups Need Brands Too!

Posted by Robert Weitz on June 4, 2014 9:58 AM

As a partner at Fahrenheit Studio, I have worked with a number of companies who are in transition. Most of our clients have been around and are looking to improve how they are perceived. They’re interested in boosting sales or making their company more attractive to a prospective partner, investor or buyer. Startups today, on the other hand, often shun branding as an ancillary expense reserved only for the well-funded or profitable ventures.

In today’s “shark tank” environment, startups are vying for investment capital, recognition and credibility in crowded, muddy waters. But if they all use the same sales pitch, $300 logos and website templates, it becomes a blur to their audience or potential investors. Your idea might be revolutionary, but if you aren’t noticed and you don’t seem any different from other entrepreneurs, why should anyone care?


Galileo Galilei is commonly credited for inventing the telescope, but he did not. Ever heard of Hans Lipperhey? He did invent the telescope, but Galileo was a great orator and went in front of the Venetian senate to explain how the telescope could be used to connect with incoming trade ships and be used by the navy for defense. Galileo told the telescope’s story and showed everyone how it was relevant.

If you want to be noticed, you will have to tell a story and project an image that stands out and resonates with your market or potential investors. Branding offers startups an edge that will help you get noticed and convince people that you have credibility and that you’re an important and valuable venture.

Brands That Try Harder

Posted by Robert Weitz on January 28, 2013 3:48 PM

Just as the perfect marketing system can illuminate brands that are worthy of your trust, they can also convince you to buy something that is not trustworthy.

The snazzy slogans, white-cloaked scientific experts, and the phony “proof” that elevated brands into the upper spheres of our trust no longer works, and listing irrelevant benefits doesn’t fool anyone in the post-Google information age.

Red Bull Bus

We are more sophisticated. If someone tells us that Wonder Bread “Builds Bodies in 12 Ways”, most of us know that other breads build bodies in millions of ways and the tagline is meaningless. There are so many brands, and such a limited range of language that is compliant and appropriate for advertisers to use that listing benefits or trashing your competitors is for the most part completely ineffective.

So how does a brand wow and capture the hearts of consumers when their products have iffy or negative value? Sure, energy drinks, cigarettes, and junk food have their benefits and provide us with a jolt or momentary satisfaction, but the main thing we get out of buying into one of these brands is a sense of belonging. That is why companies that make addictive consumables put so much muscle into brand building.

Red Bull Bus




Red Bull, Coke, Pepsi all promise belonging. They build a lavish culture that makes you feel part of something huge. Massive trucks, hot sexy people, memorable music and characters along with celebrity connections can be had by simply buying a 6-pack of bubbly black sugar water and caffeine. There is a good body of evidence to be considered that links excessive consumption of sugary caffeine drinks to a plethora of health issues including obesity. It’s ironic that while the brands promise belonging when you consume lots of their beverage, you will most likely become fat and be marginalized.

Not that this kind of branding is completely negative—it provides an intricate, elaborate, and imaginative cultural backdrop for musical talent, artists and bus painters (and might even help provide some culture where there would be none). But do we want Red Bull, Coke, and Pepsi telling our kids they need to drink sugar water to be part of something? And do we want that something to be bad for their health?