The 7 Intractable Dilemmas of Branding

Warhol Thinker by Macbook
Photo by Tamara Leaver via Flickr

1. Branding is free, yet unless the practitioner charges dearly, the organization will not commit.

2. Branding requires a Ph.D., but there is no curriculum that teaches it properly.

3. Branding is "moral" in the sense that it promotes keeping your promises consistently, but the promise itself can promote good or evil.

4. "Branding" is a poisoned word among those who must execute on it - the average employee will never allow themselves to be "branded" - and so a constant and imperfect substitute is usually required.

5. The very people most pivotal to branding - managers of front-line technical and support specialists - are normally least likely to commit to the organizational development needed to make it happen.

6. Academics - who don't deal with clients day to day - tend to understand branding better than brand practitioners, who do but who are biased by interaction with and need for customers who pay for it.

7. The brand itself is a predetermined outcome, but flourishes only when evolves organically.


Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.