Skip to main content

Why You Can't Take Good Advice

I've been doing branding for a very long time. And one thing sets my best clients apart from the losers: Their ability to take sound advice.
  • One client flat-out refused to pay.
  • Another threw a shit fit at my boss.
  • A third became enraged at me directly.
The things I say aren't rocket science, really. But most people are extremely invested in lying to themselves. 
When it comes to their own delusional lies or the unvarnished truth, they'll take the delusional lies even though it causes them not just pain but financial ruin.
They could be coasting down the hill, but they'd rather ride a broken bike up a mountain. 
Why is that? Why can't smart people take good advice?
There are three possibilities here.
  • Emotional baggage: They've got some screwed-up thing going on in their brains.
  • Personal power: The solution will hurt their position, status or career.
  • Organizational issues: They agree cognitively but the reigning dysfunction is too great to tolerate a real solution. 
I was talking to someone at a conference the other day. And just for the hell of it I said, "I don't work for you but can I give you some free brand advice?"
The person looked down at his business card and then up at me. And said, 
"We thought of that about ten years ago, but office politics killed it before it got off the ground."
Now the company is kind of a brand laughingstock.
Listen - you're not the only one who finds yourself in a pickle, alright?
Everyone's got their problems.
But you don't have forever to wait, or endless money to lose.
Take good advice wherever you can find it, before that sinking ship you hear about on the news turns out to be your own. 
Dannielle Blumenthal is a seasoned communications professional with nearly two decades of progressive, varied experience in the public sector, private sector, and academia. Currently she is a public servant, as well as an independent freelance writer. This blog, like all of her public content, is written in her personal capacity unless otherwise noted. It does not reflect the views of the U.S. government, in whole or in part. Photo credit: Oiva Eskola / Flickr

Popular posts from this blog

What is the difference between "brand positioning," "brand mantra," and "brand tagline?"

Brand positioning statement: This is a 1–2 sentence description of what makes the brand different from its competitors (or different in its space), and compelling. Typically the positioning combines elements of the conceptual (e.g., “innovative design,” something that would be in your imagination) with the literal and physical (e.g., “the outside of the car is made of the thinnest, strongest metal on earth”). The audience for this statement is internal. It’s intended to get everybody on the same page before going out with any communication products.Brand mantra: This is a very short phrase that is used predominantly by people inside the organization, but also by those outside it, in order to understand the “essence” or the “soul” of the brand and to sell it to employees. An example would be Google’s “Don’t be evil.” You wouldn’t really see it in an ad, but you might see it mentioned or discussed in an article about the company intended to represent it to investors, influencers, etc.Br…

Nitro Cold Brew and the Oncoming Crash of Starbucks

A long time ago (January 7, 2008), the Wall Street Journal ran an article about McDonald's competing against Starbucks.
At the time the issue was that the former planned to pit its own deluxe coffees head to head with the latter.
At the time I wrote that while Starbucks could be confident in its brand-loyal consumers, the company, my personal favorite brand of all time,  "...needs to see this as a major warning signal. As I have said before, it is time to reinvent the brand — now.  "Starbucks should consider killing its own brand and resurrecting it as something even better — the ultimate, uncopyable 'third space' that is suited for the way we live now.  "There is no growth left for Starbucks as it stands anymore — it has saturated the market. It is time to do something daring, different, and better — astounding and delighting the millions (billions?) of dedicated Starbucks fans out there who are rooting for the brand to survive and succeed." Today as …

What is the difference between brand equity and brand parity?

Brand equity is a financial calculation. It is the difference between a commodity product or service and a branded one. For example if you sell a plain orange for $.50 but a Sunkist orange for $.75 and the Sunkist orange has brand equity you can calculate it at $.25 per orange.

Brand parity exists when two different brands have a relatively equal value. The reason we call it "parity" is that the basis of their value may be different. For example, one brand may be seen as higher in quality, while the other is perceived as fashionable.

________________
All opinions my own. Originally posted to Quora. Public domain photo by hbieser via Pixabay.