Consensus is the Enemy of Branding

By consensus, I mean letting people vote; getting everyone’s approval that you are creating the right brand identity for your business.


Yep, I said enemy. For these two reasons:

1. By definition, consensus is mediocrity. It’s obtaining everyone’s general agreement. It’s an agreement reached by the group as a whole. That’s not the way to build an awesome brand. Getting everyone’s agreement just means that you haven’t offended anyone. It doesn’t mean that you’ve wowed anyone.

2. You are your business. Your business is not a democracy, it’s your business. You are the only person that is tied to that business till death (or sale) do you part. Getting votes from short-term employees, or friends, on the long-term identity of your business is like asking someone else to shape your personality for you.

Identity vs. Warm & Fuzzy

Awesome brands don’t attract everyone, they attract the most ideal customers. This is where entrepreneurs often stub their toes. We want to reach everyone by creating a brand that doesn’t offend anyone. And that leads to a business where no one is amazed either.

Brands are about boldness, not consensus. Not everyone loves Apple. Some people prefer their PC, or their non-iPhone, thank you very much. You hear things like; “Apple should be more open, they shouldn’t be a walled garden.” Too bad, that’s the way it is. Apple is Apple because Steve Jobs doesn’t take votes to see what everyone else likes. He’s sustaining an awesome brand, not organizing a campfire sing.

According to Jobs, “It’s better to be a pirate than to join the Navy.”

Now, even the smartest people have ideas that stink. So it is important to get input, just don’t collect votes. There’s only one vote and it’s yours.

Do you worry too much about what people think? How much of your own brand do you control?

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