Premium Mediocre Branding

It is a cheap but ultimately unfulfilling solution that borrows narratives and lacks authenticity.


September 13, 2023


Steve Berry

Premium Mediocre Branding

Built upon borrowed roots, your tree is likewise derivative.

Differentiation is the name of the game in branding. Failing to differentiate your brand opens the door for others to dictate your story. Worse, a trendy borrowed narrative may fall out of fashion, leaving your brand in the lurch.

Brands aspire to be distinctive but often fall short of actual differentiation. Prospective customers must understand and trust your brand before investing in your services or products. The onus is on the brand to foster this recognition and not leave room for misinterpretation.

Limited budgets often create a dilemma for decision-makers: How do we stand out in the most cost-effective manner? This predicament leads to the prevalent solution of premium mediocre branding.

It's simple to declare the desire for a unique and elevated brand. Current trends favor illustrations, so why not opt for some stock options? Following the crowd is often perceived as a safe choice. This approach is certainly appealing. It's straightforward, affordable, and gives the facade of purpose. An attractive brand can masquerade as a compelling story, a mission-driven endeavor, customer-oriented, and passion-infused. However, this veneer only lasts so long.

Premium mediocre branding doesn't tell your story. It repaints someone else's narrative in a somewhat different light. It's often labeled as "the same but different." As a brand, your narrative is inescapable. It's better to embrace it.

Concoct your own story and express it uniquely. Authentic emotions aligned with your brand distance you from mediocrity. Your brand's essence is your story. The most genuine way to tell it is not by borrowing from others but by looking within.

Steve Berry
Principal, Thought Merchants

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