After I read this, I wanted to call the Heath brothers up and say "Preach!":
"Branding is nothing more than a company's personal ad, and companies are as bad at it as singles."-Dan and Chip Heath
Dan Heath and Chip Heath, the authors of the marketing strategy book Made to Stick, suggest companies looking for customers are like singles looking for a date or mate on say, match.com. The brand for said companies then, is like their personal ad. The subtitle to their article in the April issue of Fast Company reads,
"If you want people to like you, first decide who needs to hate you."
The Heath brothers contend many brands come off as "boring", the equivalent of a personal ad with the headline "Hey". They looked through approximately 1000 personal ads on line, and found a significant amount with just such a headline, or none at all. The Heaths warn, "Folks, if your opening line is "Hey" you better be hot." What prompts these boring personal ads? (and middle-of-the-road branding.)
"Fear. Fear of saying the wrong thing. Fear of saying too much. Fear of saying something clever that someone might think is stupid. Fear of saying something revealing that might turn someone off. The headlines try desperately not to exclude anyone. In doing so, they succeed at boring everyone."
Read the Heath brothers' entire article here. Oh and....amen!