• Spike

Defining who you aren’t

A prospective client came and visited us at the Brains on Fire worldwide headquarters this week about a naming and identity project. And in our discussions talking about how a solid identity defines who you are, she also mentioned how a solid identity also defines who you AREN’T.

We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves.


We live in a world where well-intentioned companies start out doing one thing really well. But after a while - through boredom or greed - they start to stray until they are trying to be all things to all people. Like when Hardee’s decided to reinvent themselves and concentrate on making the best fast-food burger around. Bravo. And now look at their freakin’ menu. Or even the iconic Mini Cooper is about to start producing SUVs. Really? *Sigh*


When you put a stake in the ground, yes, you are saying “this is who we are and what we stand for.” But you are also saying, “we will NOT stand for this.” People are going to be drawn to you as much for what you do as they are for what you refuse to do. Because your belief system also includes those things you DON’T believe in. Make sense?


So when you’re thinking about your next PR or marketing initiative and how it’s “on brand,” also think about how to leverage what you aren’t. Powerful identities can be polarizing. And that’s not a bad thing. At all. Because when that happens, people know where to put you in their lives.


Like we often hear around the BrainsOnFiresphere, “‘Like’ is not a Brains on Fire word. We want people to love you or hate you. Those are powerful emotions. ‘Like’ is a deathtrap.”


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