I Wish I Wore Glasses
All of the cool marketers wear glasses…
You know the guy. Skinny jeans, vintage wing-tipped leather shoes, plaid shirt, and solid patterned skinny tie. Most importantly, the glue that holds together the high-class, creative yet analytical mystique, the glasses. They are usually wearing Warby Parker glasses because affordability is the new prestige.
Sometimes they bring their dogs to work, too, bc eccentricity.
These guys rock. These guys roll. I want to be like these guys — but I’m not. I have 20/20 vision, unfortunately.
Oh, I know! I’ll get fake glasses…nobody will notice the difference.
But here’s the thing: I don’t wear glasses. I never have, and I probably won’t need to for a while longer — at least until my dad’s nearsighted genes kick in.
I also hate wearing suits. Dress shoes are uncomfortable. I would rather wear my broken in loafers from Goodwill. I should own who I am.
Brands often make reactive decisions based on what their competition is doing. Apple got a fingerprint scanner, so Samsung gets a fingerprint scanner (chicken or the egg?). Facebook got into search to compete with Google, so Google gets into social to compete with Facebook. Partly this is a result of diversification; partly a result of a “me-too” mentality. Eventually it gets to a point where they’re all pretty much doing the same thing, and nobody has an edge.
The companies that are built to last are always one step ahead. They are proactive, not reactive. If you are reactive, you are always at the mercy of your proactive competition.
Find the intersection of what you’re good at and what people care about. Own that proverbial street corner. Other brands will try to come up on your territory, but in this situation, the best defense is a good offense.
I guarantee you that Jeff Bezos is already thinking about 2023. The initiatives in place now are a result of plans that Amazon made in 2011.
Mostly…The firestick was kind of a me-too, but anyhow.
There is a sweet spot between adapting to marketing conditions and watering down your ethos as a brand. The sustainable brand changes how they communicate their ethos based on market conditions, but the core messaging is the same. The only thing that changes is the delivery.
Messaging is micro. Ethos is macro.
IBM’s ethos is about empowering the world through technology. They enable processes and improvements that would otherwise be impossible, or less accessible. Their messaging, however, has changed from industrial mainframes, to PC’s, to subscription cloud services, and so on. Their products pivot, but the ethos is no different than it was 60 years ago.
Apple’s ethos is about power through elegant simplicity. They create incredible, powerful, feature-robust consumer products that are so simple that a 4 year old can use them out of the box, and so elegant that even the guy at the top of this post is proud to flaunt them. Through all of their successful products, from the Apple 2 to the Macintosh, iPod, iPhone, iPad, Macbook Air, etc., this ethos remains the same.
Products pivot, messaging adapts, delivery changes mediums, yet the ethos shouldn’t change.
I’m still going to wear what’s comfortable. On the rare occasions where I do have to dress up, I’m going to wear the most comfortable wing-tips I can get my hands on. I’m not going to wear glasses until I have to.
But who knows, maybe I’ll be as handsome as homeboy up there whenever I do need glasses.
Probably not, actually…He has a bowtie. I can’t rock a bowtie.