Seven Things You Should Never Say in a Branding Brainstorm

By Walt Jaschek, Branding Brainstormer and Guest Blogger

Branding brainstorms. Mike and I love 'em and lead 'em, for clients large and small, often together, in the form of one-day Perfect Your Pitch sessions. ("Perfect Your Pitch: it's not about baseball.") As in any brainstorm, participation is encouraged; there are no bad ideas; and NOTHING YOU CAN SAY IS WRONG. Well, almost nothing. There are seven exceptions.

1. "Sorry I'm late: I had to catch the end of Regis and Kelly."

(Come on, WE were all there on time, even though we were in our car, glued to the NPR pledge drive. Don't make us repeat the situation analysis; it was agonizing enough the first time.)

2. "Can we work the word 'excellence' in here somewhere?"

(No. 'Excellence' is one of the empty words now bankrupt from overuse, like quality, integrity and choco-licious.)

3. "I agree with everything our CEO is saying in this meeting."

(Most of the CEOs we work with prefer authentic reactions and well-reasoned push-back. Needless pandering is unnecessary. By the way, these CEOs are quite charismatic and handsome.)

4. "If my brand was a tree, what would it be?"

(This question didn't make sense when Barbara Walters invented it, and it still doesn't make sense. Everybody knows you'd be a sturdy, mature oak with beautiful fall foliage.)

5. "These are juicy, original concepts. I like them, I'm excited by them, but our audience will never get it. We should do something safer."

(This is the ubiquitous, idea-killing double standard: assuming the audience won't share the same delight as you in the authentically new, different and involving.)

5. "I'll take these ideas home and run them past my spouse."

(Please don't. Your spouse doesn't have the context, probably isn't the target audience, and will have a looooong memory if his/her favorite ideas don't end up on the website. Yeah. You know what I'm talking about.)

7. "The logo is too big."

(Well, that's just crazy. As we all know: the LOGO IS NEVER TOO BIG.)

Everything else, you CAN say in a branding brainstorm. So we'll see you in the conference room at 9 a.m. sharp. We'll be there early, sniffing the markers! Dibs on the red one.

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