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Don’t Give The Customer What She Wants

Your new brand is not yours, it is your customer’s. Then let’s give the people what they want. Sounds rational, but it’s not that easy.

People do not know what they want when it comes to new brands. We do not know how to venture into the unknown with brands, we tend to seek comfort only in the familiar, and the familiar is far from aspiration or disruption. To look ahead and to launch something new you need to charter into the unknown.


A client shared with me the other day, that they will test two variations of their new brand in an A/B test with their audience prior to deciding which they should actually go with. From an analytics point of view it makes total sense: test two brands (the logo, look & feel, voice Etc) with the audience and see which one they prefer. Yes you will confuse some, but heck, worth the data.

I strongly advised against it.

The problem is that branding is far removed from analytics. It is not logical thoughts, but emotional reactions that make us love a company or product, hence turning it into a brand. Further, befriending and adapting a new venture as a brand happens over time. Yes, you will immediately know if you need the product, you might even decide you want the product, but to fall in love with the brand, that does not happen in an instant, not in an A/B test, and, you very well may disagree with me on this, not in a focus group.

Do you think a white swoosh on bright red is a good solution for a new sugary caramel/caffeine syrup-based soft drink? Nah, we would all rationally agree that beige bubbles would visually translate the taste much better. Done. Death of the Coca-Cola brand by committee.

Brand creation by committee is not the solution. Brand creation through A/B tests is not a guarantee for success (but a sure way to confuse customers and staff). Brand building based on a solid brand strategy (research and insights) mixed with honest gut feelings is the formula for success, and for that to happen it takes a founder’s complete trust in her brand consultant and herself, as well as a boatload of courage. This might just be the reason why you see so many focus groups and A/B tests.


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