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“You Told Me My Company Name Sucks”

…was the subject line of an E-Mail I received a few days ago. Needless to say, I was intrigued to read on:

“I called my company “(Name Withheld)”, but you told me it was horrible. For that reason I wanted to reach out and say THANK YOU!”

He listened and he turned the page and now he is grateful for my frank advice just as much as for him listening and acting upon it. This is how I want to start off the New Brand Post for 2015 as it sums up what is key to branding a new venture, and what I want you to keep upfront and center this year.


When you start a new venture, or initiate a new product offering, you tend to know best. You know your product best, you know your audience best, you know your marketplace best. You know your road map best. So, naturally, you are closing off quickly. Why? Because you know best.

Truth is, you just can’t be great at everything. I am not. No one is.

The moment you let go of that notion is the moment you open up to greatness. As a person, as a founder and as a brand.

Successful brands are built in collaboration with – and powered by insights from – specialists within their domain. The ones that are great at a certain thing, just like you are at your thing. It takes money and/or time, but for the ones who ‘get it,‘ like the one who wrote me above E-Mail, it will make for a better, if not great, brand.

This year be open, listen, absorb and analyze every step along the way as it relates to tasks like naming, brand identity, online presence, brand positioning, the same way you analyze, and more often than not over-analyze, each feature of your product or service offering. Branding is the first feature your target audience will be exposed to. It better click the right way, right away.



  • Michael Ward

    Well said. And something that’s been on my mind a lot lately.

    My team and I have built a great business but I’ve made it my mission to grow much faster in 2015. This led to the realization that our website does not tell our story as a company, a team, and a brand.

    Branding is the first feature. Time for me to get serious about telling our brand story.

    Thanks for the push!

  • Thomas Stanley

    So perhaps changing the name of our podcast from “The Negative One Podcast” might get us more listeners?

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