Exclusion is a strategy

Pity the finance bros who want to rock “power vests.” The supply chain has dried up after the news dropped softly and without fanfare that Patagonia is no longer interested in selling co-branded apparel to corporate accounts in industries that aren’t aligned with their mission. Instead, they want to focus on selling to B Corporations or businesses that focus on community or the environment. The stance is on-brand for Patagonia, which is overtly political and includes this statement in its mission: “We’re in business to save our home planet.”

Organizations spend a lot of time defining who their customers are, but as I pointed out in a workshop I taught a couple of weeks ago, exclusion is a powerful strategy that can’t be overlooked. Every brand should understand who isn’t a fit for them, and who will never buy their products and services. The clarity that comes from knowing who you want to exclude can improve your focus on the customers you care about – the ones that are aligned with your brand.

Lazy Marketing

I just read the announcement of a new brand position for a famous cycling brand known for its inconsistent approach to capitalization and my immediate thought was, I’m reading The Onion. I won’t shame this brand by name, but will share samples of their overwrought prose: “[Blank] is introducing a powerful new brand position with an inclusive foundation, designed to bring-to-life and directly tie to the depth of its Mission and Values. This positioning will also clearly complement the Brand’s critical efforts around Social Responsibility and a refreshed product line for 2019.”

There’s more: “Here we go” is anchored by one simple, powerful word: Go. Sometimes it’s a word of encouragement. Other times, a call to action. It celebrates the individual, as well as the collective, and elevates riding to much more than a competition. It acts as a rallying cry for all the good that cycling has to offer.” 

To quote The Wire’s Clay Davis, “Sheeeeeeit.”

I’ll offer this anonymous brand some unsolicited and sure-to-be-unheeded advice:

A) Write like a person. 
B) Say it an a way that another person can understand it.
C) “Here we go” is what the lead singer of a shitty band said just before launching into the six terrible songs that drove me out of a club far too early in the evening. It’s what I might say when I want to signal a desire for progress but lack the energy to say anything smart or witty. It’s lazy marketing. 
D) “Go” doesn’t celebrate anything. It’s an instruction. It’s a vague imperative. It’s, you guessed it, lazy marketing.

I know they’re not going to listen. I hope you will.