Design by Committee
03 Jan 2019
I wrote on my personal website about the dangers of crowdsourcing important decisions.
It’s my belief that all important decisions in a company ultimately need to be made by one visionary leader.
Design by committee births mediocrity.
That’s why people associate the term “corporate” with “stale, boring, and possibly soul-crushing.”
And it’s why they associate “startup” with “hip, innovative, and cool” (or, if they’re cynical, perhaps “overrated”).
Branding initiatives cannot be successfully crowdsourced.
Focus groups won’t help you make long-term strategic decisions about the direction of your company.
Customer research is table stakes, but if you want to have an actual brand, not just a generic commodity, you need to move beyond features and benefits.
You need to engage in introspection about who you are as a company (if you’re a small business, your brand attributes = your personal attributes):
- What do you believe?
- Why did you start this company? It wasn’t “to make money”—there are many ways to make money, but you specifically chose this one.
- What is your personality? Your voice? Are you a risk-taker, or do you prefer security?
- What is your vision?
Your branding should be grounded in fundamental truths such as these. You should filter all your decisions through them: that is how you determine whether a particular strategy or tactic is appropriate for your company.
In 2019, leave short-term marketing tactics behind and build something that’s authentic to your company.
Something that you can be proud of, that stands out from the competition. That people connect with on a visceral level.
CEO, Cult Method