Mark Twain…the branding expert

Twain I had coffee today with a gentleman who made the comment that "branding was the hot, new thing."

Yes and no.  It’s certainly one of the buzz words of the day.  But the truth of the matter is… genuine, dig deep branding is a fundamental truth that has been talked about for a century or better.  Listen to what branding expert Mark Twain has to say on the subject:

"I cannot give you a formula for success, but I can give you a formula for failure, which is: Try to please everybody."

How about you?  Are you narrowing your focus or in this recession panic filled time, are you trying to please everyone?

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12 comments on “Mark Twain…the branding expert

  1. Cale Johnson says:

    Great quote Drew, and great point.

    I find the comment a little ironic because I don’t think great branding has much to do with “the hot, new thing.”

    Rather, I think branding is one of those concepts that smart marketers knew long before we called them marketers and long before we called it branding.

    Branding remains knowing who you are, knowing what you stand for (and against), and showing it in everything you do. In boom or bust, that’s what it takes.

    It’s not necessarily natural (turning away some customers / clients), and current times will test that for many…

    But great branding is a rain or shine endeavor. That’s how we know it’s genuine rather than a convenient act.

    Again, love the quote.

    Cheers Drew!

  2. Blog Expert says:

    I am definitely trying not to please everyone. I am just looking to write the best content I can for my blog.

  3. HarperStudio says:

    Great quote. Twain was his own person – for sure. This week’s New Yorker magazine contains a wonderful previously unpublished piece by Twain called “The Privilege of the Grave” about freedom of speech.

  4. Cale,

    I think he meant that it was sort of all the rage. I think it comes in and out of favor by those who practice the logo/tagline definition.

    You and I know better. It’s always the foundation for a company’s marketing efforts. We still have to keep spreading that word!


  5. BE,

    Well, I believe you’ll find that you build a larger, more loyal readership that way.

    So stick to it!


  6. Harper,

    Excellent find on the Twain piece. Thanks so much for sharing it!


  7. Great quote, didn’t know that one yet (at least not from Mark Twain). There are lots of really nice and witty quotes by Mark Twain. This is one of my favorites I remember from my highschool days:

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

  8. Eamon says:

    “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.”

    Reminds me a bit of a great quote from Einstein on creative thinking:

    “Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school”

  9. Jay Ehret says:

    One of my favorite Twain quotes: “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.”

    Twain had his own unique and timeless brand because he didn’t try to please everyone. I wonder how he would do in today’s easily offended world.

  10. Jay,

    I think Twain would have been one of those irreverent “we don’t care if you like us or not” brands. Heck…he was that, long before it was fashionable.

    I wonder when the “be all things to all people” shift in brand/business came?


  11. Eamon,

    Ahh, an excellent reminder to us about how and where we can learn. I think the best marketing pros are people who are curious and observant. They learn every day, just by asking good questions and listening.


  12. Tobias,

    Thanks for the great quote. I hadn’t heard that one. I wonder how Twain got so wise.

    I’m going to go back and re-read some of his work, I think!


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