The Philosophy of Branding

We’ve gone through multiple iterations of branding for this company as you may well know. In 2015 I started Arrow Multimedia as a typical digital marketing agency, focusing on building the worlds cheapest custom websites along with some low-cost social media marketing for good measure.


We’ve evolved since then and today ArrowX has a much bigger philosophy that we hold as the cornerstone of all of our marketing efforts.


ArrowX will not work with your company to lower your cost per lead. We can deliver strong ROI on direct marketing mediums just like the next guy but that’s not what we’re about. ArrowX is about the consequences of those actions. ArrowX is about the brand you build through those acquisitions.


ArrowX is about acquiring customers the right way so they continue to do business with you forever.


ArrowX is about building brands so strong, they outlive their founders.


But the question that I want to address today is “why does this all matter?”.


This is a hard subject to communicate at this point in time and that’s why what we do is so important. If someone gives you money for your product or service, you should by hyper aware of every piece of information that you’re communicating to your customer. This goes far beyond just delivering to your customers’ expectations – what message are you reinforcing into your customers mind not that you’ve acquired them?


The founding principal of ArrowX is that businesses don’t pay enough attention to the message that they send the customer or the social value that they build for the world. And don’t get me wrong, not every company can or should do what Gillette recently did, but you do need to be aware of the emotional connection that your company evokes from the wider marketplace.


If you buy a product made by Apple, it’s because you feel like you should be an Apple user, not because their product is better. At the time of writing I’m on a plane on my way back from Miami after attending Grant Cardone’s 10x conference. Let me tell you – every person that went to the conference felt like they were a 10x kind of person. If they were going to go to any conference, 10x is the only one they’d go to.


See, 10x is a brilliant brand (unlike Grant Cardone’s brand) because it represents an idea. 10x isn’t a conference, it’s an identity. That’s why they sold 30,000 tickets and filled a baseball stadium.


McDonalds doesn’t sell burgers (well, they do now and that’s part of the problem), McDonalds used to sell good American family values. McDonalds used to be a feeling and that’s why the food didn’t matter. No one cared that it wasn’t the best cheeseburger or that it was terrible for them. To like McDonalds was to have a piece of America. The movie, Supersize Me, dramatically changed that brand image.


Is Burger King better than McDonalds? I don’t know but what I do know is that Burger King did a significantly worse job of building the emotional connection between the world and their brand. That’s it, that’s the only difference. Ray Kroc took over McDonalds instead of starting his own system because of the name. It was the name what did it;  because of the emotion that the name evoked. I’m not saying you need to have the best name in the world, but the point is that Ray Kroc knew how much a name meant and why the feeling behind the brand was so important. That’s why he won, and then when he died and the successors started catering to shareholders, McDonalds started losing.


I promise you Apple will lose soon. The reason is because Apple is no longer the brand for people that “think different” – it’s the brand for trendy, teenage girls. Like that’s it. Before Jobs died Apple was extremely persistent at developing their customer’s identity and reinforcing an identity against competing companies, like Microsoft.


Remember the “I’m a PC, I’m a Mac” commercials? At no point did they ask for the sale. Their entire marketing strategy was built around creating an identity. Have you seen a recent ad from Apple? It’s a hyped up 3d rendered video with pop music and bright colors. It’s all about excitement and sex appeal but it doesn’t tell you why you should want to be a part of Apple.


They lost the identity and defaulted back to the product. Apple’s executive team doesn’t get why they were important to begin with and that’s why they’ll lose if they don’t figure it out.


And that brings me to my next prediction – corporate America is going to burn soon because businesses today don’t serve customers, they serve shareholders. And no CEO on planet earth is going to focus on building a brand (an expensive endeavor with a long-term ROI) if they have to constantly put every penny they can in the shareholder’s pocket.


I know if I’m a CEO I’m going to look for quarterly returns instead of building a company that will last for 100 years. CEO’s are employees, they don’t build legacies.


It’s a broken system. On paper Apple is (was) a trillion-dollar company but when you look at the real numbers, their prices are increasing, their sales are decreasing (they don’t even report iPhone sales anymore), and they’re dramatically behind in every emerging market and starting to fall further behind in established markets.


They might not be dead today, but it’s coming. And who knows, they may never completely die out, but I guarantee you that unless they do something quickly, they will contract significantly or change dramatically.


My prediction is that Apple is watching Samsung too closely and is going to start pushing out semiconductors as their new main source of revenue. They’re going to shy away from consumer products all together because a) the shareholders are in control, and b) they’ve lost the ability to capture the attention of the consumer.


It’s a lot easier to sell a semiconductor b2b based on specs than drive an expensive emotional connection towards a consumer.


One day (probably soon), the world is going to start melting and a lot of these companies that have been serving shareholders on the backs of their customers will start dying. Lehman Brothers collapsed in the last recession, this one is going to be a whole lot worse. And believe me, this time around if a customer isn’t totally committed to giving you money, they won’t.