Why Clichés are Death in Branding

What role does complacency have in achieving a me-too brand?


I have yet to meet any CEO, business owner, marketing executive or entrepreneur who came to me stating, “I want to create something unremarkable, drab and uninspired.”


Yet, without stating it, one could extrapolate that might be the intent.

The “My Story is Different” Trap
There’s this little carry over from our childhoods that runs like this: “If I do it, it’ll be better, funnier, more interesting, more (fill in blank)…even though Johnny over there is basically doing the same thing.”

Let’s step back and look at this:

If everyone is saying “No, I’m the real deal!”—how is anyone hearing this tsunami of claims supposed to respond with anything but a confused expression and a bewilderment over what to do. And wondering “who is the real deal?”

Brands need to be authentic. Once that is done, then the next step is doing everything possible to be distinct so you’re not “one of the contenders” all pitching the same old stuff. Or as I see it: same box, different bow.

To make this really clear, the phone calls you make with your iPhone aren’t any better than the same call made on a different phone. But it sure FEELS better. Why? Because they paid attention to everything everyone else was doing and pounced on the complacency.


If you want a me-too brand, lazily approach your brand. Branding takes guts, but it starts with eyes wide open to see the forest. Only then can you plant a tree that will stand apart from the forest.

And only in that forest does money grow on trees.





David Brier, Chief Gravity Defyer at DBD International, is a brand identity specialist who is the recipient of over 300 industry awards creating
brands for such company’s as Estee Lauder, Revlon, New York City
Ballet, Legacy
Chocolates, Sunbelt Software and many more.

Award-winning and result-driven examples can be seen at and a side-by-side comparison of before-and after-client identites can be seen at

Want one the country’s leading designers of identites and more? His talent can be yours. Contact

About the author

Brand identity expert, veteran designer, author, speaker and Fast Company expert blogger. Shark Tank investor and CEO of fashion brand Fubu, Daymond John states, "David Brier is brilliant with branding." He’s been written about in, INC and Fortune Small Business. In addition to being a branding specialist and a Fast Company expert blogger, David's Slideshare presentations on branding have exceeded the 500,000 view milestone (a founding member of Slideshare's Half-a-Million Views Club) and is the 1st place winner in the 2013 Shorty Awards (known industry-wide as “The Oscars for Social Media”) for branding