Brand Leaders and Sex: The Untold Story

Brand identity expert David Brier, along with Word Jedi Marlene Hamerling, bring you The Dirty Dozen, shedding new light on the old maxim that sex sells.


Love, lust and sensuality have been around as long as fire. Who knows, maybe they created the first spark that made fire seem desirable.

While that’s conjecture, there’s one thing we know is true.  Our passion for brands, branding and “stuff that works” can be as insatiable and hot-blooded as any romantic fling.  And brand leaders know that a killer product launch is one of the greatest aphrodisiacs there is.

Honestly, now. Is it any wonder that the whole subject is often referred to as  “positioning?” How innocent is the bite taken out of Apple’s forbidden-fruit logo? Is Dyson’s “no loss of suction” really about vacuum cleaners?  And let us not forget that great copy line from the Cadillac CTS commercial, “When you turn it on, does it return the favor?”

So how can you ensure that your brand ends up on top? Well, here you have it.

  1. Leadership brands find new and unique positions. Follower brands do it the same old way, just like everybody else.
  2. Leadership brands make customers happy they’re doing it and eager to do it again. Follower brands leave them wishing it were over.
  3. Leadership brands make sure their customers are satisfied. Follower brands are in it only for themselves.
  4. Leadership brands revel in their customers’ obsession. Follower brands would be thankful for the occasional stalker.
  5. Leadership brands shower their customers with attention. Follower brands drown them in indifference.
  6. Leadership brands care about their image and are a pleasure to be seen with. Follower brands are concealed in a brown paper bag.
  7. Leadership brands earn respect and devotion. Follower brands get the “friends with perks” treatment: I don’t really love you but you’ll do for now.
  8. Leadership brands enjoy a level of customer monogamy. Follower brands merely have flings.
  9. Leadership brands routinely incite desire for the C word: Commitment. Follower brands are often subjected to the F word: Fleeting.
  10. Leadership brands can proudly be brought home to meet the family. Follower brands provoke apologies for getting caught in “Brands Gone Wild.”
  11. Leadership brands get the ring. Follower brands are left in the aisle.
  12. With a leadership brand, it’s a joy waking up to it, day after day. With a follower brand, the honeymoon is over before the first bag is unpacked.

So never be afraid of the L word.
Leadership = Lust… Love… Loyalty…


Lead on.

David Brier
is an
award-winning brand identity designer, author
and branding expert. His firm’s
has won the admiration of peers and organizations but, more
importantly, has helped clients jump-start their brands in new and
innovative ways, even (and especially) when they’ve failed in previous
brand makeovers. You can follow him on Twitter here.

Marlene Hamerling is an award-winning copywriter who has given voice, in every medium, to clients that run the gamut from geek to glam.

Feet image credit: © Andrzej Podsiad |


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