Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Land of Bland

Being Bland IS: Safe.

Being Bland IS: Politically correct.

Being Bland MEANS: You won't get laughed at, second-guessed or criticized.

Being Bland TURNS: You into the "Charlie Brown Teacher" reading 838 bullet points off 79 PowerPoint slides while 127 sets of eyeballs glaze over. "Stab me in the eye with a dinner fork".

Being Bland CREATES: "Vanilla Nice" radio ads (promising fast, friendly & knowledgeable staff!), brochures, web copy, trade show booths and visuals that morph into the same "white noise" that all of your competitors are making.

Being Bland MEANS: You will be ignored.

Being Bland IS DEFINITELY: Bad for your business.

Being Bland KILLS: Any hope of your brand emerging as a recession-proof, ever growing and evolving community of loyal customers who generate long-term growth and profitability.

Being Bland IS: Going through the motions. Never once losing your mind in "Detroit Rock City".

Being Bland IS: A public admission that you lack the vision or imagination to come up with a fist-pumping brand message that rocks somebody's nightime world - including your own.

According to Dictionary.com, "bland" is defined a number of ways including; mild; tasteless; lacking in special interest, liveliness, individuality; insipid; dull; unemotional, indifferent, or casual.But if you want to get your business (and your brand) noticed by customers, future employees and inspire the people already in your show, consider an approach to:

BE OUTRAGEOUS: Because it's the only place in your category that isn't already overcrowded.

BE OUTRAGEOUS: Because it beats the hell out of being boring.

BE OUTRAGEOUS: Because being boring is risky as a branding strategy.

Unless, of course you want to blend in with the other "sphincterizing suits" and develop a non-offensive, guaranteed-never-to-shock brand, that settles for a peaceful, ordinary and most uneventful existence in the "land of bland". Consequences include getting blindsided someday by a competitor with the vision and gonads to be OUTRAGEOUS!

Being Bland IS: A choice.

Yours to make.

The following video IS: Another choice for you to make, depending on your sensitivity level.

Watch it. Praise it. Shitcan it. Maybe even forward it. But my guess is you won't find it Bland.

While we're on the subject of A.B.B. (Anything But Bland), Wendi Aarons of Austin, TX must have made some Procter & Gamble honchos squeamish with her open letter to the P&G Brand Manager. Her posting has reverberated through the blosphere thanks to her surgical-like wordsmithing that gave voice to what many women feel, but would never say.


Honestly, who does a Brand from Bland really work for?

Why do we see so much of it in the business world?

And why is it tolerated?

"James Bond has a license to kill, rock stars have a license to be outrageous. Rock is about grabbing people's attention" GENE SIMMONS


ShanRock said...

Isn't it interesting how in our society today, sensitivity is continuing to gain momentum and continues to become more acute (suspending us with "bland").
Yet, at the same time, we are all so completely enlightened and enamored by a letter such as Wendi Aaron's to P&G,(as a women I must agree - she hit it on the mark) and we absolutely lose ourselves with ROTFL as we watch the Chem Corp video in Mr. Maxwelll's blog today. Couple that with how we will have complete admiration of the friend, foe or colleague that has the innate ability to "tell it like it is" and be completely honest.....
Wouldn't life be interesting if our filters were off more and blatant honesty was so revered and accepted that we all developed tougher skins? I would beg to assume that it would increase our productivity in so many ways and allow us to "hit our target" so much more often......
I am always amused when I am looking to be critiqued constructively and I feel the truth eludes me even though i am begging for it....

Gair Maxwell said...

Now this is an interesting point you have made... Is it a question of being becoming more sensitive to the needs of others or developing thicker skins? Hmmm...Maybe it's not not a zero-sum question but one that requires a deeper level of thinking like the thoughts you have shared on this post.