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What’s In A Brand? The Blog Post Hangover

By Russ Starke on April 2, 2013

Once upon a time, when the Think Blog was very young, we had a series of posts called “Gets It / Doesn’t Get It.” Our intention was to highlight exceptional experience design and to, conversely, call poor design to the mat.

There were only a few official entries in the “Doesn’t Get It” canon, but two things happened since that experiment that have recently led us to formally abandon it:

1. We Grew Up

Our brand expression has naturally evolved and solidified over time—providing us with a clearer sense of “who” the brand is as a sum of its parts.  Though we always come from a place of “dislike the design, not the designer,” we realized that it’s not really in our collective character to so overtly and publicly be negative. While it’s extremely important in our line of work to collect both strong examples and non-examples, it’s also important to be mindful about how and when you share them (and how pointed one gets when naming names).

2. We Got The “Wrong” Kind Of Attention

In any given time period, and with rare exception, our most popular blog post has been about how tea emporium Teavana “Doesn’t Get It” (or at least they didn’t back when we posted the piece in September of 2010). I wrote that piece, I stand by what I wrote, and I don’t think much has changed since. But that’s fodder for my personal channels, not the company’s. More importantly, the type of responses the post generated did nothing to further our business goals—and what’s worse, they falsely inflated our blog analytics and generated noise in our email inboxes. For this particular thorn in our side, rather than subjectively editing which replies we approved, and also to stem the influx, we subsequently closed commentary and removed the ranting replies, both pro and con—trust us, you’re not missing out on any great intellectual sparring.

We’re constantly cleaning up and tweaking our digital presence to stay aligned with our marketing and business goals, and to take advantage of new, validated trends and technologies. As part of that process, our first thought was to delete all of the “Doesn’t Get It” posts—revisionist history, I know. So, we subsequently discussed the honesty of removing it. We like to talk about how we have a new generation of Thinkers as we’ve continued to add more smart people to our team—and some have noticed the post and asked, “what does this say about our brand?”

Ultimately we agreed that our blog is a record of our thinking and our evolution, and the answer to “what to do about it?” was an obvious one: blog about it. I know, we’re so self-conscious, right? Right. Like any good company.

Have you been faced with a similar dilemma? What was your course of action, and why? Looking forward to the conversation.

P.S. Starbucks/Teavana, your first Think Session is on us!