Hone Your Craft (the Truth about Rebranding)

This morning I picked up a Chattanooga newspaper to see that the area of town called Brainerd is rebranding to be called Midtown. They are electing to change their identity and have asked Chattanoogans to embrace the new name by only calling the area Midtown–no longer Brainerd.

Right now rebranding is a crazy hot topic and I feel like just about every company is trying to modify their marketing scheme to attract the eyes and ears of paying customers, but there’s a serious flaw in some of the logic of rebranding and it needs to be pointed out that successful marketing is, (in my unprofessional opinion) completely contingent on having a good product. My generation of tech-savvy social media makers and shakers are entering the work force and we are bringing with us a new level of interconnectedness that is unique and awesome to see. We know how to build websites, design trendy graphics, link up with other businesses, and express ourselves digitally (because we’ve been doing it since AIM). But just as that interconnectedness helps, it also has the potential to destroy.

This afternoon I went to the Frothy Monkey coffee shop in Franklin. I’m just in town for the day and wanted to get some coding work done so I thought I would check out the new coffee shop and buckle down for a few hours on a computer–something I’m a huge fan of. If you’re not from Franklin, the Frothy Monkey is a hip new coffee shop which just opened a new location just outside the social hub of downtown Franklin and I have yet to see the place without a ten minute line for coffee. It’s hip, it’s trendy, the coffee is good, everything works–except for power outlets.

Now take what I say with a grain of salt because I have friends who work at the Monkey and It really does seem like a wonderful place, but today I was amazed to find that I was unable to find a single working electrical outlet in the entire coffee shop. As a consistent coffee shop goer, I was pretty bummed when my computer showed low battery and I was unable to find any spots to work in the store. Granted, maybe that’s their thing and they would rather have people talking than typing but that seems a bit ignorant for the dynamic worker looking for some quality time  with espresso and the internet.

So I left and went to the next new coffee shop in Franklin (where I am currently located) called The Coffee House. Now I’m not in the business of complaining, but the chair I sat in was broken and it took ten minutes to get a toasted bagel with cream cheese–which is exactly my point. The connectedness of the modern world is really harsh on consumer based industries because I have the platform to tweet away my frustrations for all my friends and family to see and consider the next time they want coffee in Franklin. Now I’m not trying to bash either of these establishments because I honestly enjoy both, but I thought this is an interesting reality of the modern world.

Colin Cowherd is a sports analyst on ESPN, and one day he went on a side rant about the ‘youtube generation’ and all the people making videos of themselves singing who aren’t even good at singing. His point was this: hone your craft and you will get your shot. 

One way or another, we all end up on the internet and so instead of focusing all of our efforts on exposure, we should rather focus on becoming the best we can possible be and letting the exposure happen naturally.

Example: For the past year all I have heard nothing but rants and raves about how great The Patterson House in Nashville is. Supposedly it’s a speakeasy style bar which is expensive, but super unique and focused on the experience of going out for drinks from the prohibition era. As I haven’t yet been there (going tonight), I can’t really comment on how the product is–but I can say that I have never seen an ad for Patterson House, but I know all about it. If you click on the link and go to their website you’ll see just how minimal the advertising focus is. The webpage only has the name, hours, address, and phone number of the establishment.

So I guess my concluding thought is this: make something great and let consumers find you–rebranding for the sake of publicity will only gain our momentary attention. But if your product is good enough, we will use social networks to promote you better than you ever could.




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