At Stealing Share, we believe there is a fundamental tenet in branding that should guide everything a brand stands for: The price of clarity is the risk of offense.

The meaning of that is simple. To be a true choice, you must put a stake in the ground about how you are for. You cannot be for everyone, because then you are really for nobody.

That strategy often scares the hell out of companies because many tend to look for consensus or make choices that cause the least amount of pushback from internal audiences.

consensusThe results are evident in many brands, both large and small but you wouldn’t think it would be that way. There is a great deal of parity between products and services so it would seem logical that brand positions would be more focused. As more players complete in a market, the piece of the pie for any one player becomes smaller and, therefore, brands become more defined.

Unfortunately, this isn’t the case with many brands.

What narrow focus gives you is preference. What preference gives you is margin. When a brand is positioned to be for everyone, there becomes no reason to prefer it. After all, a consumer could switch to another brand that promised the same kind of vanilla.

At its root, many vanilla brands are actually the result of organizational politics. There is greater worry about what internal audiences think than what prompts outside audiences to prefer the brand.

Building consensus is all fine and good, but the goal of a brand should be to grow market share and preference, not make your co-workers all agree with each other.