A lot of companies get what is most important about its brand wrong. They lead with features and assume that consumers will rationally see and choose based on these data points.

The problem is that the first connection to a product or brand is emotional, not rational.

espn 3dI’m reminded of that after reading that ESPN is shutting down its ESPN 3D channel by the end of 2013. There’s a reason for that: ESPN, once a pretty strong brand, gave viewers no reason to watch the channel other than the technology (i.e., the feature).

Consider this. If instead a brand claimed what was emotionally valuable about that feature – let’s say, ESPN 3D made you a more informed sports watcher – the brand would remain valuable even if a better version came along.

The risk of focusing on these rational features is that, even though they might act as very good support points to an emotional position, they are also easily claimable and replicated by competition.

Even more than that, they are easily made obsolete.