Someone has to hate your brand

This is a guest post from Drew McLellan, CEO and Top Dog at McLellan Marketing Group. See the original post this is adapted from and more like it on his blog.

A brand (if it is going to be effective) has to be bold.

It has to stand for something. It has to plant a flag into the ground and stake out its territory. A brand cannot be neutral.

Your brand loyalists will love you. But, there’s no ying without the yang. In other words, if some love you, others will hate you. You can’t be everything to everyone and be a strong brand.

Which is, of course, why we have so many “mushy middle” brands (companies who are afraid to take a stand) — they try to be everything to everyone. Or they try to be a liger brand: a little bit of everything all mashed together. At McLellan Marketing, we tell clients to be bold or go home!

No graphic states this more eloquently than Kathy Sierra’s visual below.

Brand love scale

Love, love this explanation of why your brand can’t live in what we call the mushy middle!

Which is why I love the Miracle Whip campaign. They’re basically calling us out and saying, you either love it or hate it. Declare which side you’re on. They totally get that some people absolutely hate their product. And they’re fanning those flames. Why? To get the people who love their product to take a stand.

Check out their TV spot and enjoy smart branding. But then come back… because of course, we need to talk about your brand.

Okay, time to look at your own brand. Can you define who hates you, or at least who should? And don’t get all “people who don’t want quality” should hate us. Lame.

Seriously — it’s time you step out of the mushy middle and be brave enough to take a stand.

By the way, check out all of these stories, stats, and results from Kraft’s gamble on the Miracle Whip brand. Do you think they would have generated this kind of buzz if they did a mushy middle “everyone loves us” campaign?

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About Drew McLellan

Wall Street Journal calls Drew McLellan’s blog,, "one of the ten blogs every entrepreneur should read." His passion is helping clients discover their story so they can create authentic love affairs with their customers. He's also an author, national speaker, and has owned his own marketing agency in the Midwest since 1995.

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    […] Il tema torna ora d’attualità a seguito di un interessante post di Drew McLellan su «Word of Mouth Marketing»: «Qualcuno il tuo Brand lo dovrà pur odiare». Dove si dice chiaramente: «un’azienda, se […]

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