I’ve been working with businesses on Marketing and Brand strategy for more than a decade. I can’t even count the number of times a plan fell apart shortly after launch because results didn’t immediately come pouring in. I can’t even count the number of times a plan never even got off the ground because I designed a long term strategy of consistency that would require time and effort instead of a “campaign” that would be immediately profitable, or a Brand instantly recognizable.

What these problems all stem from is a myth. It’s the myth of overnight success. Yet despite being a myth, it doesn’t stop businesses from trying to make it happen based on some flawed assumptions.

Our Blades Are F***ing Great

Stop me if you’ve heard this one.

A guy is walking through a warehouse talking about razors. He’s funny. He’s got you thinking about how much monety you spend on your disposable blades with Gillette or Schick. All of a sudden, everyone is talking about him and his company.

The next day your CEO walks in and emails the entire company exclaiming:

That! That’s what we need!

We’re all familiar with this viral campaign by now and in the years since, there have been only a handful of success stories that can match it.

Yet, it continues to come up, in marketing meeting after marketing meeting.

While the Dollar Shave Club was clearly a runaway success, it was also an anomaly in the world of marketing. Countless companies have tried to replicate it only to make their lukewarm contribution of weird for the sake of weird that has become the norm. How many boring, bland companies have wasted money trying to be edgy and irreverent? Just look at this year’s Super Bowl commercials and you can almost feel the desperation coming through the screen. They all want so badly to be talked about.

Going Viral Is Great, But 15 Minutes Isn’t Enough

Purple Mattress commercial - the egg test

Recently, the CEO of Purple Mattress said “it’s time for the Brand to mature”

“It’s time for the brand to mature and really start selling the health and wellness of a great night’s sleep. We did get great mileage out of some pretty quirky marketing early in our life, and it got the brand to be, as young as it is, to be relatively well-known — our brand recall is competitive with Tempur and Sleep Number — but what people don’t know is: why is it better,” DeMartini said. “So we’ve got to make the shift to start talking about consumer benefits.”

A company that created brand recall comparable to Tempur and Sleep Number has decided to abandon the strategy that got them there…why?

Because quirky, funny, and viral is not sustainable. It can only get you so far, because getting it right is really hard, and every company eventually figures that out.

Don’t believe me? What was the other Dollar Shave Club video about?



Customers have a being bombarded with a gazillion options and they are distracted with plenty more than what to buy next. Further, even if you do happen to go viral you are not immediately trustworthy because you showed up once. And as Purple has learned, even if you are memorable, people may not be remembering the most meaningful things about you.

Both Marketing and Branding require consistency over time to produce sustainable results. So instead of chasing the dream of being the next most talked about video, here’s a better strategy.

One Thousand Steps

As I see it, you can keep chasing the fantasy that you’ll be one of the lucky ones to go viral because you spent a few thousand dollars promoting your business, or you can be patient and take a different, more effective route.

  • Ask yourself why you exist? What do you really care about? What would you care about, what would you do, and what would you stand for…even if it didn’t make you money?
  • Figure out what you’re willing to promise and then be ready to back up that promise every single day.
  • Identify who you are for, and then get ready to talk directly to them to the exclusion of everyone else.
  • Take what you stand for, what you promise, and who you are for as a map to point you to exactly where you are uniquely positioned in the marketplace.

Then, take a deep breath because now you have to reinforce all of the answers to those questions in everything you do, every single day.

If you need help creating a Brand that owns a position in the market, knows why it exists, has clearly mapped values, messaging, and voice, you can get my Heroic Brand Strategy Template on the SUPER Market (see below) or reach out to me and we can talk about creating your sustainable plan.

Heroic Brand Strategy [Notion Template]

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