There are lots of thin lines in business I suppose.

And in life.

Thin Lines. 

Sometimes it’s better to be one side.

Sometimes it’s better to be the other.

Depending on context.

Passion versus Obsession.

For example.

Passion in a personal relationship can be amazing.

Genuine obsession in a personal relationship can be stifling.

Yet in business.

Passion can sound commonplace, contrived and inauthentic.

Whereas genuine obsession can be hypnotic.

As I say.



In branding there are endless thin lines.

And I want to point one out to you today.

It’s a strange one, this.

Because it’s hard to fathom.

It is the thin line between these two things:

  1. Asking a market how it feels.
  2. Telling a market how it feels.

It might be best to read those two things again.

Before you read on.

Tipping Point.

There is a tipping point between the two.


And telling).

And it is hard to work out where it is.

It reminds me a little bit of the difference between ‘Internal Pride’ and ‘The Lived Reality’.

(You can read about ‘Internal Pride’ versus ‘The Lived Reality’ in my free Digital Book – A.BRAND. Get a copy of A.BRAND, in seconds, by signing up to A.NEWSLETTER at

It reminds me a little bit of the difference between ‘Internal Pride’ and ‘The Lived Reality’ because, oftentimes, there is a difference between what is really going on.

And what you really wish was really going on.

And if you lose your objectivity.

You’re screwed.

Because, I think.

You then start to tell a market how it feels.

And that’s a big mistake.


This short story is inconclusive.

I can’t tell you what to do about this.

Other than to be careful.

And very importantly.

To listen much more than you talk.

Especially in the early years of your brand development journey.

And don’t filter what you hear.

Listen to it all.

A Question. 

So next time you are talking to someone about why your brand offer is better.

Check yourself.

Are you talking about how your market actually feels?

Because you asked them.

And you listened.

You listened properly.


And because you know it to be true.

Or are you talking about how you think or imagine that your market should actually feel?

Because you are obsessive about the change you want to make.


This is worth checking.

Because if it is the latter.

You are the wrong side of the thin line.

You are on the lonely side.

Because on that side of the line.

Is a vacuum.

And the only person to whom what you are saying resonates.

In the way that great brand messaging should.

Is you.

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