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This weekend a friend of mine shared an article about how Tampa Bay is trying to figure out their brand message as they near the city’s hosting of the Republican National Convention in August. The event will attract millions of eye balls, thousands of delegates and at least 15,000 members of the media.

Reading the article not only wore me out, but it brought back memories of projects I’ve worked on that had the same odor—branding by committee.

Sure consensus is important, doing collaborative research is key and hearing out many perspectives, that’s part of the process, but winning brands are created when one leader steps up, makes hard decisions and champions the movement. This is why we never see statues of committees in our parks or public spaces.

The problems with branding by committee are rampant. There are usually tons of the non productive meetings that suck days out of the resources that could be used for actually building the brand. It’s inevitable that the committee will include people adverse to risk. Great branding is risky. To stand out, bold thinking is required. Committees are notorious for watering down breakthrough ideas. And there are so many diverse agendas, brands by committee become a hair splitting activity, instead of picking a lane and charging forward.

3 tips for brand building.
1) Trust one leader and give them the power to make decisions.
2) Pick the single most important message/promise. Deliver these with extreme intensity, frequency and consistent execution.
3) Accept and embrace that bold, breakthrough and brilliant brands will include a degree of risk.

I wish Tampa the best in finding their brand to take to the world. Whatever they decide on, which I hope is pretty fast, since August is right around the corner- they need to know, it won’t be perfect and it won’t be loved by everyone and that’s OK.

As Nike said so well— Just do it!

For more branding tips, check out:
5 personal branding tips that have instant impact