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Brand Angst.

Define, identify and solve the Brand Angst™
that’s been grinding your gears.

Let’s talk
Brand Angst.

Define, identify and solve the Brand Angst™ that’s been grinding your gears.

Let’s talk
Brand Angst.

Define, identify and solve the Brand Angst™ that’s been grinding your gears.

/brand äNG(k)st/

noun

the crippling sense of frustration and anxiety created when a brand loses its way—often exhibited by putting tactics before strategy—resulting in underwhelming financial performance, interdepartmental friction and general disappointment

Example: Our CEO just announced his sixth plan in as many weeks, completely dismantling the entire team’s efforts of the past month. Looking over to our CMO, Jenny, the dark circles under her eyes told me her Brand Angst was at an all-time high.

/brand äNG(k)st/

noun

the crippling sense of frustration and anxiety created when a brand loses its way—often exhibited by putting tactics before strategy—resulting in underwhelming financial performance, interdepartmental friction and general disappointment.

Example: Our CEO just announced his sixth plan in as many weeks, completely dismantling the entire team’s efforts of the past month. Looking over to our CMO, Jenny, the dark circles under her eyes told me her Brand Angst was at an all-time high.

/brand äNG(k)st/

noun

the crippling sense of frustration and anxiety created when a brand loses its way—often exhibited by putting tactics before strategy—resulting in underwhelming financial performance, interdepartmental friction and general disappointment

Example: Our CEO just announced his sixth plan in as many weeks, completely dismantling the entire team’s efforts of the past month. Looking over to our CMO, Jenny, the dark circles under her eyes told me her Brand Angst was at an all-time high.

The Feariodic Table
of Brand Angst.

Everyone knows there’s an elephant in the room. The question is, what to do about it. And since you can’t solve a problem without identifying it first, we created the Feariodic Table to help companies see what’s holding them back. Because once the monster under the bed has a name, it’s not scary anymore.
Agency Juggling : – When a brand has several specialists in play but no true leading agency partner—resulting in more time spent on agency accountability than brand experience and growth.
Budget Bullied : – When a brand’s immediate competition has deeper pockets, causing the belief you can’t compete, resulting in underwhelming performance and low morale.
Busted Compass Syndrome : – When a brand hasn’t identified what it stands for, what value proposition it best presents, or which target audience is most appropriate—resulting in a reliance on sales efforts, promotions, pricing and the dreaded Shiny Object Syndrome.
Budget Envy : – When marketing leadership knows they have pennies to their competitor’s dollar and lowers the bar for what they think their efforts can accomplish.
Big Whale Syndrome : – When a brand hires the biggest agency they can afford—rather than the most effective one—and soon realizes they don’t even get the agency’s B Team, let alone results.
Competition Chasers : – When a brand falls in love with the success, look & feel or marketing efforts of a more established player in the category and does everything they can to copy them or measure themselves by them instead of finding their own path.
Chameleon-itus : – When a brand doesn’t believe it has anything unique to offer (usually due to a reliance on innovative or promotional advantage) and thus makes safe marketing efforts that blend in with the category.
Corner-Cutters : – When a brand’s leadership team (usually influenced by financial concerns or considerations) believes no one will notice the details they skip. Typically associated with language like: “No one is ever going to notice…”
Commitment-phobia : – When a brand’s leader or leadership team won’t commit to a marketing direction, thereby ensuring no one will know what they stand for. This often drives their target toward the very competitor they’re trying to outperform.
Channel Surfers : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes being on every media channel makes up for the fact they’re saying nothing of value. (a.k.a. Keeping up with the marketing Jones’s.) Symptoms include comments like, “We HAVE to be everywhere or we’re nowhere!” or “Well THEY are on [insert media channel] so we HAVE to be.”
Data and Confused : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes people can artfully articulate what they feel, believe and want in a focus group—exactly how the brand needs to hear the information. And a belief that raw data (minus any interpretation) will provide the answer to the problem.
Discount Dependency : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes people only buy on price, and they HAVE to be the cheapest in the market to maintain a competitive advantage. For more, see Death Spiral: a one-way path to ensuring your business is undervalued and guaranteed to underperform.
Difference Denial : – When a brand’s leadership team believes there’s no difference between them and other brands in the competitive set—frequently accompanied by a reliance on sales team performance and promotional pricing.
Digital Delirium : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team believes ‘all you need is social/digital’ to be successful. Frequently associated with comments like, “Concept doesn’t matter, we’ll A/B test our way to success”, or “We just need the right influencer group”, or “Broadcast is dead. Nobody watches TV anymore.”
Decision-Less Maker : – When a brand’s marketing lead is incapable of (or refuses to be responsible for) making important decisions. Also exhibited as “That’s Not My Call Syndrome” whereby all decisions are passed off as someone else’s responsibility. See CYA Career Strategy for more details.
Fear of Greatness : – When a brand’s leadership team is paralyzed by the idea that their efforts might propel them into unprecedented success, and they realize they’re not prepared for it. Frequently accompanied by statements like, “If we did that, it would have unintended consequences…like having to ramp up [insert business/sales/marketing activity here].
Glory Day Chasers : – When a brand used to be hot sh*t and isn’t anymore, but they refuse to admit it or be proactive about it because, “Things are going to change next [insert timeframe here], and we’ll be back on top!”
Game of Thrones : – When a brand’s leadership team is under the delusion that they get the best team performance by pitting divisions and employees against each other. Often accompanied by comments like, “I treat employees like mushrooms; Keep ’em in the dark and feed ’em sh*t,” and an obsessive passion for the movie The Highlander. May also include sword collecting or laser-disc collections.
Hooked on a Feeling : – When a brand’s leadership team makes decisions based on an extraordinarily opinionated team member who “has a feeling” something could or should work. Frequently accompanied by the opinion holder’s uncanny ability to wave away any factually-based evidence with an off-the-cuff, eloquent counter-opinion that contains the essence of truth—but without any real basis in it.
Hot Potato : – When a brand’s leadership team believes every new idea, initiative or competitive achievement is suddenly the single most important thing—thereby destroying any hope of planning, budget adherence or momentum generation. Frequently exhibited by comments like, “I know we were going to work on [insert project everyone has been working on for weeks] but this is IMPORTANT…”
Kumbaya Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership team believes an idea can only be good once every member of the team—and anyone else they’ve ever known—expresses that they like it. Frequently accompanied by comments like, “I really like this idea, but I want to show it to a few people that I trust…” Or “I’d like a few days to let everyone give their input before moving forward.” See also: Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth.
Momentum-Cuffs : – When a leadership team is so afraid of losing existing momentum that they refuse to act on a real opportunity, even if the idea would clearly change their performance or standing for the better. See also: “Playing it Safe, not Playing to Win”.
Next-Quarter Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership team or marketing team is under the misperception that the responsibility of change lies completely on their shoulders, and there’s simply no way they can give it attention until an arbitrary future date. See also: “Ten-lb. Day in a Five-lb. Sack.”
Personality Disorder : – When a brand can’t commit to one tone of voice or gets bored with a chosen strategy, because they’re tired of it. Or because they’ve been unduly influenced by Shiny Object Syndrome. Frequently accompanied by statements like, “I know we want to be consistent, but what if we tried this for a few months.”
Quick Fixers : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team repeatedly prioritizes short-sighted quick-wins over long-term growth strategies, because they’re worried about any immediate dropoff in success. See also: Coupon Clutchers and Prolonged Promotions Syndrome.
Shiny Object Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team is constantly distracted by something they ‘just read/saw/realized’ that’s deemed ‘a REALLY good idea!’ but has the shelf life of a mayfly.
Staffing Shuffle : – When a brand’s leadership team tries to fix a sales or marketing problem by hiring someone new, thereby restarting the cycle over and over again, virtually guaranteeing the problem will never be fixed.
Title Mirage : – When a brand’s marketing leader has all of the title, but none of the authority, leaving them to the whims of a CEO/President/Founder’s approval, who’s rarely an active part of the creative process, and thus is constantly at odds with what would strengthen the brand.
Under the (Investor) Influence : – When a brand is highly governed by a financially-vested group who’s rarely part of the day-to-day. This group confuses their ability to invest with the ability to run their investment company—leading them into overly safe positions under the guise of ‘making smart business decisions’.
Visionary Hopscotch : – When a brand is constantly jumping to new endeavors and strategies because they can’t lock the visionary founder down on a single idea. Frequently accompanied by exasperated eye-rolling, worn out leadership teams, and the phrase, “That’s just how we do things here.”

Our Process

Now that we have clarity on the Brand Angst that keeps your team from performing at their best, it’s time to get aligned on the single most important question:
What problem are we really solving?
Together, we clearly define the real issues that keep your business from reaching its full potential, then develop an equally clear plan on how to address it. This initial step provides our clients insight into how we think, how we work, and who we are – ensuring that we never lost sight of our objective and are a good partner from day one. 

The Feariodic Table of Brand Angst.

Everyone knows there’s an elephant in the room. The question is, what to do about it. And since you can’t solve a problem without identifying it first, we created the Feariodic Table to help companies see what’s holding them back. Because once the monster under the bed has a name, it’s not scary anymore.
Agency Juggling : – When a brand has several specialists in play but no true leading agency partner—resulting in more time spent on agency accountability than brand experience and growth.
Budget Bullied : – When a brand’s immediate competition has deeper pockets, causing the belief you can’t compete, resulting in underwhelming performance and low morale.
Busted Compass Syndrome : – When a brand hasn’t identified what it stands for, what value proposition it best presents, or which target audience is most appropriate—resulting in a reliance on sales efforts, promotions, pricing and the dreaded Shiny Object Syndrome.
Budget Envy : – When marketing leadership knows they have pennies to their competitor’s dollar and lowers the bar for what they think their efforts can accomplish.
Big Whale Syndrome : – When a brand hires the biggest agency they can afford—rather than the most effective one—and soon realizes they don’t even get the agency’s B Team, let alone results.
Competition Chasers : – When a brand falls in love with the success, look & feel or marketing efforts of a more established player in the category and does everything they can to copy them or measure themselves by them instead of finding their own path.
Chameleon-itus : – When a brand doesn’t believe it has anything unique to offer (usually due to a reliance on innovative or promotional advantage) and thus makes safe marketing efforts that blend in with the category.
Corner-Cutters : – When a brand’s leadership team (usually influenced by financial concerns or considerations) believes no one will notice the details they skip. Typically associated with language like: “No one is ever going to notice…”
Commitment-phobia : – When a brand’s leader or leadership team won’t commit to a marketing direction, thereby ensuring no one will know what they stand for. This often drives their target toward the very competitor they’re trying to outperform.
Channel Surfers : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes being on every media channel makes up for the fact they’re saying nothing of value. (a.k.a. Keeping up with the marketing Jones’s.) Symptoms include comments like, “We HAVE to be everywhere or we’re nowhere!” or “Well THEY are on [insert media channel] so we HAVE to be.”
Data and Confused : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes people can artfully articulate what they feel, believe and want in a focus group—exactly how the brand needs to hear the information. And a belief that raw data (minus any interpretation) will provide the answer to the problem.
Discount Dependency : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes people only buy on price, and they HAVE to be the cheapest in the market to maintain a competitive advantage. For more, see Death Spiral: a one-way path to ensuring your business is undervalued and guaranteed to underperform.
Difference Denial : – When a brand’s leadership team believes there’s no difference between them and other brands in the competitive set—frequently accompanied by a reliance on sales team performance and promotional pricing.
Digital Delirium : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team believes ‘all you need is social/digital’ to be successful. Frequently associated with comments like, “Concept doesn’t matter, we’ll A/B test our way to success”, or “We just need the right influencer group”, or “Broadcast is dead. Nobody watches TV anymore.”
Decision-Less Maker : – When a brand’s marketing lead is incapable of (or refuses to be responsible for) making important decisions. Also exhibited as “That’s Not My Call Syndrome” whereby all decisions are passed off as someone else’s responsibility. See CYA Career Strategy for more details.
Fear of Greatness : – When a brand’s leadership team is paralyzed by the idea that their efforts might propel them into unprecedented success, and they realize they’re not prepared for it. Frequently accompanied by statements like, “If we did that, it would have unintended consequences…like having to ramp up [insert business/sales/marketing activity here].
Glory Day Chasers : – When a brand used to be hot sh*t and isn’t anymore, but they refuse to admit it or be proactive about it because, “Things are going to change next [insert timeframe here], and we’ll be back on top!”
Game of Thrones : – When a brand’s leadership team is under the delusion that they get the best team performance by pitting divisions and employees against each other. Often accompanied by comments like, “I treat employees like mushrooms; Keep ’em in the dark and feed ’em sh*t,” and an obsessive passion for the movie The Highlander. May also include sword collecting or laser-disc collections.
Hooked on a Feeling : – When a brand’s leadership team makes decisions based on an extraordinarily opinionated team member who “has a feeling” something could or should work. Frequently accompanied by the opinion holder’s uncanny ability to wave away any factually-based evidence with an off-the-cuff, eloquent counter-opinion that contains the essence of truth—but without any real basis in it.
Hot Potato : – When a brand’s leadership team believes every new idea, initiative or competitive achievement is suddenly the single most important thing—thereby destroying any hope of planning, budget adherence or momentum generation. Frequently exhibited by comments like, “I know we were going to work on [insert project everyone has been working on for weeks] but this is IMPORTANT…”
Kumbaya Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership team believes an idea can only be good once every member of the team—and anyone else they’ve ever known—expresses that they like it. Frequently accompanied by comments like, “I really like this idea, but I want to show it to a few people that I trust…” Or “I’d like a few days to let everyone give their input before moving forward.” See also: Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth.
Momentum-Cuffs : – When a leadership team is so afraid of losing existing momentum that they refuse to act on a real opportunity, even if the idea would clearly change their performance or standing for the better. See also: “Playing it Safe, not Playing to Win”.
Next-Quarter Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership team or marketing team is under the misperception that the responsibility of change lies completely on their shoulders, and there’s simply no way they can give it attention until an arbitrary future date. See also: “Ten-lb. Day in a Five-lb. Sack.”
Personality Disorder : – When a brand can’t commit to one tone of voice or gets bored with a chosen strategy, because they’re tired of it. Or because they’ve been unduly influenced by Shiny Object Syndrome. Frequently accompanied by statements like, “I know we want to be consistent, but what if we tried this for a few months.”
Quick Fixers : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team repeatedly prioritizes short-sighted quick-wins over long-term growth strategies, because they’re worried about any immediate dropoff in success. See also: Coupon Clutchers and Prolonged Promotions Syndrome.
Shiny Object Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team is constantly distracted by something they ‘just read/saw/realized’ that’s deemed ‘a REALLY good idea!’ but has the shelf life of a mayfly.
Staffing Shuffle : – When a brand’s leadership team tries to fix a sales or marketing problem by hiring someone new, thereby restarting the cycle over and over again, virtually guaranteeing the problem will never be fixed.
Title Mirage : – When a brand’s marketing leader has all of the title, but none of the authority, leaving them to the whims of a CEO/President/Founder’s approval, who’s rarely an active part of the creative process, and thus is constantly at odds with what would strengthen the brand.
Under the (Investor) Influence : – When a brand is highly governed by a financially-vested group who’s rarely part of the day-to-day. This group confuses their ability to invest with the ability to run their investment company—leading them into overly safe positions under the guise of ‘making smart business decisions’.
Visionary Hopscotch : – When a brand is constantly jumping to new endeavors and strategies because they can’t lock the visionary founder down on a single idea. Frequently accompanied by exasperated eye-rolling, worn out leadership teams, and the phrase, “That’s just how we do things here.”

Our Process

Now that we have clarity on the Brand Angst that keeps your team from performing at their best, it’s time to get aligned on the single most important question:
What problem are we really solving?
Together, we clearly define the real issues that keep your business from reaching its full potential, then develop an equally clear plan on how to address it. This initial step provides our clients insight into how we think, how we work, and who we are – ensuring that we never lost sight of our objective and are a good partner from day one.

The Feariodic Table
of Brand Angst.

Everyone knows there’s an elephant in the room. The question is, what to do about it. And since you can’t solve a problem without identifying it first, we created the Feariodic Table to help companies see what’s holding them back. Because once the monster under the bed has a name, it’s not scary anymore.
Agency Juggling : – When a brand has several specialists in play but no true leading agency partner—resulting in more time spent on agency accountability than brand experience and growth.
Budget Bullied : – When a brand’s immediate competition has deeper pockets, causing the belief you can’t compete, resulting in underwhelming performance and low morale.
Busted Compass Syndrome : – When a brand hasn’t identified what it stands for, what value proposition it best presents, or which target audience is most appropriate—resulting in a reliance on sales efforts, promotions, pricing and the dreaded Shiny Object Syndrome.
Budget Envy : – When marketing leadership knows they have pennies to their competitor’s dollar and lowers the bar for what they think their efforts can accomplish.
Big Whale Syndrome : – When a brand hires the biggest agency they can afford—rather than the most effective one—and soon realizes they don’t even get the agency’s B Team, let alone results.
Competition Chasers : – When a brand falls in love with the success, look & feel or marketing efforts of a more established player in the category and does everything they can to copy them or measure themselves by them instead of finding their own path.
Chameleon-itus : – When a brand doesn’t believe it has anything unique to offer (usually due to a reliance on innovative or promotional advantage) and thus makes safe marketing efforts that blend in with the category.
Corner-Cutters : – When a brand’s leadership team (usually influenced by financial concerns or considerations) believes no one will notice the details they skip. Typically associated with language like: “No one is ever going to notice…”
Commitment-phobia : – When a brand’s leader or leadership team won’t commit to a marketing direction, thereby ensuring no one will know what they stand for. This often drives their target toward the very competitor they’re trying to outperform.
Channel Surfers : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes being on every media channel makes up for the fact they’re saying nothing of value. (a.k.a. Keeping up with the marketing Jones’s.) Symptoms include comments like, “We HAVE to be everywhere or we’re nowhere!” or “Well THEY are on [insert media channel] so we HAVE to be.”
Data and Confused : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes people can artfully articulate what they feel, believe and want in a focus group—exactly how the brand needs to hear the information. And a belief that raw data (minus any interpretation) will provide the answer to the problem.
Discount Dependency : – When a brand’s marketing leadership believes people only buy on price, and they HAVE to be the cheapest in the market to maintain a competitive advantage. For more, see Death Spiral: a one-way path to ensuring your business is undervalued and guaranteed to underperform.
Difference Denial : – When a brand’s leadership team believes there’s no difference between them and other brands in the competitive set—frequently accompanied by a reliance on sales team performance and promotional pricing.
Digital Delirium : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team believes ‘all you need is social/digital’ to be successful. Frequently associated with comments like, “Concept doesn’t matter, we’ll A/B test our way to success”, or “We just need the right influencer group”, or “Broadcast is dead. Nobody watches TV anymore.”
Decision-Less Maker : – When a brand’s marketing lead is incapable of (or refuses to be responsible for) making important decisions. Also exhibited as “That’s Not My Call Syndrome” whereby all decisions are passed off as someone else’s responsibility. See CYA Career Strategy for more details.
Fear of Greatness : – When a brand’s leadership team is paralyzed by the idea that their efforts might propel them into unprecedented success, and they realize they’re not prepared for it. Frequently accompanied by statements like, “If we did that, it would have unintended consequences…like having to ramp up [insert business/sales/marketing activity here].
Glory Day Chasers : – When a brand used to be hot sh*t and isn’t anymore, but they refuse to admit it or be proactive about it because, “Things are going to change next [insert timeframe here], and we’ll be back on top!”
Game of Thrones : – When a brand’s leadership team is under the delusion that they get the best team performance by pitting divisions and employees against each other. Often accompanied by comments like, “I treat employees like mushrooms; Keep ’em in the dark and feed ’em sh*t,” and an obsessive passion for the movie The Highlander. May also include sword collecting or laser-disc collections.
Hooked on a Feeling : – When a brand’s leadership team makes decisions based on an extraordinarily opinionated team member who “has a feeling” something could or should work. Frequently accompanied by the opinion holder’s uncanny ability to wave away any factually-based evidence with an off-the-cuff, eloquent counter-opinion that contains the essence of truth—but without any real basis in it.
Hot Potato : – When a brand’s leadership team believes every new idea, initiative or competitive achievement is suddenly the single most important thing—thereby destroying any hope of planning, budget adherence or momentum generation. Frequently exhibited by comments like, “I know we were going to work on [insert project everyone has been working on for weeks] but this is IMPORTANT…”
Kumbaya Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership team believes an idea can only be good once every member of the team—and anyone else they’ve ever known—expresses that they like it. Frequently accompanied by comments like, “I really like this idea, but I want to show it to a few people that I trust…” Or “I’d like a few days to let everyone give their input before moving forward.” See also: Too Many Cooks Spoil the Broth.
Momentum-Cuffs : – When a leadership team is so afraid of losing existing momentum that they refuse to act on a real opportunity, even if the idea would clearly change their performance or standing for the better. See also: “Playing it Safe, not Playing to Win”.
Next-Quarter Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership team or marketing team is under the misperception that the responsibility of change lies completely on their shoulders, and there’s simply no way they can give it attention until an arbitrary future date. See also: “Ten-lb. Day in a Five-lb. Sack.”
Personality Disorder : – When a brand can’t commit to one tone of voice or gets bored with a chosen strategy, because they’re tired of it. Or because they’ve been unduly influenced by Shiny Object Syndrome. Frequently accompanied by statements like, “I know we want to be consistent, but what if we tried this for a few months.”
Quick Fixers : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team repeatedly prioritizes short-sighted quick-wins over long-term growth strategies, because they’re worried about any immediate dropoff in success. See also: Coupon Clutchers and Prolonged Promotions Syndrome.
Shiny Object Syndrome : – When a brand’s leadership or marketing team is constantly distracted by something they ‘just read/saw/realized’ that’s deemed ‘a REALLY good idea!’ but has the shelf life of a mayfly.
Staffing Shuffle : – When a brand’s leadership team tries to fix a sales or marketing problem by hiring someone new, thereby restarting the cycle over and over again, virtually guaranteeing the problem will never be fixed.
Title Mirage : – When a brand’s marketing leader has all of the title, but none of the authority, leaving them to the whims of a CEO/President/Founder’s approval, who’s rarely an active part of the creative process, and thus is constantly at odds with what would strengthen the brand.
Under the (Investor) Influence : – When a brand is highly governed by a financially-vested group who’s rarely part of the day-to-day. This group confuses their ability to invest with the ability to run their investment company—leading them into overly safe positions under the guise of ‘making smart business decisions’.
Visionary Hopscotch : – When a brand is constantly jumping to new endeavors and strategies because they can’t lock the visionary founder down on a single idea. Frequently accompanied by exasperated eye-rolling, worn out leadership teams, and the phrase, “That’s just how we do things here.”

Our Process

Now that we have clarity on the Brand Angst that keeps your team from performing at their best, it’s time to get aligned on the single most important question:
What problem are we really solving?
Together, we clearly define the real issues that keep your business from reaching its full potential, then develop an equally clear plan on how to address it. This initial step provides our clients insight into how we think, how we work, and who we are – ensuring that we never lost sight of our objective and are a good partner from day one.

Are you ready to have
“The Talk”?

Before your picture graces the cover of every business magazine and you eat caviar for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we need to have “The Talk.” Because we can’t achieve success until we’ve talked about the problem. So tell us a little about yourself, and let’s get the ball rolling.

Are you ready to have
“The Talk”?

Before your picture graces the cover of every business magazine and you eat caviar for breakfast, lunch and dinner, we need to have “The Talk.” Because we can’t achieve success until we’ve talked about the problem. So tell us a little about yourself, and let’s get the ball rolling.