🧠 Your brand needs to be easily summarizable

I just identified the bottleneck that’s limiting faster growth of both my personal brand and my various projects.

In short, the problem is that neither my personal brand nor my products are easily summarizable.

And I’m definitely not the only one struggling with this. Everyone wants to be a generalist. We tend to think if we’re not trying to be all things to all people we’ll miss out.

But the price for having a brand that’s all over the place is high.

If a brand is not easily summarizable it will never come up organically in conversations. And unless that happens, all marketing efforts will be uphill battles no matter how much money you throw at the problem.

People like to use labels. It’s easier for remembering who or what someone is.

If people can’t figure out exactly what your brand is about in 5 seconds, they will move on. And even if they remember it, bringing it up in conversations would need too many explanations. There has to be an easy justification why someone brings up your brand in conversations. Otherwise, it simply won’t happen.

  • Tim Ferriss is the 4-hour workweek guy.
  • David Perell is the “writing online is a superpower” guy.
  • Tiago Forte is the second brain guy.
  • Michael Ashcroft is the Alexander Technique guy.
  • BuiltWith is the tool that allows you to check what software a given website uses.
  • Nomad List is the tool digital nomads use to figure out where to live next.
  • AirDNA is the tool buyers use to research short-term rental markets.
  • Hunter.io is the tool that allows you to find professional email addresses related to any website.
  • The Milk Road is “your smart, no bs friend who tells you about the most interesting stuff going on in crypto.”

Now of course at this point neither any of the persons or any products I just mentioned is really limited to the label I attached to them.

For example, Tim Ferriss hasn’t been talking about 4-hour work week stuff for years now and David Perell is currently exploring all kinds of topics like Girard’s theory of mimetics.

Similarly, BuiltWith has nowadays tons of advanced features and Nomad List is far more than just a research tool.

But it was always the one easily understandable label that turned them from nobody to somebody, from nothing to something.

Only once the brand was established, they could start branching out.

Successful products are initially defined by one killer feature, personal brands by one big idea.

Now as I just sat back and tried to come up with a good way to end this text, I realized that the same rule also applies to essays. The best essays talk about just one specific idea.

Kevin Kelly’s 1000 True Fans, Paul Graham’s Do Things That Don’t Scale, or Derek Siver’s Either HELL YEAH! or no.

Now since the only thing I could be doing at this point is to start talking about related ideas, I hope you will agree that is the perfect excuse to end this text right here and now.

Written on April 11, 2022

PS: In case we just met: Hi! My name is Jakob.

I'm on quest to explore the opportunities and challenges of permissionless entrepreneurship.