great branding is a spiritual exercise

(Just added the following to The Hughtrain:)
Great branding is a spiritual exercise.
The primary job of an advertiser is not to communicate benefit, but to communicate conviction.
Benefit is secondary. Benefit is a product of conviction, not vice versa.
Whatever you manufacture, somebody can make it better, faster and cheaper than you.
You do not own the molecules. They are stardust. They belong to God. What you do own is your soul. Nobody can take that away from you. And it is your soul that informs the brand.
It is your soul, and the purpose and beliefs that embodies, that people will buy into.
Ergo, great branding is a spiritual exercise.
Why is your brand great? Why does your brand matter? Seriously. If you don


  1. Hugh, you’re one of the saints.
    Yet, it seems to me that before a brand manager can look into the soul of his firm’s brand, he’d need to first look into his own soul. Conviction comes from knowing that one’s product or service is beneficial to humankind (thus, it is also about merit). No matter how much spirit one brings to a shit product, in the end, the product will still fail to satisfy.

  2. Were those your pictures used by Kim Polese in her SpikeSource presentation at Web 2.0? They were fantastic — not only did they resonate with the audience, but they effectively complemented the points Kim was making. Kudos!!

  3. “Were those your pictures used by Kim Polese in her SpikeSource presentation at Web 2.0?…”
    Yep. T’was me. Glad they went down well. Cheers.

  4. Amen, brother.

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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark