Too Much Nerd Power Not A Good Thing For Brands

Writing in Ad Age, Tom Hinkes, former marketing director and current principal consultant at OutBranding, says “our biggest consumer brands are now managed by nerds.” It’s not a compliment.

Great brand marketers are comfortable with ambiguity. They realize marketing is a balancing act — it’s numbers and detail, but it’s also flair and vision. It’s qualitative and quantitative; analysis and intuition; perspiration and inspiration. Great marketing requires the balance of both sides of the brain. But the balance has been lost.
Great marketers are visionaries, not bean counters. They succeed by defying conventional wisdom. They see over the near horizon, envisioning products and ideas long before the average consumer even senses a need for them. Nothing captures this principle better than the adage, “If Edison had done market research, he would have invented bigger candles.”

Of course, to defy conventional wisdom is to take risks. And risks are scary to take, even in the bets of times. This is not the best of times.



About David Burn

I wrote my first ad for a political candidate when I was 17 years old. She won her race and I felt the seductive power of advertising for the first time. Today—after working for seven agencies in five states—I am head of brand strategy and creative at Bonehook in Portland, Oregon.