Brand vs. Heart

7 Jul

making stuffOur move towards becoming an independent DIY festival and community network has triggered some interesting discussions among friends and associates.  Some have expressed concern about the ability to build and support our growing maker community without the name brand behind it.  Others have applauded our DIY initiative.

An interesting piece ran in Big Think today about the perceived value of “brands.”

“How important is brand name recognition?” columnist Jack Myers asks. ” It’s extremely important to establish a link, a connection through whatever process, through social media, through marketing, through in store presence, but in the long term I think it’s more important what’s on the inside than what’s on the outside of a product.”

He goes on to suggest that for those growing up with the internet “a person’s color, a person’s gender, a person’s beliefs, religious beliefs for example, are far less important than their beliefs as human beings, their attitudes toward human equality, their attitudes towards diversity, their attitudes toward giving back to the world, to their schools, to each other.  So the branding, the external packaging is far less important to them than what is inside, whether that’s another human being or a package of cereal …”

Or, we’ll add, ” an event. “

Because when you get right down to it, the picture above from the Tampa Bay Mini Maker Faire could have been taken anywhere – a science festival, a family fun day, an engineering expo.   Sometimes brand is important – especially if you’re trying to sell something tangible like magazines or products.   If you’re a maker, creator, entrepreneur you want your brand to pop, to stand out, to be sought after – but even then, at the heart of your brand is – heart – what you put into it to make it special, why you believe it’s unique or useful or necessary.

And if what you’re selling – giving away, in this case – is an idea - and that idea is about a collaborative community that supports DIY self-reliance and self-sufficiency, about empowering people  to develop the knowledge and skills they want and need to make whatever it is they want to make, to be creative and successful self-starters,  then brand is irrelevant.  It’s the idea that’s valuable, and being free of the limitations of a brand allows the full expression of that idea.

Free of a brand, we can talk about all kinds of magazines and products, honestly assess things on their own merits, and  freely celebrate in the truest DIY spirit of independent, self-reliant, unfettered creativity and fun!

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