The term “I like…” should be banned from the business of branding. It’s fine to use the word in our personal lives — to like pizza, or to like a particular song, or like blue more than green. But when evaluating a brand design or a corporate position statement, judgement needs to be based on more than whether the proposed solution is liked.
In no other part of the medical device industry does subjective taste matter. You will get funding if the product is viable and able to turn a profit. You’ll sell the product if you can prove it’s better than the available options. You’ll succeed as a business if revenues outpace expenditures. But for some reason, when it comes to developing one of the company’s most valuable business assets — your brand — logic and reason are often overlooked in favor of personal preference.
Taste is subjective. Effective communication is not. Color, shapes, words and images communicate particular messages, and they need to be chosen properly to achieve the objectives. Good creatives understand the principles behind the decisions they make and should be able to explain their reasoning.
The use of the phrase “I like” is a habit — just as a teenager uses the word “like” to start every sentence… or someone uses “ummm” to fill every pause. But it’s a habit with consequences. The decisions you make regarding your company and product brands will have a significant impact on their success or failure.
So, next time someone is evaluating creative — whether it’s a logo, a position statement, or an ad campaign — encourage everyone to replace “I like it because…” with “It works because…”. This forces everyone to verbalize their reasoning, and consider whether the proposed solution achieves the stated objectives.