Thoughts on “Obvious or elegant?”

Seth Godin recently posted on his blog “Obvious or elegant?“, which argues that good brands are not “obvious”, but “elegant”, in that they do not just blatantly describe, in their name, what they do. 

Bringing up the example of his friend who used to eat food “out of a generic can, that had one word on the label: MEAT”, he suggests that only certain businesses can work with such obvious, direct marketing.

For lasting, long term work, he suggests that it’s “elegance that lasts”. Elegance in a name allows consumers to tell stories about the brand themselves, and demonstrates trust in users to develop their own meaning and relationship to the brand. 

Examples of such companies: Starbucks, Slack, Shinola.

He says, “If no one says, `huh, I don’t get it,’ you’ve built the obvious, not the elegant. Elegant takes a moment to get.

Obvious is a trap, the last resort of an artist who can’t think clearly about what to do next.”

There are about 1,200 MOE registered tuition centres in Singapore, and 464 of them have the word “Edu” in their  name (yes I counted).

At Basecamp, we recognise that we are also building a community. As a new place, we find it exciting that Basecampers who join us can fill in the blank spaces in our culture. Together we will write our collective story.

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