Brand vs. Algorithm: How to Stand Out

This past weekend, I took a little retreat with my wife to get off screens, read books, and relax in nature.

As I was out by the fire thinking about life and marketing (naturally), I couldn't help but think about how brands need to retreat from the algorithm.

I know that I am part of the problem at times.

I feed you content about amazing ads to steal or how to grow on TikTok.

Those topics are important, but if we lose the art behind why we create in the first place, we won't be able to build a strong brand and story.

For a moment, let's put data and metrics aside, retreat from the algorithm, and think about the deeper meaning of your content.

1. Start with the emotions

I had coffee with a friend, Dave, yesterday, who asked me about the importance of content for a brand on different channels.

My response was that media changes rapidly, but the emotions behind the content should be the same no matter how or where you publish.

Over time, people should connect to the emotion behind your brand, not because you optimized the algorithm.

Since starting to create photos and videos four years ago, no one has been shooting vertically.

TikTok wasn't genuinely relevant for people and brands until two years ago.

If you are focused on trends and analytics only, you are only as good as the last trend, but your brand equity is zero.

Views and engagement don't always equal brand equity or loyalty.

I can't tell you where the media will go, but I know that as a brand, you need to think about the emotions behind your story and brand.

What do you want people to feel?

That should translate into your ads and organic content, no matter the medium.

Nike has always taken that inspired athlete storyline.

Outdoor Voices wants anyone to feel welcome to exercise and that you don't have to be an athlete.

The products are similar categories, but how you feel towards the brands is dramatically different because of the intention and emotions behind their content.

Before you jump into more content creation, think about the emotions of your brand.

I don't care what you sell; there should be an emotion.

If you sell car parts, you want people to feel safe because you are reliable.

If you sell popcorn, you want people to feel happy because they are watching a movie with friends and family.

Peel back the layers of your products and find the emotions.

2. Art vs. Algorithm

Because too many brands are focused on the algorithm, improving the data, or figuring out attribution, we have lost the art of storytelling and brand building.

Yes, there is a science to building great content, but all of the best content you have ever seen breaks those rules.

Discoveries in science happen when someone asks, "What if..."

What if.

What if you tried to do something different in your content?

What if you do something that was focused on the art of creating to tell a story that is true and raw versus just another trend?

What if you decided to go outside what you think is possible?

My call to action to you is to throw out the "playbooks" and start to write the rules you want to define your brand versus letting an algorithm define your brand.

The brands that win transcend the algorithm.

I am not saying throw out all the things you are working on, but you need to give yourself space to see how you can take risks in your content.

3. Give yourself permission to fail

The scariest part about taking risks is failing.

We can see some incremental lift if we just stick to the trends.

But you didn't get into building brands for some arbitrage or incremental lift.

You started because you wanted to build that next big brand.

If you take big swings, you will miss a few times.

If you don't permit yourself to fail, you will never be able to take those risks or make up your own rules.

Too many brands are acting too safe, and it is time to change it up.

Stand out in the noise.

Do something different.

If you don't, you won't win.

Brand vs. Algorithm: How to Stand Out

This past weekend, I took a little retreat with my wife to get off screens, read books, and relax in nature.

As I was out by the fire thinking about life and marketing (naturally), I couldn't help but think about how brands need to retreat from the algorithm.

I know that I am part of the problem at times.

I feed you content about amazing ads to steal or how to grow on TikTok.

Those topics are important, but if we lose the art behind why we create in the first place, we won't be able to build a strong brand and story.

For a moment, let's put data and metrics aside, retreat from the algorithm, and think about the deeper meaning of your content.

1. Start with the emotions

I had coffee with a friend, Dave, yesterday, who asked me about the importance of content for a brand on different channels.

My response was that media changes rapidly, but the emotions behind the content should be the same no matter how or where you publish.

Over time, people should connect to the emotion behind your brand, not because you optimized the algorithm.

Since starting to create photos and videos four years ago, no one has been shooting vertically.

TikTok wasn't genuinely relevant for people and brands until two years ago.

If you are focused on trends and analytics only, you are only as good as the last trend, but your brand equity is zero.

Views and engagement don't always equal brand equity or loyalty.

I can't tell you where the media will go, but I know that as a brand, you need to think about the emotions behind your story and brand.

What do you want people to feel?

That should translate into your ads and organic content, no matter the medium.

Nike has always taken that inspired athlete storyline.

Outdoor Voices wants anyone to feel welcome to exercise and that you don't have to be an athlete.

The products are similar categories, but how you feel towards the brands is dramatically different because of the intention and emotions behind their content.

Before you jump into more content creation, think about the emotions of your brand.

I don't care what you sell; there should be an emotion.

If you sell car parts, you want people to feel safe because you are reliable.

If you sell popcorn, you want people to feel happy because they are watching a movie with friends and family.

Peel back the layers of your products and find the emotions.

2. Art vs. Algorithm

Because too many brands are focused on the algorithm, improving the data, or figuring out attribution, we have lost the art of storytelling and brand building.

Yes, there is a science to building great content, but all of the best content you have ever seen breaks those rules.

Discoveries in science happen when someone asks, "What if..."

What if.

What if you tried to do something different in your content?

What if you do something that was focused on the art of creating to tell a story that is true and raw versus just another trend?

What if you decided to go outside what you think is possible?

My call to action to you is to throw out the "playbooks" and start to write the rules you want to define your brand versus letting an algorithm define your brand.

The brands that win transcend the algorithm.

I am not saying throw out all the things you are working on, but you need to give yourself space to see how you can take risks in your content.

3. Give yourself permission to fail

The scariest part about taking risks is failing.

We can see some incremental lift if we just stick to the trends.

But you didn't get into building brands for some arbitrage or incremental lift.

You started because you wanted to build that next big brand.

If you take big swings, you will miss a few times.

If you don't permit yourself to fail, you will never be able to take those risks or make up your own rules.

Too many brands are acting too safe, and it is time to change it up.

Stand out in the noise.

Do something different.

If you don't, you won't win.

Brand vs. Algorithm: How to Stand Out

This past weekend, I took a little retreat with my wife to get off screens, read books, and relax in nature.

As I was out by the fire thinking about life and marketing (naturally), I couldn't help but think about how brands need to retreat from the algorithm.

I know that I am part of the problem at times.

I feed you content about amazing ads to steal or how to grow on TikTok.

Those topics are important, but if we lose the art behind why we create in the first place, we won't be able to build a strong brand and story.

For a moment, let's put data and metrics aside, retreat from the algorithm, and think about the deeper meaning of your content.

1. Start with the emotions

I had coffee with a friend, Dave, yesterday, who asked me about the importance of content for a brand on different channels.

My response was that media changes rapidly, but the emotions behind the content should be the same no matter how or where you publish.

Over time, people should connect to the emotion behind your brand, not because you optimized the algorithm.

Since starting to create photos and videos four years ago, no one has been shooting vertically.

TikTok wasn't genuinely relevant for people and brands until two years ago.

If you are focused on trends and analytics only, you are only as good as the last trend, but your brand equity is zero.

Views and engagement don't always equal brand equity or loyalty.

I can't tell you where the media will go, but I know that as a brand, you need to think about the emotions behind your story and brand.

What do you want people to feel?

That should translate into your ads and organic content, no matter the medium.

Nike has always taken that inspired athlete storyline.

Outdoor Voices wants anyone to feel welcome to exercise and that you don't have to be an athlete.

The products are similar categories, but how you feel towards the brands is dramatically different because of the intention and emotions behind their content.

Before you jump into more content creation, think about the emotions of your brand.

I don't care what you sell; there should be an emotion.

If you sell car parts, you want people to feel safe because you are reliable.

If you sell popcorn, you want people to feel happy because they are watching a movie with friends and family.

Peel back the layers of your products and find the emotions.

2. Art vs. Algorithm

Because too many brands are focused on the algorithm, improving the data, or figuring out attribution, we have lost the art of storytelling and brand building.

Yes, there is a science to building great content, but all of the best content you have ever seen breaks those rules.

Discoveries in science happen when someone asks, "What if..."

What if.

What if you tried to do something different in your content?

What if you do something that was focused on the art of creating to tell a story that is true and raw versus just another trend?

What if you decided to go outside what you think is possible?

My call to action to you is to throw out the "playbooks" and start to write the rules you want to define your brand versus letting an algorithm define your brand.

The brands that win transcend the algorithm.

I am not saying throw out all the things you are working on, but you need to give yourself space to see how you can take risks in your content.

3. Give yourself permission to fail

The scariest part about taking risks is failing.

We can see some incremental lift if we just stick to the trends.

But you didn't get into building brands for some arbitrage or incremental lift.

You started because you wanted to build that next big brand.

If you take big swings, you will miss a few times.

If you don't permit yourself to fail, you will never be able to take those risks or make up your own rules.

Too many brands are acting too safe, and it is time to change it up.

Stand out in the noise.

Do something different.

If you don't, you won't win.