Tag Archives: marcus

No One Cares About Your Origin Story Unless You’re Batman

Far be it from me to tell a vampire squid how to run its business, but I consider it my professional responsibility to pass this story along as a lesson to others:

Goldman Sachs, which has been rolling out its first foray into banking for the little guy, is going back to its history to name its big new push: an online lender for the masses.

After much internal discussion, the Wall Street firm has decided to call the retail banking operation Marcus — the first name of the company’s founder, Marcus Goldman. (emphasis mine; New York Times, 18 August 2016)

Sorry, Marcus the brand, but precisely none of your prospects will appreciate the link between your name and Marcus the founder’s.  People care about superhero origin stories, but not most brands’ origin stories.


Note: not an accurate depiction of Crime Alley

[Disclosure: I let a headhunter submit my resume to Goldman a few months ago when they were looking for a crew to develop and market Marcus because I MEAN COME ON, back the money truck up, it’s Goldman.  They declined to interview me.]

I don’t mean to single out Goldman Sachs.  In the past few years, we’ve seen ads illustrating Bacardi’s role in the Cuban Revolution, Michael Dell’s dorm room and Dr. Stanley Pearle’s first optician shop.  I doubt any one of them did a damn thing for the brand.

Look, some brands have a fascinating–and relevant–history.  There’s a cult around the Steves of Apple.  Jack Daniel’s historicity–even if it’s not entirely told–gives it a distinct brand presence that helps make an American whiskey that isn’t bourbon the most popular one in the world.  However, most people DO NOT CARE where things came from.

For perspective, two things:

  1. After the invasion of Iraq, most Americans thought Saddam Hussein had something to do with the 9/11 attacks.
  2. Volkswagen still sells the Beetle.