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I read an article a while back, I think it was in GQ, in which Fred Astaire was cited as the most suave man in all of film. The support was that he could lean against a wall with his hands in his pockets, in a tux. Nobody else was cool enough to be that comfortable in a tux. Not Cary Grant. Not Hugh Grant. Not Denzel Washington. Not Not Chow Yun-Fat. Not any of the guys who played James Bond.

Of course, the deal is that Fred was such a great song-and-dance man for such a long time, and wore so many tuxes as costumes, that they were just clothes to him. By contrast, check out all those prom picture and wedding photos, with all those poor, stiff little guys, looking like they’re wearing somebody else’s clothes—because they are! I hate looking at myself in those pics.

This sort of reminds me of what happens when people do branding badly. You dress your company up in what some designer things ought to look cool. The expressions end up clashing with the trade dress, which ends up clashing with the physical locations, which end up clashing with the way people act and feel in the company. Who wants to buy anything from a company dressed up in somebody else’s clothes?

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