Tag Archives: Brandicapped


Epstein’s Brandicapped takes the reader on a journey through Some Place, a town in Southern California that makes white shirts. The story begins with Dr. Melman coming across Some Place. He makes quick note of the problems with Some Place’s brand, or lack there of.

Along the way, Dr. Melman meets Bumble, Rumble, Aumble, Numble, Dumble,  and Ed- the principle principals of what becomes Some Place’s brand. He educates them about what it means to create a brand and helps them do so to “un-brandicap” the town of Some Place.

In Brandicapped we learn the components of what it takes to create a brand. I find that these components and principals can be applied in my own line of work as I begin to enter the world of being an artist.

Specifically, as a photographer, I realize that I need to begin to form my own brand- what type of work I do, who my clients are, my goal with my work, etc. This requires me to market myself appropriately through my website, social media, and connections that I make while in school and beyond.

As I do this, I find that my line of work and the jobs I desire to have will fall into play. However, that ultimately requires my success in creating a brand for myself. Because, as I learned in Brandicapped, “THE BUSINESS IS THE BRAND, AND THE BRAND IS THE BUSINESS.”

‘Brandicapped’ The Crazy World of Branding

This short story by MEL! Epstein, immerses the reader into a town once removed from modern society. It follows the  Brandologist Dr. Melman while he comes across the town and begins to spread his knowledge of branding, in order to help the foreign community strive.

In “Brandicapped,” the town is called Some Place. Some Place is unknown, but proficient at manufacturing the finest white shirts in America. The only problem is that if you don’t live in Some Place, you have no idea they even exist.

Some Place represents the artist who never advertises or shares their work. Every member of the town, works in the factory, producing the shirts, buying the shirts and then proceeding to wear the shirts. To them this system seems perfect.

Brandologist Dr. Melman represents the art galleries which are available for artists to show their work, get art lovers to buy their work all in the hopes of making more profit and creating a name for themselves. While promising to help change Some Place’s lack of branding appearance, Dr. Melman experiences resistance from the community of Some Place.

In the end, the people take his help and use the branding ideas to expose their town and share with the public that they make the finest white shirts in America. This will increase revenue, invite more people into the town and allow more work for the factory men.

This story, is important for up and coming artists, like myself for it teaches the value of selfbranding. Whether it be a well constructed resume, an online portfolio or a social media page. In order to be successful in this business, one has to self- brand themselves in a creative, catchy and memorable way.

What makes one stand out like the white shirts make Some Place stand out? What catches the casting director’s or employer’s eye that intrigues them to look at you or read about you? How can you create a brand for yourself that helps you become more successful?

These are all questions I am asking myself and my fellow art comrades.

Through further research on this topic, I found this TED Talk about the importance, danger and challenges of branding. It helped me round out the moral of the story and the relation it has to the present artistic world. Check it out!


Branding: An Artistic Dilemma

As I continue to work on my final project, I’ve been thinking about how to maximize my project’s reach and impact. One difficulty I am finding is that my project is a finite product, unlike some of my classmate’s that are starting company’s, and thus the marketing and impact of my brand is in a way limited to the length of my piece, the amount of times it is presented, and the number of people who see it. So I thought if my one project is limited, I should focus on marketing myself. I can create an infinite amount of product, thus it is smarter to brand myself then a singular product.



As for branding, I learned the basic concepts from our reading of Brandicapped?, by Mel Epstein. He lays out the three steps of the branding process:

  1. Who are you?
  2. What do you do?
  3. What makes you memorable?

Although these see seem like obvious answers to branding myself, reading his little story and learning that I need to “Know Everything I Can Possibly Know”  made me really start to wonder who I am as an artist and what I wanted to do. For the most part, I never considered myself a writer, but that is indeed what I am doing for my project so that has to be apart of my brand or my business.  As Mel say’s, “the brand is the business and the business is the brand.”

Branding Conflict 

The further I continued this thought process, especially in thinking of myself as the business in Mel’s catch phrase, the more I felt uncomfortable with the idea of branding myself. As I research, I find myself more and more disgusted by the actions of corporations, especially in the documentary The Corporation, and now that I am positioning myself as such I realize how much self-branding and marketing conflicts with my own artistic integrity.


On one hand, if you don’t find yourself a strong brand, and advertise your work, it won’t be heard, and thus cannot have any impact. On the other hand, its seems to be dehumanizing when I try define myself in terms that are trying to sell me and my work. Obviously, some sort of branding needs to occur for me to be seen as a professional, but seeing that I am a living, breathing human and not a corporation, I will not follow Mel’s process to a T. Still, Mel’s advice of “know (ing), play (ing), (and) do(ing)” is really helpful as I continue to develop my artistic identity.

So far I have:

Haley Sakamoto
Musical Theatre Artist and Writer


A logo, incorporating some environmental/social justice design is in the works, for that is mostly what I want to write and work on in my work.

Brandicapped! by Mel Epstein

Brandicapped?  How to Communicate Who your Business is, What it Does, and Why Anyone Should Care to Remember it.

Buy Mel’s book using the PayPal link below for $20 USD or you can buy a copy from ABE Books or Amazon.


Brandicapped by Mel EpsteinBRANDICAPPED? can best be described as a “Bizness of Oz”-like parable.   It lands you in an innocent little place filled with innocent little people — who suddenly discover that in order to live happily ever after, they must first do battle with a devious and devastating business communications disease.

BRANDICAPPED? goes something like this:  Once upon a time…

Meet the Author
“I want business leaders, especially CEOs, to know and understand, once and for all, what Brand and Branding are about.  I want them to finally get who’s in charge of the Brand.  And I want the people in charge to realize that Brand and Branding have a significant effect on a business’ bottom-line.”

MEL! Epstein, a Branding Guru, Marketing Heartthrob, consultant, writer, university professor, and closet stand-up comedian, continues to develop, produce, and teach Branding.   Mel’s Five Seconds of Branding Fame came when he created the internationally recognized: “It’s Ten O’Clock, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?

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Black Forest Press
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