Guest Post from Whether Taxes, or Dorm Rooms, Simple is Better

What do Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 tax plan, student branding and dorm room decorating have in common?


People love to make things complex, but in reality most of our brains have a low threshold for remembering a list of more than a few items at a time. Complexity can lead to distraction, confusion, and lower memory retention rates.

Simple taxes

Herman Cain’s proposed 9-9-9 tax plan has become almost instantly popular because people can easily understand it. Even bright tax lawyers find the IRS tax system overwhelming and unnecessarily difficult. A 9% income tax, 9% sales tax and 9% corporate tax system with no deductions is something that seems relatively simple. The ramifications of implementing such a system are another matter, but what is remarkably interesting about 9-9-9 is its almost instant popularity, which again stems from its simplicity. Start thinking about your student branding in the same way. Obviously you aren’t simple, but the more straightforward your student branding, the easier it will be for your brand to resonate with the people you want to impress.

Simple decor

The paradox of choice also applies to elements that may directly affect your college life, such as your dorm room. Walk in and out of several dorm rooms at any college and immediately you will sense a difference in the spaces. Some of them are chaotic and disorganized. Others are neat and tidy but covered with teddy bears. Still others are clean but cluttered with piles of mixed books, clothes, and general stuff. In general, the dorm rooms in which you will want to linger and sit down for a while will be clean and simply decorated. The dorm room bedding will be neat and tidy and there won’t be tons of stuff lying around. When it’s your own stuff somehow it is different but when you have to go into another person’s room and feel comfortable- less is more. The same is true for your student branding.

Simple brand

Take both the 9-9-9 plan and the simply decorated dorm room lessons and turn around and apply them to your student brand. You might be a great artist, a fabulous writer, play the flute, play on the tennis team, and be a great computer engineer who speaks Portuguese. While all this stuff is great and it is all you, less is more when it comes to branding. Take the things you are best at and your most unique talents, and create a simple, memorable student brand.

In the example above, this student could brand himself or herself effectively as an artistic computer engineer who speaks fluent Portuguese. By focusing on the creativity as well as the unique language skill this student will stand out from the rest of the computer engineers when it comes to getting a job. Again, simple branding is easy to remember. An added bonus to simplified branding is once you make the first interview cut; there will be more to talk about if your prospective employer wants to know more about you. If introduced at a later stage, added complexity and diversity can be fabulous and can dramatically improve your end result!


Jen Thames is the Brand Manager for, leading online supplier of dorm room bedding and residence hall linens. To learn more about her business, click here.


Related posts:

  1. Guest Post on LinkedIn and Student Branding from
  2. Student Branding Starts With Your Dorm Room
  3. Keep it Simple: Student Branding TV #13

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  • Dan Schawbel

    Dan Schawbel, the founder of the Student Branding Blog, is a world renowned personal branding expert, the international bestselling author of Me 2.0, as well as the publisher of the Personal Branding Blog.

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    Chelsea Rice is the editor-in-chief of the Student Branding Blog. She began her work for just before graduating from Boston University, where she studied journalism and minored in international relations.

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