We are all branded machines; everything about us is a carefully selected brand that we use to portray a certain image. Our selection is often persuaded by the constant bombardment of marketing we see on a daily basis, and by what is "in style" at the moment. But at the core of it all we select the brands that we want to portray a statement about us and who we are.
If we think back to the parable about the golf balls and mayonaise jar we read late last year (to re-read it click here), we can consider all the fussing we do over which brands to buy and and wear the small stuff in our lives; "the sand". We need to be very careful not to lose sight of this and completely let it define us and who we are as people. Sure it projects a certain image, but is that image who we really are.
A little while ago I was reflecting upon my own personal branding. Like everyone else I have my favourites, and I am very loyal to them. For instance, I won't run in any other shoe than a Nike. I have been wearing only Nike's since I first took up competitive running in Grade 4. They fit my feet right, they have good innovation, and I like their look so why change. Same with clothes, there are certain brands I stick to. But as I reflected I realized when I chose to wear certain brands on a particular day it was usually to project a certain image. In no way did they define who I was as a person. This was until I looked down at my right wrist.
I wear two accessories that I do believe have come to define me and my inspiration in life. You see I wear two plastic bracelets in support of cancer; a yellow livestrong bracelet and a red blood cancer bracelet. I have been wearing the livestrong bracelet since I was diagnosed with acute leukemia and the blood cancer bracelet since I had my bone marrow transplant last christmas. These bracelets have become prized possessions of mine, only coming off my wrist twice in all that time; during my in-hospital stays.
Since I have begun wearing these bracelets I have been noticing a resurgence of the plastic bracelets. But like when they first hit mainstream and the livestrong bracelet first gained its popularity, many of the bracelets are random. You can get a bracelet that represents anything again, even bracelets that represent your favorite lens or list the exposure aperture series.
But what most people don't realize is when they put on a bracelet, just like they clothes they are chosing to wear, it is branding them in a particular way. How do you want to be branded? That you are forgetfull and you can't remember your favorite focal length of lens even though it is stuck to your camera. Or that you can't memorize and remember a simple series of numbers? I don't know if this is the best way you want to be branded. Just like the other brands we choose to wear these bracelets can become "the sand" in our lives; but they can be so much more.
If there is true meaning behind them they can transcend from being just "the sand" in our lives to becoming "the golf balls". My two bracelets are more to me than just supporting cancer, they have come to represent foundational beliefs that have come to help govern my life. These foundations are brands that I have become proud to allow help define me as a person.
Have you ever thought of the brands you wear on a daily basis and what image they portray? Do you spend too much time worrying about this "sand"? Do you have any foundational beliefs that you wear proudly? If so, what are they?