A colleague of mine, Heather Schuck, founder of Glamajama, Author, Speaker, and Momtrepreneur, posted a great article to her Facebook page titled “Be a Brand, Not a Label“. It is written by Mark Ecko, founder of several hundred-million dollar global fashion and lifestyle companies, and published in Inc. Magazine.
In his piece, Mark talks about brands and labels. As a branding fanatic, it got me thinking deeply about the difference between the two, and how they are often lumped together incorrectly. So I am going start my rant, I mean discussion, with labels.
You see, I hate labels. Labels to me are superficial. We are labeled by others throughout our days and lives to categorize where we belong (or not) and these judgements are many times made based on very little accurate information. We walk into a room and are immediately sized up by others: We are single, married, a mom, a sister, a daughter, a professional, old, young, attractive, overweight, gay, straight, rich, poor, and on and on and on. These “labels” wish to categorize us without any knowledge of the “brand” who is behind the label–which is our unique selves. As Mark states brilliantly:
“It takes hard work to understand, grow and nurture the anatomy of a brand. You can’t do it on the surface and you can’t slap on a Band-Aid when you lose direction or mess up. You have to dig deep and poke around with a scalpel–because your brand is not skin deep. Labels are skin deep, but a true, authentic brand is made of blood, bones and organs. A brand has a heartbeat. The anatomy of a brand is defined by its authenticity.”
Because a true brand is a living entity, we as consumers can connect to it. We connect to human brands and non-human brands. The brand connects emotionally to us. Whether it is fulfilling a need, or helps us re-live a childhood memory, or makes us feel a part of something, we choose authentic brands over superficial labels.
The most important brand of all is our personal brand. Whether we realize it or not, we are constantly creating our brand. Some of us are doing it more intentionally than others. Think about it. If you are a Graphic Designer for a leading Ad Agency, and you create fabulous graphics for a brand that is wildly successful, you might tend to label yourself “As the creator of ABC Co.’s trademarked logo.” But in reality, you are a fabulous Graphic Designer who through your innate talent, schooling, and professional and life experiences, was able to create the amazing logo for ABC Co. YOU, your brand, created the logo, not your position, or label.
So what’s the bottom line here? Let’s stop labeling at first sight. Let’s get to know the brand. And let’s be mindful about creating our own brand. Make it intentional–not just a by-product of what you do. Let your passion come through and be the leader in developing your brand. And be a brand, not a label!
Market Like It’s Your Job!