The Brand Within Us
There is no question that brand is a pervasive part of a
networked world and even more so than in the industrial age where
communication was mostly one way, mostly in the form of public
broadcast. We still sit in front of a TV screen but today we also sit
in front of a computer screen - the difference being today is that we
can communicate information back to that screen, or equally digital
programs send bits of information about us, which is still the primary
domain of the great marketing machine.
Being that what also can go out is the curating, shaping and strategy of our personal brand image, we are in an age where brand is everywhere around us, and even some people have crafted their brand identities, so that they craft a message for potential value creation or even values creation - one being for profit and the other for non-profit. This escalation of brand has been in the works for several decades and it follows a particular meme that is the brand life.
This branded life has many names given to it, a popular one was coined by Tom Peters called "The Brand Called You". It is not a view that I subscribe to, just as our life is far more than transforming our identity into a product. My alternative to this "Brand you" is the "Brand Within Us" and not "Called You". The key is that if I engage a learning journey, over time the person we are within is the brand within us - so what people see and listen to is not two different worlds.
"The Brand Called You" is for me is a naked reality of modern marketing, whereas the "The Brand Within Us" does have clothing and these clothes are made of an essential online principle - the right to privacy. Which of these branded perspectives we choose either creates a selling tool or it creates a way of life. I find it difficult to relate to being a selling tool, though I greatly admire world-class sales-people.
Depending on the perspective one takes, it colours and changes the meaning today of what beBee call a Brand Ambassador. That speaks more to the Brand Within Us when it comes to the owners of beBee, because they are open minded enough to think about those that in one way or another are doing something or engaging something to aid its growth. For me a beBee Brand Ambassador is simply that which is within us.
Just because the Brand Within Us is a choice, does not make it the right choice or the best choice. It makes it our personal choice, or the way I look at personal affinity. There are bee's who will view the Brand Ambassador role as a Brand You extension of themselves. I prefer to be on the side of the line that is brand practice, rather than branded life.
We may engage "brand you" because people want immediacy. There is no delayed gratification in "brand you", for we define what it is we want to project and what people respond to. This we call professional, when there is nothing to profess about this kind of view. If being professional is a part of the brand within us - then we are not shaping further workshops, but working everyday to be who we really are. That involves delayed gratification.
We praise "Brand You" when we should be outing judgemental people. We are afraid of "The Brand Within Us" because we have spent too many years pretending that an evidence base does not matter, that we can operate on brand as becoming a mythology. Yet if brand is who we are, then what is preventing us realizing that?
In doing so we can eliminate poor practices and hopefully also poor practices, such as the idea promulgated by HR people such as "best practices" Excellent practice means we can stop being bookworms and start becoming students of life. In the course of that practice, if the brand within us matches who we really are - that by itself is valuable horizon to reach for.
The Brand Within Us is not what the old mindset about brands prefers. The first mover in brand positioning does have first mover advantage, but if we retain the old mindset, the flow of new thinking is bottled up in not tackling non-value added process steps. If we are too be a brand, then I think it is the right choice for me - because how can I advocate the brand within anyone else, otherwise we are right back to "Brand You". This choice then allows us to work through a learning journey to make the brand we are, the person we are over a much longer time frame. We don't do that with Brand You because we seek immediacy and needs to pay-off for our economic wants.