I met with a friend this morning to catch up after not having seen him in a while. We were talking about how his role as a chaplain. He then began to tell me about the opportunity that he’d been given to talk with a group about considering their personal “branding”. Using a whole bunch of different images of well known people, he asked the group to reflect on what they thought of each person’s “brand”.
Naturally, everyone had a view and there were some strong opinions about what the people stood for. He then asked them to reflect on how these views had been shaped and whether they actually knew these individuals. Everyone responded that they didn’t know any of the people personally, but had just gone on what they’d heard, read or seen in the media. He then put the challenge to them about whether they were actively shaping their own personal brand or just letting it happen, being shaped by the forces around them.
He then went on to suggest that in creating their personal brand, it actually helped to have someone to serve as a model, someone whose life reflected the kind of life that they wanted to create. In my friend’s case, he highlighted that Jesus was one such person who was a model for life and as a result, for his brand to be truly authentic, the way he lived needed to reflect Jesus’ life and values.
As we spoke, it reinforced two conversations that I’d had earlier in the week, talking about the importance of knowing the things we value most and actually living them. It also helped to put in context the challenge to look at the way we use our time, effort and money to determine whether or not our stated values align with how we live.
As I reflected on all these things, I started to consider which “markets” my personal brand was in and whether I should care about all this stuff anyway. Why should I care about what other people think of my “brand”? Then it struck me that the “brand” that I create around the idea of a Father, for example, has an enormous impact on my kids. What they see me living is what they will consider to be the normal for the “brand” Father. It also impacts the other kids and parents I interact with at cricket on a Saturday or school through the week. Then there’s my “brand” as an employee which reflects on my colleagues at work as I undertake my various roles.
Suddenly the nature of my “brand” has become a lot more significant and the need to pay attention to who I’m modelling it on and what I’m actually reflecting has become a lot more important. This isn’t just about me, this is about the significance of all of my connections and what I represent in each one. This is about what mark my “brand” will make on the world in so many different markets.
This is a truly sacred task I’ve been given, to live this life and to live it well, so that that my “brand” leaves this world a richer place for my being here. I wonder what your “brand” is saying about you?