Friday, April 06, 2007

the me brand

If you had to describe yourself in one word, what would it be? What about one color? And what if you had to separate all of the pieces of your life into three or four categories? What would those be?

These are some questions I’ve recently been forced to not only answer, but to represent in a very visual way: I’m building my own web site. The questions seem rather trite written down on paper. But in reality, to answer such personal inquiries has turned out to be quite a challenge.

First of all, my favorite color changes every other day. I have crazy mood swings and I’m interested in a lot of different things. How on earth could I describe myself in just one static way?

The answer, I’ve found, lies in branding. Branding is just another way of saying how you present yourself. In marketing, when you’re branding a product or idea, you don’t always spell things. In fact, spelling things out usually ends up destroying the subtle power of branding that allows the user—or consumer—to create their own personal connection to the product. The old saying, less is more, still applies. What’s important are the subtle nuances that evoke a feeling and cause the consumer to become emotionally attached.

But then you still have a problem, because every individual brings her own unique experience to the situation. She undeniably has a very different interpretation, say, to the color yellow, than someone else might have.

In branding, there is often a disparity between what the marketers want you to believe and what the consumer actually perceives. Look at Paris Hilton. She has to deal with this stuff all the time. And all those gossip rags. The way Paris brands herself has a lasting impact on her entire lifestyle and career. If you think about it though, we all fall prey to that risk: of presenting ourselves in a bad light and of suffering the consequences. (Have you ever run into a coworker at a bar?) This also means that we all have the opportunity to create a positive image for ourselves.

That’s why I’m taking this web site thing so gosh darn seriously. Think about it: if you want to learn more about someone what do you do? You Google them. Now, would you rather the first result to be your pimped out, high school MySpace page or would you rather it be a well-thought out, well-branded representation of the “real” you.

I know what I want. But I’m still stuck on the color.

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