In B(usiness) School, developing your brand is one of the most emphasized strategies for success. How are you portraying yourself? How do others perceive you? How is this going to make you money?
I fully realize that I have developed my brand around my active lifestyle. I am known as the girl who dances, the girl who works out, the girl who teaches, the girl that motivates. I am fully aware that this is most likely how I will make a salary once I graduate. But is that all?
Most people don’t realize there is a hell of a lot more to me than the fit girl you see posting #sweatyselfies at the gym. For those who knew me before college, I was the girl who wrote. Does anyone remember that now? Probably not. Brands are flexible, and they are only at the surface level.
I have always been a sassy, sarcastic, spunky girl. As I’ve aged, I bite my tongue less and less, but I have always had a sick sense of humor that is not often understood. My heart may be worn on my sleeve, but after 21 years of struggle, it is still made of steel. I am an intellectual. I’m still a kid at heart. I sleep with stuffed animals. I am organized and make my bed every morning. I have a wild side, and I love to party. Despite all of these things, I am still that tough fitness instructor that will give you the hardest workout of your life. I love to be dripping in sweat, but I am the girliest girl you will ever meet. I am ALL of these things, as well as many more.
So, how do I fit that into ONE brand? Not everyone will like all of characteristics. For simplicity, I streamline my brand into one for the public that I wish to monetize. Much to my dismay, I will probably not make a living by cracking profane jokes. I display my brand in a strategic way.
That being said, brands offer a limited point of view. Humans may have brands, but there is an abyss of depth beyond what is posted on social media and what is publicized to the world. We focus so much on how others perceive us, that I worry one day we will forget about those little quirks that make us us.
We are not our brands. We all have to make money somehow, but we are not our careers. What else do you have to offer?