Your brand is not who you are
Brands are certainly very helpful. They are how we organize information, tell one company apart from another, and build loyalty among our customers and fans.
Our way of life and business would not operate without the millions of brands in the world today. After all, if every fast food restuarant was called “hamburgers,” it would be impossible to know the flavor of the burger you are going to get as well as the reputation of the people making it.
Whenever a new organization is created, a new brand emerges onto the world. Poof!…right out of thin air, a new entity has been imagined and brought to life. It didn’t exist before, but it does now, and everyone needs to know about it.
When you create a new brand you also create an extension of your own identity; a third party representative of your ego that is very attached to what people think. When someone expresses love or appreciation for your company, the compliment is internalized as “they are saying a nice thing about me.” If they are critical, expressing dislike for your product, it becomes a personal attack. Objectivity and the ability to take constructive criticism is lost.
Taken further, this applies to all other brands we identify with in the world. Our favorite sports team, beer of choice, favorite fashion labels, political party, university we attended. These identifications define us in many ways, and they set the boundaries between us and them.
Does it make sense to identify ourselves based on brands and images that others have created? If I create a new company, does my brand define and represent who I am, really?