In this post, I’d like to share an experience that took place during Fall 2010 at a Brand Management class I was taking at UCLA. We were given an assignment in which we had to prepare a presentation showing the top 10 brands we felt most related to and best represented by. I had many brands in mind – Apple, Barcelona, Nike, KTH, etc… so I was struggling to put them in order, from two to ten. From the beginning I knew that none of them would be number one. That spot in my list was already taken.
We had to send the presentation to our instructor before the lecture, Mr. Robert Liljenwall. As we were all sitting in the classroom, he started explaining how one assignment stood out from the rest. In 16 years as an instructor he’d never seen anybody put that brand as number one. Then, he mentioned my name and asked me to please stand up, walk down, and explain my assignment to the class. And here’s why he asked me to do that:
As you might have guessed, my number one brand was Oriol Boix Sancho. Yes, myself. Why was it so obvious for me to put that? Well – What can represent oneself better than oneself? Can we actually relate more to a clothing brand than to ourselves? Of course there’s the possibility that you don’t consider yourself a brand. Wrong. Nowadays we’re all brands.
Furthermore, considering ourselves brands doesn’t make us less human. As a matter of fact, “actual” brands are the ones that have become more human. Why? Because these days the relationships between “actual” brands-people and people-people are mostly based on the same: Feelings.
Another point that was highlighted about my assignment is that I added as brands cities and universities. Over the years, I have found out that mentioning that I’m from Barcelona has gotten people’s attention in a very positive way. So of course, I keep saying it (nothing but the truth). In the same vein, mentioning that I’ve studied marketing at UCLA and telecommunications engineering at KTH, along with working as an actor/model internationally, positively intrigues people about my background. You really need to consider and understand these in appearance little things (but in reality very strong points) about your personal brand, and always bring them out at the right time and in the right context. Really, find those points and bring them out. It does make a difference.
In conclusion, I’d truly recommend anyone who doesn’t consider oneself a brand to start doing it right away. Work for yourself, improve your brand, be happy about it and love it in a way that you’ll always show up with a smile – because you’re very proud of it. And then you’ll see people coming your way. I mean, not everyone. But most likely the ones you want, need, or hope for.
I’d like to finish this article with a couple of my favorite quotes on this matter. They have really been an eye-opener for me, and I enjoy reading them almost daily. Oh, and if you allow me, I added a third quote that I came up with personally.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou
“Your brand is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.” – Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon.
“Be the brand you’d buy over and over again.” – Oriol Boix Sancho
If you have any other thoughts or favorite quotes on personal branding, please share them in comments. I can’t wait to hear from you!