One Sunday summer morning, as I caught up on work while my kids were coloring on the deck next to me, my five-year-old son runs up and says:
"Do you know we all have logos? Daddy's logo is a star and mommy's logo is a heart."
Out of nowhere my son had developed a fascination with branding. Now considering my line of work, I swear this was unprompted, as on his own he began pointing out recognizable logos from restaurants and shopping chains on car rides, and identifying symbols for characters on his favorite TV shows and movies.
Of course I probed on, “Why do you say that?
“Daddy's a police officer and the star represents that…”
“Well, what about the heart?”
“Ahhh, you’re a heart because you love me!” he said with a laugh.
Say and think what you will about the sometimes trite, and often over-used, term "personal branding," but it does exist, and in the smallest of world perspectives.
Although we're highly exposed daily, our self awareness isn't always in tune. Sometimes we need an unfiltered view to understand what values we are expressing to those around us.
To me, his expression of the heart to represent me spoke volumes, as I sat there typing away on my laptop, feeling the constant strain of supporting my family, my work, my personal development. On the whole; it was the heart he saw.
“My brother’s logo is all different and wild colors,” as he ran over to our three-year-old who was jumping and yelling on the jungle gym. Later, he scribbled the colors he saw of this free spirited soul to whom provides much adventure daily to his life. (pictured above).
The big question remained.
“So, what about your logo?”
He paused. Then matter-of-factly stated, “My logo is a smiley face and a mad face with two arrows going back and forth between them,” then ran back off to play with his brother on the jungle gym.
I guess big feelings start early, run deep, and don’t end once we outgrow childhood.
The emotional struggles we have within ourselves, and the connections we have to each other, explained through simpler means, can help bring a little order to chaos.
If even the most naive of eyes can notice, how do you think the wiser eyes see you: your clients, your prospects, your employees? What marks do they see that represent you, your work, your associations to ideas, interests and organizations.
As modern communicators we're told to choose visuals over words, especially for web-based consumption by impatient consumers. But it's the context, the stories, the expressions, the experiences that give life to the graphic representations.
Word and design marks only offer consistency in the surface look; it’s the everyday behaviors and experiences that make a brand what it is, be it product, service or personal.
Want to know your personal brand, and the authentic you to share with the world and stand out? Just ask yourself how a child would "brand you.”
Or better yet, find a five year old (with an early penchant for marketing communications at that) and ask them yourself.
Christina Capadona-Schmitz (@ChristinaCS & @DownWithSpitUp) leads marketing communications for Oswald Companies, a risk management and financial services company in Cleveland, Ohio.
She is on the clock 24/7 with her parenting resource blog www.DownWithSpitUp.com, among other creative pursuits and community endeavors. Connect with her on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/christinacapadonaschmitz.