Last week, I touched on the idea of individual, global microbrands. Thinking about what defines an individual microbrand, I’ve wondered how the things we buy contribute to our microbrands. For example, what does my use of a Sony Ericcson cell phone say about me? Personally, I don’t think it says much of anything. However, what if I was flashing a Giorgio Armani Samsung?
The things we choose to buy and use invariably become a part of individual identities. Just try separating a Crackberry user from his device. Fair warning: there may be blood involved. As we go along, we add these smaller pieces to our identities, believing they contribute to the bigger picture of who we believe ourselves to be.
Somehow the Macbook Air says something important about you that no other laptop can convey. Somehow that Vuitton handbag makes a previously boring outfit a smashing success. Somehow, we end up believing that by adopting another brand as our own, we’re creating our own microbrand.
There’s nothing inherently evil about buying things you like. However, I do believe you’re on a slippery slope if you believe something external defines your individual microbrand. For me, the idea of a personal microbrand revolves around the notion that it comes from that uniquely you center of being. It isn’t dependent on buying a particular laptop or wearing designer kicks.
John Dryden in The Hind and the Panther included the very relevant line, “All, as they say, that glitters is not gold.” (link) The same principle applies in this situation, too. Using other brands to create your own does nothing more than build a shell. Under pressure, the shell will crack, undermining your efforts to establish your microbrand. If it doesn’t come from inside, how are you different from anyone else?
If she has the money, any individual can buy a Macbook Air. Does it really make sense to base one’s identity on a value that anyone else can purchase? When you decide to figure out what your individual, global microbrand is, keep in mind that it shouldn’t be a mirror image of the guy standing next to you.