Or, how others control my life story – through branding.
In America today, it seems we are ruled by brands. Once I buy a product, I tend to stay loyal to the brand. It’s known as brand loyalty. And there’s an interesting twist to that loyalty. My brand loyalty becomes entwined with my life story such that:
“Brand is when a person creates — the word I like to use is designs — a metonymic link between their own self-story and the story of a product, such that to be loyal to the product is a misnomer. It’s loyalty to the self.” (Bob Deutsch, neuropsychiatrist and cognitive anthropologist, DDB Worldwide)
In effect, I use branding to help me design my own life story – one that looks a lot like my favorite brands’ stories. Advertisers have known this for some time and expend considerable fortune building brand stories for this purpose.
I, too, market myself as a sort of brand. From wanting others to think well of me, to wanting my boss to rely upon and trust me, my family to love me, my Facebook friends to like me – I sell myself everyday. To do that, I often employ the same methods successful branding uses – encouraging others to exhibit loyalty to me like I do with the brands I like. In that way, our stories become loyalty entwined. And brands extend their influence into our life stories.
So, I have to ask myself on occasion…
“Whose brand story is your story?”
Do I have a life story I can call my own?
With all the marketed brands influencing me, how do I know if the story I’m telling myself about me is actually about me. Maybe I’m mimicking some TV, movie quotes, or musician’s character I feel a loyalty to. Eating, drinking, and wearing the clothes my idol markets. Could my loyalty to my favorite brands be affecting and maybe taking over the job of writing my life story?
Who’s in charge of my life story, then? I wonder – if brands influence or maybe control how I interpret my personal life story – and I trust my story – how much control do I actually have over my life? In America, the land of the free, I wonder how much freedom of thought I actually have. And as Yoda said, “Do or do not, there is no try.” I use that one every chance I get.
Considering how important my life story is to me, maybe it’s time I ask some pertinent questions:
- What brands do I associate with my life story?
- How have those brands influenced my perceptions?
- Why do I feel such loyalty to a brand?
- Who am I as a result of my branded life story?