How Awareness of Personal Branding Can Help Make You Psychic

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suwit ritjaroon

© Suwit Ritjaroon @ freedigitalphotos.net

Carrie De Simas

Editor in Chief @ GoneWithTheWord

Years ago, I attended a dinner party with some friends at their apartment. Both were intellectuals whose brand included great conversation, fantastic insights into human behavior and a simple, no-frills lifestyle.

When I arrived, I was shocked by the appearance of my friend’s wife. Gone were the well-worn jeans and t-shirt. Her simple ponytail was now artistically styled into a pixie cut. Her clean-scrubbed face now had makeup coloring from eyes to lips.

This dramatic change was never discussed, but I knew something was up. She had changed her image, her style…and ultimately, her brand.

Personal brand is how you present yourself to the world and differentiate yourself in a crowd. Are you the party girl? The guy who knows how to fix everything from broken gadgets to relationships? Your brand is the culmination how you and others perceive who you are at your core.

My friend’s wife used to be no-frills intellectual. Now she was a coiffed smoker. 

Changes in our personal brand happen throughout our lives. When we change careers, get married or divorced, break up with friends, have children, etc.—All these things affect our personal brand.

When this personal brand abruptly changes, people take notice but often don’t understand what it means.

For example, if you read in the tabloids that Angelina Jolie is accused of cheating on Brad Pitt (again), it fits with her brand as a wild-child, sex symbol. If, years ago, you had heard the same about Jennifer Aniston during her marriage to Brad, it probably would have registered surprise. Jennifer Aniston’s brand is more along the lines of the wholesome girl next door so a torrid affair would have been out of character (aka brand).

Branding is reflected in all the choices we make in our lives from our choice of home, to our partners and friends, to the clothing and appearance we choose to present to the world.  Steve Jobs had his black turtlenecks. George Lucas has his plaid shirts. If either of these men showed up at an event in a couture suit, people would rubberneck. Same would happen if George Clooney showed up in the media in a velvet tracksuit.

The changes in my friend’s wife set off my red flags. The conversation throughout the night didn’t reveal any overt changes in their lives to have warranted this change in brand. So, in my mind, it meant that something internal had changed. Something more covert. Something about her since he remained the same.

A few months later, my friend caught his wife having an affair and the marriage ended.

When you understand brand, it gives you guidelines by which to gauge the people around you and predict their actions. Abrupt changes don’t have to be a bad thing, but they are an alert. So be aware of your decisions and make them intentionally. And watch for those changes in others if you don’t want to be caught off-guard.

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