Thursday, December 16, 2010

If I Walked Off the Pages of My Blog

As a departure from my last post -- which I could probably now call "Sleepy Time Hair Covering Mayhem!" -- I'd like to talk a bit about an article I spotted on Twitter thanks to @critiques4geeks about what brands look like, in the physical.

"What Kind of Person is Your Brand?" details the personality that is depicted by a brand, what it looks like and sounds like, what people think of it, in the sense that it's sort of a living, breathing organism more than a word or identifier. The writer did a survey with photos of people being matched to brand names like Starbucks, BP, and Google, and the results were not shocking. Starbucks = soccer mom; Google = hip Asian guy; and BP = old, white, curmudgeonly man. The point, the writer says, is that we project personalities onto brands, whether we mean to or not.

It reminds me of how in many languages, nouns have gender. So, for example, an autobus (אוטובוס)in Hebrew is masculine, while oogah (עוגה), or cake, is feminine. There have been studies done for years where people are asked to match pictures to objects, and most of the time -- if people are from cultures where nouns have gender -- people match the item to its gender image. So a cartoon drawing of a cake would have female characteristics, while a bus would more likely be trained Thomas the Tank Engine style.

Maybe the connection is loose, but it makes sense to me.

The writer goes on to explain three types of brands:

  1. The brand that we sort of take for granted. We don’t swoon when we see the logo but we trust it. If it were a person, we’d say hello, and perhaps go for a beer at the local bar. I go to my local grocery store every week and like it well enough. But if a competitor opened up down the street, I’d have no hesitation in trying it out. 
  2. The sort of brand that we really, really like. We would like to have dinner with this brand, even go on a date. I feel this way about my Marvis Toothpaste and my Happy Socks. I’ll go out of my way to buy it. 
  3. The sort of brand that we’d bring home to meet our parents. We want to marry this brand. Harley Davidson, Apple, and even Crayola Crayons. People get tattoos of these brands’ logos inked onto their bodies.

This all, of course, makes me wonder: What kind of brand am I for my readers? How do you all see me? My picture is plastered all over this blog, so you all know what I look like, and many of you have even met me and know that my real-life personality and my blog personality are pretty close to one-in-the-same. And I know that the term "brand" is hard to use when referring to a person's personality and created content, but I do have a brand. Social media professionals are brands. Mine is kvetchingeditor, which means you can google that term and find every last bit of content I've created, not to mention all the facts about me that you do or don't care to know. My brand stands for very specific things, whether my readers know it or not. As a brand, kvetchingeditor is a fine purveyor of Jewishly-themed, sometimes academic, and always thoughtful content. But the question is, if I had a storefront, what kind of brand would people see me as?

Anyhow, I'd love to hear your thoughts on what kind of brand you think I am. If I walked off your computer screen, would you give me a firm talking to? A hug? A slap on the back? Would you take me home to mom and dad or a dinner party? What kind of person is my brand?