Diplomas and branding

June 12, 2013

Having recently attended my son’s high school graduation and witnessing 269 diplomas being awarded, I couldn’t help but allow my professional career to invade my personal life even during this momentous occasion.

Diplomas were being handed out with the constant reinforcement (both verbally and visually) that these young men all represent the best in quality, leadership, integrity, and trust. Those who continue to excel in these areas are sure to achieve success and stand out from the rest. So of course given my 25+-year career in branding, I couldn't help but make the correlation between graduates and brands:



Some brands that immediately come to mind include Johnson & Johnson, General Electric, Coca-Cola, Walt Disney and Mastercard. Newer brands such as Facebook, Google, Gilt and Tesla are fairly new to the brand pool and, like these well-established brands, must stay true to themselves if they are going to withstand the test of time and celebrate 25, 50 and 100+ years.

So, as my son begins to look toward the future and embraces that next chapter in life soon to head off to college, I come to realize more than ever that he is his own brand; a brand whose character is built on integrity, confidence, genuineness, leadership, and performance. There is no doubt that his brand will continue to need attention, guidance, and nurturing along the way; it will be influenced by a multitude of “brand managers” other than those who have had a vested interest in him—his parents, family, friends, teachers, and coaches. His brand will continue to grow, evolve, experience the highs and lows, and be influenced by many competitors and external forces.

Just as with any brand, as long as he stays true to his core essence, has a unique point of differentiation, and delivers a consistent message he will undoubtedly stand out from the rest and achieve success.

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