You’re the Best Representative of Your Own Personal Brand
On our way home from running a few errands, my wife and I stopped at Walmart to pick up a couple critical grocery items—like Oreos, you know, the critical stuff.
Walking by the electronics section, there were two cable television sales representatives chatting and laughing with each other, oblivious to the foot traffic around them. Just as we were strolling, pushing our shopping cart, one of the two laughed and dropped the ‘F-bomb’ loud enough for my wife and me to hear.
As we continued by, I was annoyed but didn’t give it too much thought until my wife commented under her breath and shook her head. More irritated that she had heard the rep, I stopped the cart and told her I would be right back.
Turning around, I returned to where the two were standing, still engaged in their juvenile mode of joking with each other. Stopping in front of their table, the ‘company representatives’ finally took notice of my presence and briefly stopped laughing.
“My wife and I just walked by and heard you drop the F-bomb (nodding to the guilty rep).”
He gave me a trite look—a trite look!—and half-heartedly offered, “Sorry about that.”
Frustrated, I continued, “I’m not looking for an apology, but my wife heard you and that’s not cool. And just a bit of advice, it’s very unprofessional. You two are here representing your employer and the way you’re acting is unprofessional. You might want to think about that.”
I casually walked back to my wife, grabbed the cart handle and we continued to the grocery isles.
I’m not sure that my comments made a difference to them. I can only hope they did. More importantly, I felt I did the right thing and didn’t just wave it off.
This story isn’t actually about common courtesy, common sense, or even manners, though I’ve written several articles on all of these topics. The thought of personal branding came to mind. Yes, branding.
I’ve read a number of articles speaking about how as writers, we ARE our brand. The company we represent is OURSELVES.
In the same way that these two people were representing their company, with their logo-stitched shirts and company’s name emblazoned across the table skirt in front of them, we represent ourselves through our lives and writing.
Do our writing and lives match up? Are they congruent? Are we living the lives we are writing about? Are we representing our brands? Are we stuck with our current brand?
No matter your lot in life, you can always improve your branding. In fact, for me, my writing has been one of those attempts. As I’m closing out my law enforcement career and moving into retirement the end of this month— the first day of retirement is April Fool’s Day (ironic)—I’ve turned to writing. This is something I’ve enjoyed, just never to this extent. My stories add to my personal branding and legacy.
Those that know me in the ‘real world’ are able to read my stories and compare it to my ‘personal brand’. Though I may be able to get away with fooling a few people on Medium that only know me through my writing, my family and friends can intimately compare my writing and my life; overlapping the two and holding them up to the light to check for flaws. I’m not fooling them.
So I continue working on my branding (me).
My brand is Rusty Ellis.
My company slogan is “Fight the good fight.”
My company mission is to “Prepare my children and grandchildren for the world, to better them, and to better the communities around them.”
Thank you for considering my product amongst the vast sea of brands out there. And good luck with your own personal branding!
Also published on Medium.