What J-Lo and Engine Have in Common

Posted on Tuesday, September 8th, 2009 at 11:23 am by bryna

jlocoverI’ve been thinking a lot about branding this weekend, which wasn’t my intent at all. It started out in a seemingly harmless manner. I wanted to relax so I bought an InStyle magazine, with the hope of sitting in the sun and enjoying a mindless hour of fashion and celebrity news.

But anyone who knows me, knows my brain rarely shuts off long enough for an hour of complete respite. After flipping through a couple pages, I realized I was surrounded by the one thing I was trying not to think about at all: branding.

My friend, Nate Riggs, Director of Communication Strategy at huber + co. interactive in Columbus, Ohio, talks a lot about the concept of ‘building brand you.’ I love this idea. I’ve been thinking about the Engine brand a lot lately, and how my personal brand relates to that. As I sat reading InStyle, ‘brand you’ kept staring me in the face. 

With every article of clothing, every accessory, every celebrity interview, my likes and dislikes were becoming more and more apparent. The clothes I buy, books I read, music I listen to–all of those things make me, me–and tell you a story about who I am.

Seth Godin makes a pivotal argument in his book, All Marketers Are Liars that it’s not enough to simply sell a brand anymore. You have to know what story are you trying to convey about that brand to the customer.

Today’s shopper is smart. They want to know what you sell, but also if it lines up with their values. There’s too much competition in the marketplace for most small businesses to ignore this fact.

Jennifer Lopez, this month’s InStyle cover girl is a perfect example of personal branding done right. J-Lo sells magazines, not because she’s the most talented actress or singer, but because she sells a story. She is Jenny from the block. The girl from the Bronx who danced her way from ‘fly girl’ to business tycoon. She’s sexy, exotique, spends her time in St. Tropez, and gives to charity. What woman wouldn’t like to taste that life?

J-Lo has built an empire around the concept of ‘brand you.’

My colleague Nate, has built his personal brand too, and he just might make tycoon status one day as well. Though he and J-Lo have different stories, the idea is the same: they both have a story to tell and a product to sell. Those two things are almost inextricably combined.

I think this quote is brilliant (and I borrowed it from Nate). It sums up ‘brand you’ perfectly:

The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. ~ U.S. novelist and short-story writer, James A. Michener

A huge part of what we do at Engine is to assist businesses in building their brand, and communicating their story to the right audience. You can check out our portfolio for some examples of this. If your brand could use some energizing, contact us for a consultation.


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