As a brand designer I notice examples of good and bad branding everywhere. In fact, I recently watched the classic movie Breakfast at Tiffany’s and noticed a scene that stuck out to me as a good example of how important it is to be purposeful in developing your brand.
If you haven’t seen the movie, let me give you some background: A young woman named Holly is living it up in New York City when she encounters a new neighbor in her building. The neighbor’s name is Paul Varjak, but Holly insists on calling him ‘Fred’ because he bears a striking resemblance to her brother who is named Fred. Throughout the movie she continues to introduce him to all her friends and colleagues as ‘Fred.’
At one point, Paul makes a phone call to Holly’s former agent (to whom Holly had introduced him). The beginning of the call goes something like this:
PAUL: “Hello, this is Paul Varjak.”
PAUL: “It’s Paul Varjak. V-A-R-J-A-K.”
PAUL: “Paul Varjack. V-A-R…. it’s Fred!”
AGENT: “Oh hey there, Fred, how are you doing?”
Despite the fact that his name was Paul, Holly was so persistent in calling him Fred that eventually everyone thought his name was actually Fred. This example is a simple introduction to a conversation, but is a lesson in the power of branding. You see, if the definition of a brand is “what people think you are” then the “-ing” in branding is the process of influencing that impression. If you aren’t intentional in shaping your brand image you just might develop an identity or reputation you never meant to.