About 1997 the idea of a brand nation was coined. Some experts claimed that in 2007, each person would be a brand! Well it is 2007 so time to check out if the experts were right. And the answer is Yes and No. A brand nation we do not have but yes, every person is a brand.
A brand is generally an abstract concept many people just don’t wrap their minds around. Even the so called brand experts have a hard time telling people what a brand really is, because a brand really on exists in the minds of people. We can point to tools like logos and tag lines and say those things define a brand. But really I can’t point to a brand and say “this here is a brand.” It is a perception, a type of reality you create and try to sell to others.
So taking that definition I will address the “no” part of the answer. The experts were wrong in that we are not all managing our brand in a rational way they expected we would. This part was incorrect. Most people do not manage their brand, we are always told to do this but most just go on living life as they choose, not with a conscious effort of thinking “hmmm, how is this new shirt going to influence my brand?” We are more likely to wonder if it will make us look fat or feel comfortable. Now some could link it to a brand but technically since the thoughts are not there to back it up, it’s not. So in this aspect, few do this.
However they were right in that we all are brands. We may not see ourselves that way and many people resist the idea of brands but it is true we are all a brand. That image, persona and mannerisms we use create a brand that we sell others to accept and see us that way. We all do this and most with no regard to it. Some savvy people use it quite well such as Donald Trump. But like it or not, we can all be actually seen as a brand. For example:
The friend who likes being the life of the party, that’s a brand, we expect them to be that way. Imagine if one day they just decided to chill and drink a beer and just enjoy the party without being the life of the party. Wow, people would wonder what is going on! Now the life of the party is just a wallflower, what’s going on? Or the neat freak friend who all of a sudden decides that they don’t have to clean up every second of the day, their desk at work actually looks like someone uses it and has papers all over the place. People might wonder if they cracked or are having some kind of midlife crisis. Those images, actions, mannerisms all create what can be seen as a brand, the brand called you.
So yes, the experts were correct in that we can, if we choose, see everyone as a brand. But they were wrong in that, no, we do not for the most part see everyone as a brand.