How branding is a choice (and how it isn’t)

The brain invariably lumps things that it sees together.

A night suit and a visit to the bathroom? It’s time for bed.

Sand, sunglasses, umbrellas, bikini and a surfboard? It’s beach time.

A pill that a doctor asked you to take after a meal? Medicine, even if it is a placebo.

Walls painted yellow and red, a clown painted yellow and red, fast-food and low prices? Your mind can’t help but scream out ‘McDonalds’.

Further, the brain loves consistency because it helps with the lumping together. That is why brand marketers pay careful attention to use the same colours, fonts and tone every time they speak with us.

Each one of us is a brand owing to the brain’s penchant to lump things together. When people think about us, adjectives immediately pop into their minds based on the things we do.

Among our friends, we all know the immaculate planner who plans trips down to the last detail, getting us the best deal everywhere. We also know the procrastinator, who can be found faithfully gaming on her computer rather than executing her several elaborate plans.

The moment we think of a person, our brain jumps in to supply the attributes that make up their brand. This gives us a choice to associate everything we do with the qualities we wish to embody: punctuality, neatness, discipline, showing up and keeping our word. The more often we do these things, the more likely people are to associate our brand with them.

Branding yourself is a choice, but it is also inevitable. If you don’t define your own brand, other people will do it for you.

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