Re-imagining Personal Brand

“Differentiation is a way of thinking. It’s a mindset. It’s a commitment. A commitment to engage with people–not in a manner to which they are merely unaccustomed, but in a manner that they will value, respect, and yes, perhaps even celebrate."  ~Youngme Moon   Harvard Business School professor, Youngme Moon, in her remarkable book Different: Escaping the Competitive Herd, discusses the ways in which many brands have adopted a herd mentality as they compete in the marketplace. In accounting for a “proliferation of sameness,” she says: "In category after category, companies have gotten so locked into a particular cadence of competition that they appear to have lost sight of their mandate – which is to create meaningful grooves of separation from one another. Consequently, the harder they compete, the less differentiated they become.” So, increasingly, we live in a world where we don’t see meaningful differences between offerings like cars, cereals, or cell phone plans.  … [Read more...]

Be Yourself, Only Better

Recently, I posted to Instagram a photo of myself at the gym. I was wearing a Mizuno T-shirt emblazoned with Japanese characters, and the phrase, “Be Yourself, Only Better." Later that day, a Japanese Instagram friend posted the simple comment, “Me too” along with the same Japanese characters. Curious, I went to Google Translate and found that “limit challenge” is the literal translation. I was intrigued, and even more so, over subsequent days, as I got favorable reactions from other Japanese friends about the shirt – and the philosophy! Of course, this prompted me to take a closer look. So, I went to Mizuno’s website and found a flash presentation that expresses how they see limit challenge. It said this: “Every day You make promises to yourself. Be tough, only tougher. Be strong, only stronger. Be yourself. Only better. And, above all, never waver. Never quit. Never settle.” In digging deeper into their philosophy, I found a statement that really resonated for me: … [Read more...]