Me as a Brand

January 24, 2011

According to a recent report from trendwatching.com, one of the major trends for 2011 is the emergence of the ‘social-lite’. This is someone who actively recommends not only products, but also experiences to like-minded consumers within their social network. Interestingly, it is suggested that ‘likes’, advice and comments are all offered not for altruistic reasons, but in an attempt to send out a message about oneself. In other words, broadcasting information online is a step towards ‘self-branding’.

                The idea that each one of us is a brand appeared long before the emergence of online networks. It is a subject which has sparked much debate, with some arguing that people, by their very nature can never fall into the category of a ‘brand’. Others, however, argue that what we consume constantly sends signals to others about who we are.

                Perhaps some common ground could be found by looking at things differently. The concepts of identity formation and personality are useful ways of understanding actions. What we do is influenced by a number of things, including gender, peer effects and culture. This is no different to what goes on in the online world with Facebook groups and online forums like Mumsnet having a huge impact on how people behave.

                Whether or not you and I are brands remains a topic for discussion. The greater question is how our online identities will be shaped and changed by our online social networks and the online behaviour of others.

Carly

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