Personal Branding: The invisible threshold

11/04/12
Personal Branding in  English and Danish (Cover: Mads Kastberg, DJ)

Resumé: If you're interested in building a strong brand for ME Inc., do read this from the chapter "Why personal branding" from Peter Horn's book "Personal Branding".

Personal branding is connected to conscience and long-term strategic
planning because you cannot make yourself personally visible towards others without ­- possessing something that hints at, promises, and actually delivers something of value to them. In a popular quote – by American president Abraham Lincoln - “You may fool all the people some of the time, you can even fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all the time.”

Therefore you have to make up your mind if you want to be exposed at all. If you decide to cross this invisible threshold between being unknown and famous, there are many ways back – the veil of forgetfulness has shrouded quite a few through time. For those who want to progress then the deal is to win followers and secure distribution channels for their message.

Many lessons in personal branding can be learned from one of the most famous persons in world history, and we are not talking here about members of the Beatles. Whether Jesus of Nazareth intended it or not, he became a mighty, almighty powerful brand.  The personal branding expert to thank here, again, possibly unintentionally, was St. Paul, who adjusted details of Jesus’ teachings so that they would be accepted by, and be acceptable to, his ‘target audience’ and their culture.

The writing of the four gospels by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John allowed a much more consistent, rapid dissemination of the message of Jesus as the newborn church saw it. That these stories were written many decades after Christ’s ascension, and contained significantly differing accounts of the facts did not seem to hurt the cause.

A few centuries later, the failing Roman Empire decided “if you can’t beat them, join them” and took their turn in re-branding Jesus and his message, creating excellent business opening new branches of the exponentially growing Church to the outer dominions of the empire.

Christendom kept up Paul’s excellent strategy of adapting its message to suit the local population. The winter solstice was re-branded as Christ’s birthday celebration. Easter festivities were taken off the Saxon Goddess Eostre, and given to Jesus whose message of forgiveness did after all offer new life. The story of his rising from the dead did not seem so outlandish at that time of year, since the lifeless frozen land beneath the peasants’ feet was doing the same, coming to life with the spring.

With Brand Jesus so well entrenched, the powers that be found almost limitless opportunities to capitalise on the good name, and with tithing, the selling of indulgences, and in modern times, church tax, it became a lucrative name.

Intervening in all of life’s momentous events, births, weddings, funerals, not to mention the weekly day of rest, the priest had excellent advertising slots to keep the brand vigorously promoted.
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