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Graffiti – Learning from the ultimate personal branding tool

June 8, 2010

personal branding, online branding

When every other person I meet is interested in “personal branding” and now “personal branding coaches” are popping up everywhere, I look back to the power of the signature in the form of graffiti and the expenses those artists take to brand themselves. In case you didn’t know graffiti was first recognized in the late ’60’s as a way to yield interest around political opinions. Soon thereafter it was used to mark or identify a gang’s place in a neighborhood. Not long thereafter, individual artists spent laborious hours perfecting their personal trademark to then post it on some unknowing public edifice. “Tagging” public building in NYC throughout the 70’s and 80’s and still today became a way for people to make their own personal brand visible. In that the act is labeled “vandalism” signifies the extent to which people would risk their freedom to get their name out there. And so, what do we learn from these acts?

Each tag identifies a unique person or personality and those tags accompanies by cartoons and well-drawn designs reveal the thought and work that goes into creating that personal brand. Further, taking a brand to the public confidently takes real guts and there should be thought and messaging behind it. To wield brand equity, the brand has to be developed into such a symbol that anyone viewing the brand quickly knows what the brand is trying to convey and can pass that message on. Such that artists pushed their brands across hundreds of buildings, lamp posts and bridges, so too must the personal brand be pushed across web sites, blogs and social networks. A good example is the Andre The Giant Possee. From wikipedia:“Andre the Giant Has a Posse is a street art and viral marketing campaign based on a design by Shepard Fairey created in 1989 in Providence, Rhode Island. Distributed by the skater community, the Andre stickers began showing up in many cities across the U.S.A.[citation needed] At the time Fairey declared the campaign to be “an experiment in phenomenology.”[1] Over time the artwork has been reused in a number of ways and has become worldwide, following in the footsteps of World War II iconKilroy Was Here“.

agent-cy personal branding image

Finally, as in graffiti, the owner of the personal brand must constantly stay on top of his/her brand, creating content that reflects and grows the visibility and acceptance of the brand such as the artist must constantly look for new ways to get his tag out there.

Another installation of personal branding next time…

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