I devoted some time to helping his family close the chapter on all of the things he left behind in his home and workspace. As we maneuvered through his personal effects in his space, you could feel his presence. And while the task of moving things into donate, sell, toss, and give away piles was very emotional, we were able to laugh a lot. There were some really good memories associated with his belongings. As we cleaned, his life narrative was unfolding before us.
When someone passes, there are digital breadcrumbs you can find on the Internet and in particular, places like Facebook.
But when it comes to the physical world, an experience like cleaning out a loved one’s space, had me realizing that often, what a person chooses to wear is representative of the chronicle of their life.
What a person wears often embodies what they stand for. School loyalty. What causes they support. What makes them laugh. Who their favorite bands are. What event experiences they encounter. Where they travel.
All of this speaks to the power of brand. Not just a logo. Rather, an experience with a product or service or organization or event or cause that was so important that someone would invest in that brand by wearing it proudly on a shirt or hat. Like a badge of allegiance.
Steve Jobs once said, “The chance to make a memory is the essence of brand marketing.”
Is your brand the kind of brand that someone will wear out on the town on a date night – or – to mow the lawn? And if “to mow the lawn” is your answer, isn’t it time you figured out how to build a brand with a loyal following? The kind of brand that people want to associate with? To create fans that are willing to fight with their mom over keeping that beat up, old, tattered Velveteen Rabbit-style hat with your favorite logo?
There is power in what brands and messages are on the clothes you wear. They associate you with a belief system. I think brand merchandise helps us find our people. For example, have you ever worn your favorite band’s t-shirt when a stranger, who loves that same band, comes over to talk to you and compare experiences? It is pretty amazing to think that a t-shirt or hat can deliver life value through this sort of magnetic connection. Such is the power of a brand. As well as for remembering people.
So, model those favorite brands, designs and messages. Share your voice. Find your people. Make those connections. You will be remembered by what you wear.
Rest in peace, Steve, “Stiggs” James Kollmansperger. And thank you, for inspiring me to write this.
Co-President, Brand Fuel