05
Oct
10

BRANDING FRIENDSHIP


We keep hearing about “personal branding”. This is fine… so far. But when you really ponder upon the subject, you will discover that  a “person” is a relative entity which actually a part of the many. Which leads to an intriguing thought: Our individuality is conditioned by our integration within the mass. So in other words, a person is a person when it is an intrinsic part of a group of persons.

Wao! I had to read three times what I just wrote to grasp it!

So, if you ask me (and yes, I know you are), our definition, perception and evaluation of a person is dictated by the environment in which that person thrives at large, but most importantly by the small circles within which that person engages in interaction. And those circles usually are family, friends, and work.

I will focus on friends for a simple reason. Family is a conditioner. Since we’re born within a family, we spend the first 18 years of our lives being conditioned by our parents, family sociocultural inheritance and the safe haven they provides. So there, we have a little leeway to maneuver. Comes work, and there again, most of our behavior and person(ality) are “dictated by the amount of will we harness to progress our career, kiss the boss’s ass (or the receptionist’s…), earn a raise, or see our opponents drop.

With friends, on the other hand, we simply blossom. Our choice of friends is a very intricate strategy, happening most of the times in the depth of our subconscious, yet complex enough to explore. Yeah, I know, it’s getting ugly.

Our awareness about our own image or brand is an important factor in choosing friends. A friend has to enhance some aspect of our own brand. Depending on how smart (or lame) you are, you choose your friends to boost specific aspects of that brand of yours. You hang out with the jet-setter or the trendsetter, the geek because he or she expands your knowledge base or the weak because they help you shine. Yeah, yeah, you love your friends, I know. What you don’t know is “why”!

Why do you love a friend? Pick one right now and describe why you love him or her. You will end up stating their qualities, the ones that “you” like about them, the ones that you feel fit your image, personality and character. In other words, that person is “fit” to be your friend. It fulfills a specific purpose, it’s a link in your chain of self-branding. Mind you, you’re the same to your friends.

So next time, you find yourself engaging in the friendship ritual with another person, try to reflect on what that person represents to you and what you represent to him or her. This will be a wonderful way to understand the importance of a balanced chemistry between bot of you.

At the end, you will be labeled as a group or a bunch (or a posse), even sometimes a couple (no, not as in an item) and you will enjoy the bliss of the friendship brand. You will be safe inside that brand. You will be protected by the others, giving you the range to screw up from time to time and not be noticed. Because, once the friendship brand prevails, you, the “person” become part of a bigger scheme, where what makes you who you are perceived to be, is not how you act, but how your action integrates with the collective behavior of your bunch.

If today’s organizations realized the power of friendship branding, they would be in control of a powerful social weapon. Few (if any) organizations understand the true nature and power of friendship. But are they to blame? So many of us have yet to grasp it ourselves…

At the end, the same way we, as people, need to understand the science behind friendship to make the best of it, organizations have yet to understand the friendship behind the science to win their customers hearts.

©2010 – Ibrahim Lahoud

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4 Responses to “BRANDING FRIENDSHIP”


  1. 2 Dar El Akhdar
    October 5, 2010 at 20:22

    Great piece of branding analysis Eby!

    But it’s sad to realize how deeply instrumental the friendship process can be (whether consciously or subconsciously)…

    Kind of makes you paranoid to check if you love your friends for what they can do for you more than for what kind of person they are 🙂

    And your piece also highlights how people sometimes feel the need to ‘meet new people’ – potentially because one’s current friends are “no longer enhancing some aspect of (their) own brand”

    Great stuff

  2. October 7, 2010 at 16:01

    kiss the boss’s ass (or the receptionist’s…),

    haha,,no that’s not the only thing I took away from this..

    I think I’m still digesting it though..I think I have to re-read it again and comment at a later date..yes, it’s that DEEP.

  3. November 4, 2010 at 13:25

    !!!
    As they say a book is a friend, also definitely a friend is also a Book. A good book.
    People who don’t interest you are just not your kind of literature (or gossip).

    Good friends…priceless, exchange is a win-win, of any kind (emotional, intellectual..), for both hopefully!

    … and then there is the circle of friends (the friend of friend… getting more obvious with social networks)


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Reason To Believe by Ibrahim N. Lahoud is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
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