Branding vs. The Temptation To Conform

Nike+ chip on Vibram FiveFingers Bikila
Image by soopahgrover via Flickr
When you work in D.C. it seems like everyone naturally dresses in tan, navy and black.

In New York they all wear black.

In Miami it's surprising when people wear anything.

Even within metropolitan areas there are codes.

The kids at University of Maryland dress different than at George Washington University. But within each setting you can tell who fits in.

Similarly the people walking on Georgetown have a totally different look than at Adams-Morgan.

All I have to do is look down at the shoes and I know where each chicken goes home to roost.

Professionally, your brand is all you have. And if you look like everybody else, you are killing your ability to make your mark.

What distinguishes the brand-smart from the brand-stupid is that the former take conformity into account before deciding to "think different."

In a sense, the nonconformist must be an expert on fitting in - a student of grammar - before s/he decides to misspell words purposely.

To the untutored it looks like a teenage boy in pink Nikes is an oddball. To the fashion insider it is clear such an outfit is ultimately cool.

Whether you fit in or not is up to you. But at the very least, know how to play the game.

Have a good evening everyone, and good luck!

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Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal is an author, independent brand researcher, and adjunct marketing professor with 20 years of varied experience. An avid researcher and prolific, creative writer, Dr. Blumenthal's interests span communication, marketing, qualitative media content analysis, political rhetoric, propaganda, leadership, management, organizational development, and more. An engaged citizen, she has for several years worked to raise awareness around child sex trafficking and the dangers of corruption at @drdannielle on Twitter. You can find her articles at Medium, and, and she frequently answers questions on Quora. All opinions are Dr. Blumenthal's own.