The Brand Called... You Again?

Fast Company reader "David" recently remarked that our 1997 feature The Brand Called You is "a typical example of the breathless crap" for which the magazine is known.

Feedback like that fascinates me. One, I don't reread articles published seven years ago and criticize ideas that were then valid if they aren't as useful now. The world turns. And two, if the Brand Called You is so passe, it's interesting that the Hollywood Reporter recently covered celebrity branding.

Seems the idea still has legs, even if the tenor of the times has changed.

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  • Mark Zorro

    Useful then? If useful is walking around with a false and broken premise, then everything in life must be useful. Machiavelli is a better human being to follow and understand than what Brand You served up then, and I should know, I was critical of it when it was - you know "valid".

    Not that I support what David says either - it is we choose our crap, no one forces it into us, what is crap is being critical of problems without offering an ounce of solution or an alternative course. No one can accuse me of not thinking about my world but I can accuse many in this world not for not thinking beyond their own criticism. This is also why my life is a good life and why I cannot be a Brand You because you can't be a maverick and and at the same time a walking advert of a human merchandise. At the heart of Fast Company is the maverick spirit, that's what Webber knocked his head on - Brand You subverts that spirit. Such is that spirit, that it either can anger one or make one think.

    (Mark Twain wasn't Mark Twain, Mark Zorro isn't Mark Zorro)

  • Ben

    Yes, the world turns... ...obviously in a circle if history is condemned to repeat itself.

    I read the "The Brand Called You" for the first time after following the link on this blog. Personally I liked the article, and can still see how it would be relative today.

    Passe for one, but maybe not for another.

  • David Parks

    Everyone is entitled to an opinion.

    David has his opinion and I, David too, have mine. I guess because we are both called 'David' we are the regular old commodity version of 'David' - right? Wrong!

    The key question with 'Brand You' is "What Are You Known For?" I personally think that being known for something - call it a reputation (or a brand) is a good thing. Tom (and I work with him) has a reputation for provocation. That is his brand!

    'Brand You' has evolved since this article to a very strong business intervention called 'Brand Inside:Brand Outside.' Basically it helps organizations align and deliver on their brand promise. As one client of mine says "if you are not delivering on your brand promise, you are lying!"

  • Rob

    LOL! What did you expect Heath? Fast Company presents cutting edge ideas which by their very nature are controversial and complex. Thus some people love them and some people hate them. You guys could write on something that would generate less negative feedback, but it would probably also decrease your readership because people would be bored. As for the "breathless crap" comment, well, the perception is that FC was a little too hyped about the late 90s, but I think you are getting back on track. I was turned onto FC by a well respected professor named Greg Dess back in 1997, and I think that is a pretty good endorsement. I have to admit though, that right now I don't think you guys are as good as Business 2.0. Ask me how I feel again is six months though. I find more an more FC articles interesting each month. I'm almost back to reading the whole thing. And anyway, David should be mad at Tom Peters, not FC.