Identity Through Brands

More articles discussing the role brands and consumer products play in self-identity and personal branding…

In The Only Sweater a Mom and Analyst Could Love, author Matthew Weiner describes the ‘between the lines’ nature of gift giving,

“…the reality is that getting a gift is like being set up on a blind date. Like it or not, your friend or family member is sending you a message telling you in a coded way what they think you want, what you deserve and, on some level, who they think you are.�

Weiner then unfolds a wonderful story, culminating in his description of his financially difficult years while he and his wife struggled through early career choices. Strapped for cash one Holiday season, Weiner’s wife nevertheless buys him an uber luxury briefcase, one that had been featured as the briefcase of choice by high-roller/mogul types in many 1980’s films,

“When I saw that gift, I knew that no matter what I felt like, she somehow saw me as the kind of person who carried that thing. She somehow saw me as a success. And yes, there were hugs and kisses and tears.�

Next, in the article, Remembrance of Things Unread, author Motoko Rich explains how books we purchase are increasingly go ‘unread,’ instead valuing the act of “purchasing’ over that of actual content. Such books are used to define our personalities and beliefs, with titles acting as brands,

“Such gifts [books] carry with them a whiff of self-congratulation, as well as flattery. They say: I’m smart, and I think you are, too. People also often buy themselves these books in the hopes of stocking their shelves — or these days, their Facebook or MySpace profiles — with titles that tell the world “who I am,â€� even if all they can really say is, “I bought it.â€�

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