The Image or the Brand

The correct identification of the image

Skills are made up of behaviors and language. Attitudes and values are divided into behaviors and language. Identity is divided into attributes (values). The image is also divided into attributes (values). Personal branding, as an area, to be found where psychology, personal development, and (significantly) marketing interfere, aims to align identity with the image. In other words, on the one hand, it aims at bringing the client down to earth regarding how he is actually perceived and, on the other hand, bringing him his image as perceived by others closer to his identity, to whom he really is.

Combining for a client the psychometrical tests with the 360º evaluation with self-evaluation, a personal branding specialist can make an accurate scanning of the image and identity of a person on the condition that those involved are sincere. Actually, an expert can evaluate objectively even when the interviewees lie through their teeth (but that’s another story…). Of course, depending on the client’s field of activity, certain occupations may be easier to evaluate and others harder (it is only a matter of time and money: how much the client affords to linger or beat about the bush).

Things are more direct to the image of an organization (not for nothing is the graphic trademark, a symbol, also called visual identity), but they are, of course, more complex. Nevertheless, image and identity have the same structure. Organizational branding and personal branding problems occur when an entity (natural or juridical) tries to see what they are not instead of appearing as they are. I have exemplified this in the article Why public relations are not marketing.

(keep reading ↓)


The mirror

Ideally, the image must clearly reflect the identity, like the one in a mirror. The mirror as a metaphor for identity also works through relating to consciousness and morality (which are lately called ethics and deontology in organizations), but also from another point of view. The mirror reflects all around it at 360º, but the image you get looking into a mirror depends on the angle from which you are looking.

Actually, the 360º evaluation process provides a mirror effect because it offers an average of the subjectivity of others’ reflections. Each individual perceives the other through the similarities and differences that they show about themselves. In extremis, one can say that we like others because they are just as good as we are, and we despise them because they are either just as evil as we are or because they are different from us.

A good job interview question is: “Which are three qualities and three defects of your best friend?”. The candidate answers, actually providing a portrait of themselves. Remember that the Specks in Other People’s Eyes also have Different Colours for Each.


People are desperately searching for them, selves in others, but beyond this, they are searching for a virtual mirror of the absolute: a mirror that they would hang on the wall and look at from all angles, hoping to discover the beauty that they can’t manage to seem themselves.

That’s why, in extremis, what some (only some) understand by love is only a hidden form of narcissism: “Mirror, mirror, tell me that I’m beautiful!”. Even if the self-image is broader than the image perceived by others, it remains limited and ultimately depends on the efforts each makes to get to know themselves. 

(keep reading ↓)

Copyright (C) Ana-Maria Iana


The traps of branding

Thus, branding is not necessarily defined ethically. After all, an image can be created starting from identity, expectations/standards, or hallucinations. An image shall be perceived similarly as an identity with the following comment. If an image (of an individual or organization) is not real (compliant with reality), then maintaining that image requires tens as much effort and money.

In my opinion, organizational branding,,g can be ethical, and I encourage all to assimilate this perspective. Moreover, I co-branding to be a duty of those who consider that they have something valuable to convey to an audience. If you believe in something strongly enough, you work to create an image as correct, visible, and attractive as possible. It is not an option. It is simply a necessity because that’s how things go. If you don’t create a brand for yourself, your company, or your services/products/causes, then you are not in char,ge of your image, but anybody else is.

(keep reading ↓)


Marcus Victor Grant

Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant 2014-present Translation by Cristiana Brezeanu of the article “Imaginea sau brandul, “published initially by Marcus Victor Grant in Romanian on the 27th of May 2014 on Discerne. Copyright © Marcus Victor Grant, all rights reserved

The materials on this blog are subject to this disclaimer.

One thought on “The Image or the Brand

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