Personal Brands

“I am ashamed to think how easily we capitulate to badges and names, to large societies and dead institutions.” 
Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

Sally Lunn

Every marketing course will tell you that branding sells products, but few connect it to the original meaning of branding cattle with a hot iron. Whether we know it or not, we live our personal brands through our daily exchanges.  Some brands have lasted for centuries and have come to signify a universal meaning.

“Achilles’ heel” has come to mean a person’s vulnerable spot.  In Greek mythology, Achilles’ mother, Thetis, forgot to dip his heel in the River Styx.  Adam’s apple refers to the voice box of the throat, an allusion to the story of Adam and Eve.  It seems that a piece of the forbidden fruit lodged in Adam’s throat.   Swearing by Alexander’s beard was a reference to Alexander the Great’s dislike for beards.  He shaved and made certain that all followed his example. If anyone said, they “swore by Alexander’s beard,” they were not swearing by anything.

Fast forward a few hundred years, Calamity Jane came to exemplify respect.  Mrs. Martha Burke was her real name, but she became famous because of her ability to handle herself in dangerous situations.  Any man who provoked her invited calamity.

My personal favourite! Sally Lunn, who lived in the late eighteenth century, is known for her legendary enriched yeast breads associated with the town of Bath.  Her voice was heard throughout the streets, calling for people to buy her delicious wares.  She became famous and her name came to symbolize the best of things to eat.

“Live out your life in truth and justice, tolerant of those who are neither true nor just.” 
Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

20 thoughts on “Personal Brands

  1. How interesting!

    Some branding never becomes world wide but is applicable to a small group of family or friends. I really can’t give an example but I recall when teaching …. a teacher acting or speaking in a certain way….(just a mannerism ) And when we would see someone else doing the same thing we would brand them as ‘pulling a XXXX (name of teacher)

    Not making sense as usual. Just thinking out loud. lol

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    • I know exactly what you mean. We seem to make connections by grouping ideas within a specific context so that everyone can identify with a particular event or person. We seek to simplify our language that way. Thank you for your insightful comments! Your visits always give me a lift!!!

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  2. Truth and justice–another word combination to add to the two from yesterday. I found it so interesting that “branding” comes from “branding of cattle” a way to place ownership. of a rancher on his property. Glad as a child I lived on a little ranch where I experienced the exciting time of year when branding was done. Not to forget the pain experienced by the poor animals.

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    • Can you believe that we went through Bath in the early morning when all the stores were closed. We saw the bread being delivered and it looked scrumptious and the smelled absolutely divine! I extracted a promise from my husband and son that we would return again!!! 🙂

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  3. Branding…so powerful. Always amazes me how words, when agreed upon, create reality. BTW, love the photo and tried to read the sign in the window, lol, “1480…stone facade.”
    Also, while you’re out and about finding origins, let me know if you ever come across something definitive for “Bloody Mary.” Don’t know why that came up now but never found a satisfying source, especially what brought it to the drink. ‘Nuff of my ramblings.😉

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    • I thought that “Bloody Mary” would date back to Mary, Queen of England, but it doesn’t. The origin is a bit murky, but the one I like is that the drink was invented by Fernand Petiot when he worked at the New York Bar in Paris (later known as Harry’s New York Bar. It was the Paris “hangout” for Ernest Hemingway and other famous Americans. Reminds me of “Midnight in Paris.” There is always a story behind words! And when you know the story, everything becomes more interesting!

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      • So well put and completely agree. It’s the story that we all love, even the meaning of just one word, its definition, and how they affect our chemistry. I find it absolutely amazing that one word, a kind gentle loving word, can secrete endorphins and serotonin, while another filled with hatred stirs up adrenaline and cortisone (the latter two suppress the immune system). I’m really loving your posts, not just saying that, for two reasons: you, your sweet heart, and my fascination with words, which you appear to share. xoxo Your friend, Paulette

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      • Thank you so much!!! As my son always says, all of us can make others happy – some by entering a room and some by leaving. You are so right – one word, one conversation can change the course of our lives. If we knew how powerful our words were, perhaps we would chose more wisely. You have made my day, pure sunshine! 🙂

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  4. Being the black sheep of the family (another brand), also referred to, as the the middle born of three children( sandwich fill), After my father died, I was eleven and rather adventurist, so to give a young mother devoted room to breath I was to spend a few years in a boarding school so as to re-enter back to earth respectably civilized. During that period, under the, and I use the terms loosely, guidance and supervision, I learned a lot of brand names for these RC costumed gentlemen lay-brothers. Brand names all related to their specific functions, names of which I would love to share, like the poor sod who was responsible for the lavatories, but one of the things I did learn there was respect. So out of respect for Lady Budd and blog readers I shall restrain myself, and let you use your imagination.

    Fun post this one… evokes a lot of laughter and associated memories. Thank you for that dear Lady… JJ

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    • And thank you for your comments! You always give me a smile and a thought for my day! Have a wonderful weekend – sunshine in Vancouver! Perfect for adventuring.🙂

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  5. Cows have certainly not forgotten the origin of the word branding. :O)
    I should love to go to Bath one day…….perhaps I might have time on my trip to UK in August. I’m supposed to be on a gluten-free diet, now my mouth is watering and all I can think about is delicious yeasty breads! Looking forward to my trip to UK in August, where I will happily ditch the diet for some good bread.
    Lovely piece…….looking forward to future posts! (gluten-free or otherwise)

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    • Have a wonderful time on your trip!! Every once in a while, we can celebrate just a little with a yummy treat. Thank you for connecting – looking forward to our discussion!🙂

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