Now this is just going to sound like a lot of wannabe, young professional bs, so bare with me for a sec, but I am going to talk about branding.
A lot of us look up at celebrities, whether it be Bruno Mars, Oprah, Leonardo DiCaprio, or in my case, Big Bang’s TOP, and think to ourselves, “Wow, I want to be like him(or her)!”.
What we forget to realize is the years behind their brands. The years it took for them to get close to even resembling who they are today. The effort, the careful precision, and all the long work days they had to put in to be recognized as someone to be looked up to.
Now of course, I have a lot of role models besides TOP. To be honest, he is not even in the list of TOP(wink) 5 people I model myself after. I looked up to him every now and then in the past, and I forgot about him for a very long time.
But after a bout of laziness, and allowing myself to waste some time on youtube, I came across a lot of videos on bigbang, and I realize what attracted me in the first place. The band has all the features or personality traits that I aspire to mold into myself. I want to be loved, I want to make a lasting change in society, I want to work hard, and I want to have a strong community of friends to support me.
Now when it comes to TOP specifically, what I admire about him is his ability to be apologetically himself.
In a single moment, you can find him being a goofball, having all the fun in the world being who he is…
And in the next instant, he can be a suave, handsome korean man that all the ladies would give up their left breasts to spend a night with(pardon my french).
But he wasn’t always like this. And he is not always a non-apologetic individual either. He has always cared about his image. He has always cared about what others think of him. That is his profession. He has to sell his image. His fan-base revolves around his brand.
But he isn’t limited by his brand either.
In the beginning years of bigbang, when they were still trying to find their image, still trying to brand themselves as a Kpop group, TOP was never really in the limelight. It was always either G-dragon or Taeyang that took the spotlight. He was always in the background. Of course he would have a lot of cameo appearances on T.V. shows, but the focus would never last long, and they would always move onto the next subject.
But this was to be expected. His producers knew this was to happen, because this is how branding works. It has to be polished over years. It is not something we can just adopt.
I’m sure TOP had his own idols that he looked up to, and aspired to brand himself after, but like everybody else, all he could do was work on his daily grind and earn it.
And the brand he made, although he modeled it after the individuals he looked up to, it looks like no one else’s brand because it is his. It was a brand that he worked for years, and he has earned the recognition of thousands solely because of his brand.
And this ties into the idea of identity, because I believe they are one and the same. It is good to look up to people. It is good to have role models and heroes to strive to be like. However, years from now, when you have an identity, when you have a brand, it will solely be your own. Sure, it may have traces of the people you looked up to, but most people will not recognize that, and they will only see your brand as you. That is what an identity is.
Everybody has a brand, but not everyone has an admirable one.
And I think it is the right thing to do to work for brand that people can admire, because in the end, you will have to work hard to attain such an image, and you will become a better person for it. Now this doesn’t mean that you have to aim for the limelight, and try to show everyone your brand. Not at all. How many countless non-famous people have we met in our lives that we look up to. Individuals that have distinct brands that we wish we could have. Branding does not mean aiming for exposure or fame. Instead, it means self-authorship. It means, This is who I am.
Branding means looking out into the world, and taking those things you admire, and becoming them yourself.
And it will not happen right away. It will take years. I honestly think it will take a minimum of 7-10 years, before anybody can get a truly amazing brand like TOP. And those 10 years will have to be filled with failure, hardship, pain, and perseverance. But if you can make it through the end, you will come out with an image that people will gain courage from. A brand that will help others take the first step to their 10 year journey.
So I encourage all of you to look at yourself as a brand. I am the Sam Choi Brand or the Simple Wisdom Brand. You are the __________ brand. Ask yourself, “What do I want other people to think and feel when they see me?”
“Who are the TOP(wink) 3 people I want to be like?”
Then write at least 4 characteristic about each of them that you admire.
And for the next year, work on attaining one characteristic every month for the entire year. And by doing so, you will find yourself reaching heights that you would have never dreamed.
I hope this helps. Please share this post if you did, and comment your thoughts, maybe even answers to the questions. Tell me your year plan.
Shoot, Now I need to do the year plan, I need to get something to write with~