Posted by Andrew VanderPloeg
I don't know if you've ever heard of Chad Javon Johnson, but I'm guessing some of you will be familiar with the name "Ochocinco". For those of you who don't already know, they are one and the same person.
Chad Johnson is a wide receiver in the NFL. His number is 85 - and although "Ochocinco" isn't technically 100% accurate as the Spanish spelling of 85, as of Aug 29, 2008, it is in fact what he has changed his last name to and what he'll be sporting on the back of his jersey this coming season.
I love this story for a lot of reasons - not least of which is that Chad is a great example of a guy who gets branding. Chad is an excellent wide receiver, which is key to note because a guy that changed his name to a Spanish version of his jersey number and couldn't play the game, would undoubtedly look pretty ignorant to his team and fans alike. But this guy can catch a ball and he knows that he's marketable - for that reason, the name change not only works, it's a brilliant strategy to increase his brand.
But this post isn't just about Ochocinco, it's about the fact that many people, when they hear the word branding, seem to immediately think in terms of the external things that organizations/companies do for their public image. And although the external stuff is an important part of how you communicate who you are, your logo, your annual report and the ads you run in different mediums are only a reflection of what the brand represents...you!
You are the person/people behind the brand of your organization. You don't just wear the team jersey...you are the team.
Once you understand that truth, it will fundamentally change how you approach all of your branding - change it for the better that is!