I am not much on reading obituaries. While I have respect for the deceased, I worry that a regular perusal of obituaries could become a morbid fascination. So, when I was thumbing through the Minneapolis Star Tribune at my hotel one morning last week I initially turned the page when I realized I was at the obituaries. After all, who in Minneapolis would I know - I had been there a grand total of 36 hours! But, a headline stopped me in my tracks and inspired a second look.
The obituary for Marvin Borman, a local attorney, led with the headline "He spent decades helping community." That got my attention, and I had to learn about his story. Mr. Borman passed away at the age of 89 but left a legacy for his family and local community. Among the most salient facts about Mr. Borman were:
As I read Mr. Borman's obituary, I realized that in front of me was his eternal brand statement. Unlike a campaign that launches with a catchy theme and flashy messaging but eventually gives way to the next big idea, an obituary gives an historical account of a personal brand. It is an eternal brand statement. Mr. Borman's impressive personal brand is a call to reflect on our journey in creating an eternal brand statement.
- Attained Eagle Scout at age 13
- Graduated high school at age 15... and was valedictorian
- Joined U.S. Marines just after Pearl Harbor was attacked
- Married to his wife, Betty, for 66 years
- Served on the United Way Board for 34 years
- Enjoyed varied interests - spending time with family, fishing, tennis, and his work.
How will your eternal brand statement read? Will it reflect personal values that are so clear that people who never met you will feel like they have been touched by reading your story? Our eternal brand statement is not written by a newspaper staffer after we die; it is being crafted daily by our values and actions. I like to say that the work of branding is never finished, but when it comes to our personal brand we can also say that branding never dies.
Labels: Personal Branding