Friends and I have had so many chats about this topic and we sometimes come up with totally opposing views… Different collaborations with various brands, the pros and cons of each, why we feel compelled to work with some and wouldn’t go near others with a barge pole etc. The topic of being on brand (or off brand) comes up time and time again and I’ve realised that perhaps I have a slightly different view to most (let me know your thoughts on this) of what being ‘on brand’ actually is. Obviously, this will be different for everyone and I think it mostly comes down to (another buzzword that I’m starting to hate) authenticity, which again means different things to different people so, yeah – we could go around the houses all day on that one.
My view is that our own unique ‘brand’ is simply a direct reflection of us. The real us. That definitely includes our aspirations but also our daily truths, struggles, mistakes et al.
The reason I’m actually writing about this now is that I’ve recently been asked to collaborate with laundry behemoths, Persil. (Before you run away, this isn’t a sponsored post, so hear me out.) Now, I’ve used Persil for years, I think my Mum used Persil back in the day. Trying to get the smell of the stables out of my clothes every weekend, was no mean feat – Persil stepped up to the job though. Being a brand that I’ve used for years and years, spent my hard earned money on, time and time again – could I even find a brand that’s more ‘on-brand’?
Probably not, actually.
But still, I hesitated a while before accepting.
My feeling is that we’ve become so obsessed with the idea of ourselves as personal brands – this cultivated image being an amalgamation of all our best bits plus our aspirations, that just like our (perceived) flaws, anything that doesn’t immediately bolster that image, is strictly ‘off brand’.
We all use toothpaste every single day but talking about it on social media – total faux pas. (Don’t even get me started on tampons!)
I’ve got to be honest guys, I really don’t get it? As long as we genuinely find a product useful, even if it’s not something that inspires great joy whenever we look at it / use it – if it’s a part of our daily lives, why is it not considered to be on brand?
Sure, we all have a list of dream clients (if you don’t you should definitely get to writing one)… I’m just waiting for the day that Kiehl’s decide to reach out and hand me a contract, mainly to save me the hundreds (and hundreds) of pounds that I spend on their products each year! Smith Hotels, Virgin Airways, Mansur Gavriel, where you guys at? Also, West Elm, if you’re listening… I can dress a room and style a thing ‘5 ways’ in my sleep – just saying! Is Persil on my list of dream clients? I’ll be honest, nope. However, can I talk about the effectiveness of their products with absolute conviction after years of rigorous testing? You bet I can. Am I grateful for the work when so many people in the UK are living below the poverty line? Hell yes. So thankful.
So, given that this is my job. Should I turn down that chance to help pay my mortgage whilst talking about a product that I’ve used for years? Am I totally off brand or, more on brand than ever?
I hope it goes without saying that there are many, many brands that aren’t a good fit and that I personally turn down collaborations with – quite simply because I don’t like or use their products.
Finally, just to clarify, I’m not throwing shade at any blogger or influencer that is trying to monetise their hustle in any way they choose. It’s not an easy industry, despite what many think so if you’re paying your bills with your creativity, you’re a badass.
Would genuinely love to hear what everyone thinks about this though, how do you justify what’s on brand and what’s not?