March's Theme - "Identity"
“What do people think of when they think of you?”
As someone who both works in marketing and creates content that needs to be marketed, this is a question I often ask about the products I’m creating, whether that be a movie or this blog you’re reading right now.
With Mirror Box, we’re a brand new production company, so we’re working very hard to control that brand in people’s minds. If we do our job right, when you think of us, you’ll think of a company that creates thought-provoking genre film and builds an authentic community around those films. If we do our job poorly, you won’t think of us at all!
But it also got me thinking about me personally. What is my brand? What do people think of when they think of me? Cause here’s the thing: we all have a brand, whether we are aware of it or not, whether we try to control it or not.
You might define me by my job. By my tastes, my talent, my lack of talent. By my social standing. By my money. By my skin color, my upbringing, my ethnicity. By my mental state. By my sense of humor. By what I love or who I love. By who I surround myself with.
You might call me Dad. Husband. Friend. Geek. Filmmaker. Writer. Entrepreneur. Movie fan. Comic book reader. Guitar player. Optimist. Taco lover. Blue jean wearer. White. Male. Cis. Straight.
But is this who I am?
In my life, I’ve lost a lot of close friends and family. The thing I’ve noticed in those situations is I don’t identify any of my lost loved ones with any of the above criteria. Rather, what I remember most about them are the times we spent together. The moments my best friend Marcus stayed up until 3 in the morning talking to me on the phone about heartbreak. The moments my friend and mentor David would treat me to a movie and dinner when I was broke. The moments my dad would go on long walks with me on his shoulders long after I was too big to ride on his shoulders.
The truth is that no matter how we try to “brand” ourselves with an identity, we will be remembered first and foremost for how we treat other human beings.
That doesn’t mean embracing any of the above as an identity is wrong or misguided. Much of the above identifiers are what bring us together in order to create moments of human connection! And that’s powerful. But equally important are connecting across those identifiers with those who are the opposite of us.
What would the world look like if we shifted our focus to brand ourselves with the one thing we all long to identify with? Love.