Over the holiday break, I had the opportunity to chaperone a party for a few dozen 10-13 year old middle schoolers. There were lots of treats, party hats and horns, and a fabulous DJ playing age-appropriate music. A great time was had by all. Especially me. I enjoy watching these adorable children in the glory of their early middle school years. They’re still young enough that there was no visible boy/girl drama, very little “cliquish” behavior, and still more giggles than the sobs or disappointment that a typical middle school dance might bring. I do love people-watching, even when the subjects are many decades younger.
Quite a few observations can be made about kids, even at this early age. There is a definite social hierarchy…leaders and followers, and even a few who must be the center of attention. Many kids who already have cell phones were completely absorbed in taking selfies or pictures of that cute boy/girl.
Some kids were wearing $150 Ugg boots, and most seemed to care about being a conformist…skinny jeans and boots were the required “uniform” for the girls, while some boys broke away from the Under Armor trend to wear bowties. Others children channeled their inner free spirits, including one girl in a glamorous and sparkly party dress with leggings and cowboy boots. Some girls are already consumers of makeup. LOTS of makeup. Some boys showed off the new sneakers they received for Christmas.
Little consumers, already. And very conscious and aware of their own “brand” they present to their friends.
I’m not saying that my family is immune…no, we’re as guilty as everyone else. But it’s always interesting to me to see where we each place value for the hard-earned dollars we spend. My kids shop at Hollister, Sephora, Abercrombie, Justice…and I shop at LL Bean, Talbots, etc. I’m not sure how many other parents are like me, shopping solely on the clearance rack, though.
Think of the people you work with, the watches they wear, the jewelry that adds bling, the cars they drive, the lunches they eat, and the vacations they take. Think about your circle of friends, and even those whom you only know via social media. Then, think about the money they spend to cultivate their own personal brand.
Now, think about all those things for yourself. Where is your value? What statement are you making about yourself? What statement are you making for your family, your kids? Is it something you want to change? Maybe you (like me) want to stop judging others for their brand?
I’m not asking you to change anything, but if you’re aware of the personal “brand” you project to the world, you might uncover some changes you’d like to make to it. Could be good input to some New Year’s resolutions!