Your Planet Sustainable?Your Tribe Harmonious?Your Life Vibrant?
Future Proof Ideas since 2005, by Erwin van Lun

New term for personal brands?

The term 'personal brands' is nowadays used in different ways. I personally use it as a term for a new type of brand that will be created from the writing of my book, but round about the same time the term also came to be used differently: for presenting a person as brand. The fact that I, furthermore, focus on that last using the term 'personal branding ' doesn't exactly reduce the confusion. When I was interviewed by Emerce about this the chaos was complete. Time for a new terminology!

This new term will be used in my lectures and workshops (that's my core business), here on the blog (in both Dutch and English) and in my new book (working title 'Pamper Planet'). I'm thinking of 'coach brand' or 'coaching brand'. What do you think? Or is another name better?

I discussed the meaning of the term ‘coaching brands’ extensively in my book, the trends page, and the hundreds of day-to-day examples show that these types of brands are slowly being created. Sometimes it’s pretty difficult to imagine a new type of brand that’s yet to be created because when we think of the term ‘brand’ we tend to think of physical products (like the Tomtom) or services (like Rabobank), but a brand like LinkedIn is still often seen as a ‘site’ while it’s precisely this kind of brand that have the potential to bind consumers emotionally (so not physically, which is still strong in 2008). More than any brand has ever been able to do with traditional advertising or symbolical connection (perhaps excepting churches in the past). That’s not the case at the moment; that has to be created and it’ll be many years before we really recognise the strength of this type of brand.

In short:

Coaching brands are a new type of brand that will be shaped in the coming ten years. Coaching brands work on a level of need such as health, money, travel, living or children. Within that area of need they’ll know everything you can get (and that worldwide!) and they’ll also know everything about us as an individual. This way coaching brands will start to anticipate us, advise us and help us with transactions. We’ll select 10-20 of these brands. One for each need. These brands will be like buddies. They’ll be available worldwide. These brands will be represented by ‘coaching brand agents’: visual characters with which we enter a spoken dialogue. In time these characters will look like humans (that’s why the term ‘mensmerk’, translated ‘humanbrand’). On tv, on cell phones or any other possible screen they’ll appear when called.

How nice as it sounds, a clear new term is needed. I’m thinking of the term ‘Coach Brand’ or ‘Coaching Brand’. For the first time I was immediately told that it sounded like it’d be about some living room couch you can sit on. The second, however, is active because of the ‘ing’-use. That’s what characterises these brands: they’re pro-active, come with suggestions. That’s why you don’t want too many of these brands around you. Too much thinking along with you isn’t good either. Furthermore I can continue to use the domains of need as I’m currently doing. Then it’ll become ‘coaching home brand’, ‘coaching mobility brand’, ‘coaching financial brand’ etc.

I’ve reserved the domain names and just in case.

Let me know what you think!

Update: update: in November 2008 I switched to 'coaching brand'.

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