Have you ever noticed that products are known most often by their brand? I own a Hoover. I have a Jetta. I have a whirlpool. I own a Tempurpedic. I have a VitaMix. I go to 24hour. I go to Tim Keller’s. I drink Coke. I think you get the point.
I said nothing about the product of any of the above offerings and my hunch is that you will be able to tell me what the product is, simply by knowing it’s maker.
The brand becomes the product’s identity.
There is a lot of talk about identity in this country. And as I read through my Facebook (a Brand of Social Media) feed, I find that our search and our results are causing a lot of problems. We own false identities as our own and stand our ground. If our identities collide with others who claim a differing identity, then we clash and post stories about threats to our own kind. It grieves me to observe. And, it seems to me, that there are few places to find hope for unity, agreement, grace or love.
Though the metaphor is a bit crude in form and is still being worked out in this brain of mine. I wonder if we can learn a valuable lesson from Brands.
A Hoover is a vacuum. A Jetta is a car. A whirlpool is washing machine. A Tempurpedic – a mattress. A VitaMix – a blender. 24Hour, a gym. Tim Kellor’s – is a church. Coke a beverage made with particular ingredients.
Identity: That by which something is defined and from which receives it’s value.
Okay, I’m going to get just a little brainy for a second.
We identify things by their definition – a Vitamix is a blender and identity is a value source – A VitaMix is known for being an amazing blender. The definition is its actual being and its value comes from how well it lives into its defined self. VitaMix gives the definition and value.
As humans this is super tricky. We do this with each other all of the time. I am Cari a single female, with blondish brown hair, of a certain height and weight, who performs certain tasks and owns and doesn’t own various products.
I am defined then by the fact that I am a person. And I seek to obtain my value from my performance as such. See how that can go south real fast? Who can measure up? What human could possibly measure up? We are a varied race… how then does that play out? We have varied beliefs, What then?
As humans we are fighting for our value. We strive to earn it. We yell to obtain it. We push and shove and insult others and kick and scream to be seen and heard, because our hope is found in one day obtaining value that will fill us… me.. up to completion.
This battle can not be won. When I am in charge of my own identity or I outsource it to the opinions and thoughts of others I loose.
It is a dead end experiment to find one’s definition and value through self and other created things. Then what? How am I as a human person able to find an identity that will not lead to division, self or others centered hatred, or continual striving?
The answer is, like the brands we looked at earlier, we must look to our Maker, our Creator.
Our Identity as humans, in its truest form, was given to us when humankind was made.
Whether or not you believe in a Creator, imagine with me for a second or two, what if you were designed and it was so good it took your Maker’s breath away? What if your design came straight from him or her and it was perfect in every way? What if your identity had nothing to do with comparison to other created beings? What if your identity was placed and it said you were loved, valued and accepted? What then? How would you live, think, act, relate, disagree, and such?
We keep looking for a new identity story.
But maybe, just maybe…. we need an old one….
In Practice: Look at the brands in your home. What do you know about the value of the products based on their branding? Take a moment and think about your own “branding” from where does your value come?