The Orange and the Brand of You

A story which I heard about a few weeks back stuck with me and I have pondered on it on and off along with its implications in this past few weeks.

As the story goes, back in the day – in the late 19th to early 20th century, oranges grown by different Florida planters were sent up north by train to be sold. Obviously each planter wanted to reap a nice profit for all the labor and resources put into growing oranges. But with time it was discovered that since oranges are a very homogeneous product, customers did not really care who they bought oranges from.

Some planers made a decent profit while other made little and no predictability in regards to who got the most customers existed. To overcome this, planters began  packing their oranges in crates which had art on them. With time, a dehomogenizing effect began occurring and customers began buying more into the art rather than the oranges themselves. Thus, those with the best art tended to attract the most customers. Obviously, this set off competition among the orange sellers to see who could come up with the best art.

This story has a lot of lessons and implications when looked at from a branding perspective of how sellers vie for customer attention and loyalty. But on an individual human level,  lessons exist which can key in discovering our innate talents and abilities.

As humans- for the most part – after being socialized into an environment/society for a while our character attributes tend to move towards the norm of the environment.

The biggest take away from the orange story is that people must strive to stand out. People must strive to discover their unique gifts and talents which make them stand out and which are hard for others to replicate.

Even though many people tend to attach negative connotations to the idea, each individual is a brand. The most basic branding we have are our names.  But each individuals must go beyond that and work on the brand of themselves and cultivate those positive attributes and strengths which would make them stand out and be irreplacable.

Its in doing so that we will reach our true potential and serve others and society in the process. Just like the Florida orange planters who had hard times selling oranges, our individual breakthroughs might come by when we begin working on creating our distinct brands which are hard to copy.