The Many Faces of Us

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Originally uploaded by cattycamehome.

How many faces to you have? How many IDs? How many passwords? If you are like me, then you will have many!

I have user IDs and passwords for home and for work. I have accounts with Flickr, Yahoo, Typepad, news sites (in Australia and around the world), games sites, game makers, Amazon, eBay, blah blah blah. There are even subscriptions that I have forgotten about.

This is part and parcel of an online life, and something that struck me upon reading this article at Brandnoise.

But there is something deeper in all of this that is challenging for brands. This proliferation of identities, I suspect, has a huge impact on the WAY we choose to interact with brands. It also has a massive potential to transform our understandings of brands and the process of branding.

The range of web and other identities that we "own" can reflect parts of our authentic selves. And as these are INTERACTIVE and fluid, the manner in which we inhabit these IDs allow us to engage with brands differently. Through these IDs we enter an IMAGINARY brand space … where the we are able to PLAY with brands.

In a way, we are PERFORMING. And as performers, we also gain a critical insight INTO those brands and the ways that they position themselves in relation to the MANY FACES OF US. We are able to seek out the anomalies, the inconsistencies and imbalances of brands. And the more we play with brands and the more angles we take, the easier it is for us to see through the one dimensional brand.

The challenge for marketers is to open the brand out to this type of play and engagement. Some are doing this already through YouTube and opening branded content to open source communities … but there is still plenty of work to be done. How far are you prepared to go as a marketer? What about as a consumer? And do you go there as yourself or just as PART of YOU?