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You have a personality, no matter what they told you in high school. We’ve been doing branding for a long time, and we’ve been studying brands even longer. And we know two things to be true (at least two). One, everything is a brand—even if it is not packaged and promoted as such. And two, every brand falls into one of five personalities—sincerity, excitement, ruggedness, sophistication, or competence.

My Aunt Evelyn is the embodiment of competence. My dad is sincerity with overtones of ruggedness—this caused him some anxiety as a math teacher, but served him well as a scout leader. I had a room mate in college (Lips Miller), who was an excitement brand. Dude did spontaneous dives off a railroad trestle, at night, into dark water—EKS-SITE-MENT! Anne’s Aunt Barbara and Uncle Bert are sophistication—Bert is in the big-time jewelry business. Gave Anne some really nice china, just cause they thought she ought to have it.


Had a black lab—Primo— who was the epitome of sincerity and ruggedness. Loved trucks. Got hit by one once, trying to lick the front bumper, while it was moving. Sincere. Rugged. Not smart.

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