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We had two Brainzooming articles and great comments last week on personal branding strategy. The subject reminded me of a recent exchange underscoring the memorability a great personal brand can create.

Last month, Cyndi and I were having her second free birthday dinner at Houlihan’s (and BTW, although they messed up the first dinner, Houlihan’s performed outstanding service recovery, really overcompensating for the servce failures taking place initially). Both nights, the same two women were eating nearby. One looked so familiar, I was sure I knew her.

At the end of the second dinner, my curiosity took over. I approached the table and asked if she were Evelyn Young. Yes, she replied, wondering why I asked. I told her I’d bought several pieces of jewelry from her years before. She asked with a twinkle in her eye if they’d been for my wife or a mistress. I assured her they’d been for my wife, as Cyndi showed her one of the rings, which Evelyn examined, commenting on its beauty.

She then asked if she made me spend more money than I’d wanted. I told her she had; Evelyn smiled and noted I had looked familiar to her as well. A variety of pleasantries and stories ensured, including one about getting a husband planning to spend a total of $100 on a 25th anniversary chain to spend $100 PER YEAR (or $2500) instead.

Evelyn reminded us that she is now 86 years old and gave me a business card, which she admitted wasn’t any good since the jewelry store where she worked had closed and the mall torn down.

She may not have ever heard of the term “personal branding,” yet Evelyn is a great example of everything you want to do in terms of personality and engagement to create incredible memorability and loyalty.  I always returned to Evelyn for jewelry purchases when she was working, and if I needed to buy something now, she’d get a call to see if she’d go shopping with me. And since she told us she and her friend eat at the neighborhood Houlihan’s every Sunday night, we’ll even try to schedule our return visits to coincide with seeing Evelyn.

Beyond how-to’s on personal brand strategy, what matters is the positive impact you make on others. Boy, has Evelyn done that! The question for all of us: are we doing as well as Evelyn? – Mike Brown

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Mike Brown

Founder of The Brainzooming Group, and an expert on strategy, creativity, and innovation. Mike is a frequent speaker on innovation, strategic thinking, and social media.

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3 Responses to “Making a Creative Impression with Your Personal Brand”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Just as a personal note, Cyndi and I ran into Evelyn and her friend tonight again at Houlihan’s.

    She checked out Cyndi’s ring, and told me I needed to get her another band for it. I let Eveyln know I’d just bought Cyndi a computer, we’d just gotten a new mattress, etc. She looked at me and said, “That’s bullshit! Get her a band.” We decided we’d do it for our 25th wedding anniversary, but Evelyn told me to hurry up because she’s 87 now! I assured her she’ll probably outlive me!

    • Mike Brown says:

      Okay, so here’s another Evelyn update. Cyndi and I sat down with Evelyn and her friend Sophie tonight (4/1/2012) after our meal. Evelyn passed along her greeting for Passover, but I told her I was Catholic, just as Sophie is. We had a delightful talk for probably 10 minutes, as we re-examined Cyndi’s ring and determined whether she really does need more added to it. Of course, Evelyn insisted she did, but Sophie said it was big enough (to which I offered her one of my favorite lines from “Broadway Danny Rose”: “God bless you darling!”

      At that Evelyn leaned over to whisper to me that Sophie was much more conservative (when it comes to money) than she is. It was clear, Evelyn and Sophie are the Ying and Yang of jewelry purchasing. I was kind of in the dumps before going to Houlihans, but our time with Evelyn and Sophie picked up my spirits incredibly!

  2. Mike Brown says:

    Here’s another Evelyn and Sophie update. I went to Houlihan’s for take-out ribs tonight. Cyndi hasn’t been able to get out much, so we haven’t seen Evelyn and Sophie for quite some time. I suggested the take-out tonight, in part, because I thought maybe I’d run into them. Sure enough, I did. As I walked up to their table, I wish I’d have had a picture of her face. It was a look of complete surprise!

    I knelt down to talk with her, and Evelyn took my hands in hers and gave me three kisses over the course of our conversation. I told the people that Evelyn and Sophie were with that Evelyn had tried to sell me jewelry that was WAY more expensive than I could ever afford. She countered by saying my credit was so good that she couldn’t find a ring big enough to sell me! What a scream. I’m still smiling hours later thinking about what a sweetheart Evelyn is! : )