Friday, November 19, 2010

Un-SQL Friday 001: Branding - What's Your Brand?

In answer to MidnightDBA's  challenge for Un-SQL Friday 001, I humbly submit this simple post.

For some of us, Brand is all-important. In the case of corporations, Brand is vital becuase it implies a certain amount of trust and loyalty. Companies work very hard to protect their brands from genericization - how many of us call facial tissues "Kleenex" despite the fact that there are many other manufacturers of little folded rectangles that function as disposable hankies? We also see a vast amount of brand-loyalty - "I only wear <brand-x>* jeans because they are the only ones that fit right" (I happen to disagree - <brand-y>* fits MY figure better).

Certain individuals are also fighting to establish or maintain their "Brand". I'll point you to Brent Ozar, who frequently talks about how he is striving to make and maintain his "brand". I suppose part of that is why people like me keep coming back to his blog. Well, that and the various articles like "Plagarism Week: Finding the Slimy Slimeballs" where his discusses his latest experience with having his content plagarized (for additional fun, browse through his archive of plagarism articles. There will be a quiz later).

Other bloggers I frequently read - they're listed in the sidebar on the right - all have their own "brands" in that each is a blog I turn to for a specific reason be it entertainment, or excellent information on SQL server specifics.

So what is my "Brand"? I'm not sure. I know I'm working on building it. I feel a little like General Mills which has brands for various products. I have a brand for the me who is a costumer that attends various Science Fiction and Anime conventions; for the me who is a family memeber; and another for the me who works as a database professional. Each "me" has her own specialties and few are mixed together.

I first really noticed my "Brand" (for the Costumer) at a Anime & Gaming mini-convention just before Halloween. I'd neglected to bring a costume, having completely forgotten that there was going to be a costume competition. I did, however, bring a bag full of fabric because I was planning to spend the day cutting out some shirts and pants that I'd recently drafted the patterns for. While I was finishing up gluing together the patterns, I noticed they were having a costume competition, and about 10 contestants were left (they'd had about 40 and were moving through the line one at a time). I dumped out the rolls of fabric I brought, pondered a moment, then draped myself a quick Greek-style toga-ish costume. Arming myself with scissors, a spare piece of fabric and my tape measure, I hopped to the back of the line, which by that time had gotten down to 5 contestants (yup, 5 minute assembly there). When it came my turn, I presented myself as "Glitzlandia, Goddess of Costuming". I walked up to one of the judges and attempted to drape the fabric around her amidst laughter and giggling from the audience.

After all that silliness, I was awarded the "Best Use of Materials" prize.

As I picked up my prize, one of the judges commented that although the costume was very creative and looked very nice, it wasn't up to my "usual" standards. I laughed and informed him that not only did I spend merely 5 minutes assembling it, but I hadn't even looked at myself in the mirror and had no idea what it looked like.

So, my "Brand" at Science Fiction Conventions / Anime Conventions is "Costumer who makes really great costumes" (or something like that). Yey. I can live with that one.

I'm still working on building my "Brand" in the SQL server commmunity. I'm not really known yet as the one who knows <cool SQL thing that no one else is expert at>, but someday I will be know that way. Right now, I think the SQL Server Community thinks of me as that DBA who can sew. Maybe that's enough for now, but it certainly isn't helping my salary any.

In case you were wondering, my goats are not branded; yet everyone who lives near me know who they are and who they belong to. Of course, it helps that there aren't all that many goats in my neighborhood besides mine.
*brand names removed just becase this is an illustration and not an actual statement.

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