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  • Are You and Your Significant Other Co-Branded?

    From Hollywood to your life

    Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are two household personal brand names. No one can question that. The press has positioned them together, as they probably should be because they are in a relationship and they are both A-list actors/actresses. They have even had children together. Brad is so popular that every relationship he has is mainstream within seconds. When people think of Jennifer Aniston, they also think of Brad because they were married, despite her new relationship with John Mayer (who blogs).

    Whenever we hear about one, the other is mentioned. Saying this can mean only one thing: they are co-branded. This means, as one personal brand succeeds or fails, the other one is affected in some way. If Brad were to rob a bank or stab someone, it would impact Angelina’s reputation. If Angelina’s lips were to start bleeding (they are huge), then people would wonder how that would affect Brad. It goes back to our previous discussions on how the people around you represent your brand. Surrounding yourself with the wrong people or marrying/dating someone who isn’t a fit or mispresents you is a mistake.

    I know some people that are even referring to Brad and Angelina as “Brangelina.” There is also a blog dedicated to this MEGA co-brand. There are also podcasts and fan pages devoted to this co-brand, which follow their every move.


    Sharing my story

    I had a best friend from kindergarten till the beginning of high school (not my significant other, just a friend) when we went our separate ways. When I was growing up, everyone always asked me how he was and he received the same question. During summer camp, these circumstances came into effect once again, but more as a humorous joke. The counselors would pair us against each other during tennis tryouts for rivalry purposes. It wasn’t just me, others were feeling this. Some were content and others would say “no, no, I’m not with him.” The reality is that the more you attach yourself to another personal brand, the more people see you and them as the same, as counterparts or as “an item.”

    Your next move

    I wonder if I had branched out more when I was younger, if people would have still co-branded me. If all you do is be around the same people, then you are part of a group that will be labeled. The question then becomes; how do you let this affect you? Does it upset you? Do you even care? Your next move should be paying more attention to how people itemize or co-brand you. If you don’t want to be perceived like that, then do something about it. Separate yourself immediately or expand your network. I’m sure neither Brad or Angelina care if they are co-branded. It might even turn them on.

    Ending with a poem

    Return on Affection
    by Georgina Taylor

    Your focus was long term, go live years away
    But love is liquid, it just knows day to day!
    So I learned from mistakes, and my own introspection
    And what I need now is Return On Affection

    I was debits and credits, always in check
    My risk-averse self, my own bottleneck!
    And now I’m left only with an expert projection
    Optimizing my merger for Return On Affection

    And it goes without saying that profits ensue
    We’ll be our own target market, for this brand Me & You
    More than a connection, synergetic perfection
    Business Girl seeks: Return On Affection


    Dan Schawbel is the Managing Partner of Millennial Branding, a Gen Y research and consulting firm. He is the New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules For Career Success (St. Martin’s Press) and the #1 international bestselling book, Me 2.0: 4 Steps to Building Your Future (Kaplan Publishing), which combined have been translated into 15 languages.

    Posted in Dating, Personal Branding
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    4 comments on “Are You and Your Significant Other Co-Branded?
    1. avatar
      Ngangi says:

      I actually left a great job due to ‘co-branding’. In my younger years, I was working at an ad agency in a creative partnership with another young woman who was my polar opposite.

      She was the typical ditzy blonde with no business accumen. Because we were both young women working in a male-dominated department, we were known as ‘the girls’ and I found myself struggling to maintain my reputation as I was often co-branded with her. At the end, I left the job for that reason.

    2. avatar
      Justin Levy says:

      I think co-branding happens often in high school, college, organizations, offices and other similar groups. This can be beneficial when it’s a strong relationship (friendship or dating) and you make a powerful duo, much like how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are seen as a power-couple. But, co-branding can have negative effects if that relationship sours because that person, as an individual, and/or your co-branding is tied to that school, group or office. It can make it difficult to be seen as an individual and can be hard for that individual to re-enter that group setting even if the other person is no longer part of that school, group or office.

      -Justin Levy

    3. avatar

      Dan…sweet post. I like this concept a lot, and recognise the huge power of the Brangeline Brand! We have some power copules here in Australia, and their brand does open doors and influence the masses! I wonder though how much of the Brangelina brand is manufactured? Either way, it is something for couples to think about – my wife and I definitely have a brand that is healthy, happy and wholesome…I just womnder if we are putting these brand qualities to good use? Look out for our TV show!

    4. avatar

      Great article and an interesting and original angle on personal branding. My wife and I have two small nieces (3 and 6). The first thing they do is to ask me for her when we’re not together, and vice versa. The fact that they’re just small kids, who haven’t yet being conditioned by political correctness to ask for somebody out of politeness, shows you how strong the mental association you describe is, even at that early age.

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    1. […] is affected. If Brad were to rob a bank or stab someone, it would impact Angelina’s reputation. Are You and Your Significant Other Co-Branded? « Personal Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel ≈ What is Toluu? Toluu is a free service for sharing the feeds you read and discovering new ones. […]

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    3. […] the other hand, Dan also talks about how to co-brand yourself with your significant other. That way you share your personal brands and don’t really need to be stuck between a relationship […]

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