The Roots and Shoots of Personal Branding

Here’s a simple analogy from This is Marketing by Seth Godin.

Your work is a tree. The roots live in the soil of dreams and desires. Not the dreams and desires of everyone, simply those you seek to serve.

If your work is simply a commodity, a quick response to an obvious demand, then your roots don’t run deep. It’s unlikely that your tree will grow, or even if it does, it’s unlikely to be seen as important, useful, or dominant. It will be crowded out by all similar trees.

As your tree grows, it creates a beacon for the community. The early adopters among the people you seek to serve can engage with the tree, climb it, use it for shade, and eventually, eat the fruits. And they attract others.

If you have planned well, the tree will quickly grow taller, because the sun isn’t being blocked-there are few other trees in the same area. As the tree grows, it not only attracts other people, but its height (as the dominant choice in the neighborhood) blocks out the futile efforts of other, similar trees. The market likes a winner.