• About Tom Dougherty

    Tom Dougherty CEO, Stealing Share

    Tom Dougherty is the President and CEO of Stealing Share, Inc., and has helped national and global brands such as Lexus, IKEA and Tide steal market share over his 25-year career.

    An often-quoted source on business and brands, he has been featured recently by the New York Times and CNN, discussing topics ranging from television to Apple to airlines.

    Tom also regularly speaks at conferences as a keynote and break-out speaker. To find out more on inviting him to your speaking engagement and view a video of him speaking, click here.

    You can also reach him via email attomd@stealingshare.com.

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Halloween and your personal brand

In just a couple of days, the annual begging for candy at other people’s houses event, also known as Halloween will commence and, yes, your personal brand will be on full display. Where I live, people actually drive to our neighborhood, park their cars on the sides of the street and parade their kids – uncostumed high schoolers and all – up and down the street, stopping at each and every house to beg for candy.

I say beg, but unfortunately it seems more of a demand. Don’t get me wrong. I really like to see the littlest ones, who may be trick-or-treating for the first time, cautiously walk up to the door and shyly, inaudibly say “Trick or Treat,” then quickly turn away in their princess, firefighter, bumblebee or Dracula costume, parents in tow mouthing “Thank you” as they chase after the child.

Halloween
What Halloween tells us about ourselves.

As a person who studies human behavior, I also am quite amused at what you can learn about people by observing them on Halloween and what it says about their personal brands. One of the main cruxes in brand development is the importance of understanding a prospect’s beliefs and how those beliefs govern all of the decisions that prospect makes. The funny thing about Halloween is that, to the trained eye, many of those beliefs are wide out in the open.

What we see on Halloween.

Look at what people give out as an example. Whether you look at the brand and size of candy or the religiously themed note or the healthy granola or whatever it is a house gives out, the candy itself can give you real clues about the beliefs that drive all of the decisions those people make in life. Are they frugal? Are they religious? Or do they want to be seen as being religious? Do they believe that healthy choices are the only ones?

Also, unlike any other holiday (if I can call it that), strangers get a quick snapshot into the inner lives of their neighbors by getting to briefly peer into their homes. Is the house neatly decorated, is it messy? Are there children’s art visible? Does your neighbor believe that what others think about them matters? Do they believe they don’t have enough hours in the day?

And watch how parents interact with their children. Do the parents carry a flashlight or blinking light? Do they walk up to the door with their children or wait by the curb? Do they insist on having their child say thank you? Do they themselves say thank you? Are they too dressed up?

What is so interesting to me about Halloween is that there are very few instances where so many of a person’s beliefs, their personal brands, are on display – and most people seem completely oblivious to it.

What we all do on Halloween is show our brand face, sometimes literally. And at the end of the day, the best brands recognize this. Like Halloween, brand should be a reflection of who that person is. And when it is, it becomes a visible part of a brand face. Although it sounds funny, a user of a highly resonate and emotional brand becomes oblivious to it in much of the same way they do walking down the street at Halloween. It is just who they are.

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