Finding your own trademark

Dear branding specialists,

It’d be hard to mistake Suzy Menkes for someone else. Put her in crowded room with a couple of hundred fashion types and she’d stand out like a sore thumb; her perfectly-groomed pompadour bobbing high above legs of ripped jeans and shoulders of Chanel bouclĂ© jackets.

That intricate coiffure is as synonymous with Menkes as cats are with Buzzfeed, and has become her defining trademark much like Nike’s swoosh or Kim Kardashian’s rear end.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the road to success, or rather, the various factors that transition one from A to B. Are those factors entirely based on talent, or is it merely (as someone more cynical than I might say) a case of being in the right time, at the right place? And if we’re giving cynics the time of the day then I shall allow myself to propose this: Could the key to success be swayed by something a little less fortuitous and a little more frivolous?

For all we know, Menkes might not be sitting where she is today (as one of the biggest influencers in the fashion industry) if she hadn’t started styling her hair that way. I’m not trying detract from her obvious talents as a journalist, but what if her trademark styling added a crucial layer to her already complex onion?

I read the other day that the human brain can remember up to 10,000 faces during its lifetime, which is a lot of competition in order for one to stand out. But maybe in an industry that is over-saturated, over-populated and overly creative, the key to standing out from the crowd isn’t about reinventing the wheel, but staying the same.

So how does one go about finding their own unique trademark? Menkes’ was an organic process – she started pinning her hair back to get it out of her face while she was putting pen to paper – but I don’t think that’s an essential part of the branding process. It’s about finding something – whether that’s a hairstyle, a look, or highlighting one of your defining features, and sticking with it.




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