How can a homemade pizza party and drinks with friends turn into a lesson on branding? Let me tell you a little story…

The other night, I went to an old friend’s house for dinner. Midway between the salad (roasted beets, goat cheese, and field greens, yum!) and the main course, conversation turned to how much we’ve changed in the 20-plus years since we met.

Vainly (and comically) we then each pointed out how we thought our face had aged over the years. Funny thing is that I had never noticed the negative things my friend saw in himself and vice versa.

Other only see us in motionThen he dropped this truth—paraphrased because I didn’t know it would turn into a blog post at the time:

“We see ourselves statically, in mirrors and photos. But others only see us in motion.” (Talk about a perfect tweetable, right?)

On my way home, the bigger lesson hit me: Self-absorption is the enemy of your brand.

The best way to understand your brand is to look at it through your customer’s eyes. Meet them where they are. Walk through the world with them.

Otherwise, you might as well be talking to the mirror.

Have you ever been guilty of navel-gazing and lost sight of the big (brand) picture? I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

p.s. No more cat photos for a while. I promise!