Product vs. Brand: An Anecdotal Résumé for a Brand Revolutionary

For a rote employment history please view my résumé on LinkedIn. For an anecdotal résumé, please enjoy this post.

Here are some of my happiest branding memories from the days of yore.

The Product: Homemade Cookies

The Work: Sold a big plate of homemade cookies for 50 cents apiece door-to-door at age 6. Made six dollars, paid my sweat shop worker (Mom) a dime.

The Brand: Big Brown Eyes

The Product: Greeting Cards and Stationery

The Work: Sold greeting cards, gifts and stationery for Olympia Sales Club (R.I.P.) during my pre-teens. Again with the door-to-door.


The Brand: Gumption. Strangers were impressed by a young person selling things to them.

The Product: Money

The Work: Put in my hard time as a telephone fundraiser for powerfully peppy librul organizations. Learned how to sell an idea to a stranger for $270 in under 60 seconds.

The Brand: Solidarity

The Product: Art

The Work: Post-college years: Assembled a collective of like-minded (and un-like-minded) artists, musicians, writers and misfits to throw shows and sells zines. (What’s a zine?) Afunctionul, as the group was called, was more than just about the art. It was about the movement. It was about the method. It was about the activity itself – especially the marketing.

The Brand:Pure Activity

The Product: Ad Space

The Work: While at tiny alternative weekly newspaper Pulse of the Twin Cities (now gone the way of Belushi and Cobain, R.I.P.), co-opted behemoth rival City Pages’ Minnesota Music Directory and used it to market ad space to musicians. City Pages sales director threatened “legal action” for having “filched” their public list but ended up offering me a job instead.

The Brand: Big brass balls of steel and impudence.

The Product: Ad Space

The Work: I built a classified advertising section for Pulse from the ground up. Kept it humorous but classy.

The Brand:

The Product: Street Promotion

The Work: Passed out promotional flyers on the streets of Manhattan. The challenge: Holding a piece of paper in front of a New Yorker is like saying “Here, you throw this away.” Solution: target one person and start talking to them a half a block before they reach your position, then lunge with the flyer as if jousting. Score.

The Brand: Pure golden sunshine energy charged in the palm of my hand and released.

All Grown Up Now…

But I will never forget those formative years. I never knew I was learning the difference between products and brands.

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