For all who think there’s a difference between their personal and professional lives, brand strategist Tom Asacker wants them to find the parallels. Building a brand is just like raising a child, said he. “Our natural instinct, however, is to shelter our brands, like our children, from the knocks and bumps that come in life. We want to keep our arms around them, keep them safe and under our control.” But as parents quickly find out that raising a child includes letting them trip, fall and learn the hard lessons. Similarly with a brand, we should remember, “teach your brand to be compassionate, authentic, appreciative and respectful. But also make it stretch and try new things. Force it to stay vibrant and alive, to learn by doing.” However, in the process of making your brand “stretch and try new things,” it’s also important to stay true to the core of the brand’s identity. Branding is not so much about building an image as it is about staying true to a set of core beliefs about the brand. Take for example the La Colombe coffee brand. Behind this brand is a group of people with strong social consciousness beliefs. They are fixated on such values as fair trading, building long term relationships with coffee farmers, and being generally “earth conscious.” They think of their brand as an extension of their collective personality. But they also work hard to bring a quality product to the marketplace and especially to the people who connect with their earth conscious way of thinking. So perhaps if we go back to the analogy of raising a brand and raising a child, they could be the equivalent of sixties era flower-child parents.