Kate Spade, an American style icon, committed suicide at age 55. Having started a company just 25 years ago and sold it two times over for millions even billions of dollars, what would propel someone to want to commit suicide with all those achievements and successes?
What’s in a name? A name is who we are. It’s how we identify ourselves. One would suppose that if our name was identified with fame and highly well known, it could give one a stronger sense of identity. But as we age overtime is that really what happens?
What is identity? Personal identity is the concept of how you’ve developed yourself over a period of time. Your identity may have been shaped by your environment, experiences, and belief system. Identity is what shapes cultures and it is how we can grow to understand individuals in the manner in which they think.
The Brand Identity
What is brand identity? Brand identity is typically a company image of how you present yourself to your customers or target audience. It builds a relationship between you and your customers and determines how your brand will be perceived.
So what happens when your name, your identity, and your brand identity become one? This is commonly a problem, for lack of a better word, among individuals who are self-employed, aka. Solopreneurs.
In the case of Kate Spade, her name is associated to a large brand. It goes beyond her own identity and takes the form of a brand identity. But when your name is associated with the brand identity of a company do you take on the pressures of that brand identity? It has been said by her sister in the press that Kate Spade may have suffered from being bipolar. Perhaps it developed through the pressures of running a multimillion dollar company. But it’s also been said that the founders were not associated with brand for the last 10 years now. Therefore, if your name is associated with a brand identity that is no longer closely aligned to you, could that lead into a breakdown in your own identity?
All businesses go through ebbs and flows, ups and downs. The longer you been in business, the more you see. Businesses seem to run in seven-year cycles. The first seven years of building something is when you can become your own success story. The next seven years is when you need to maintain, sustain, and hopefully grow the brand. But during that time there are new entrances, competition, and so then how do you stay relevant?
Sometimes when entrepreneurs are so closely aligned to their own brand, when the brand goes through so many changes in the manner in which business gets done, if the entrepreneur is not flexible to changes and remains forward thinking and open minded, these changes can lead to loss of identity, loss of passion, loss of enthusiasm and life purpose. At that point in time the entrepreneur needs to reinvent themselves or it could lead to depression.
Only people really close to Kate Spade would know if these things actually happened to her but these things happen to many entrepreneurs and business owners. So what’s the best way to keep moving forward and take your business to the next level?
There’s something to be said about having experience. However, if you have experience but you’re stuck in your old ways of conducting business, you may not be forward thinking. It’s when you mix new fresh ideas with your experience, that may include some failures, that you are able to thrive in business once again.
Tips for Moving Forward
1) Always seek out further knowledge.
2) Socialize with like-minded people and compare notes.
3) Get a mentor.
4) Work on your own self-development.
When we work on ourselves, we work and strengthen our own self-image. For those whose identities are so closely aligned to their businesses, it’s important to develop that stronger sense of self as your business matures. There are always going to be new people on the rise, so how do you keep yourself relevant in this era of digital marketing? Stay current with technology; combine it with your experience; and you’ll stay at the top!