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Growing up, I went to a small school that ended in 8th grade. This meant that for high school, I headed to a new school, with strangers who didn’t have any preconceived notions about who I was. Since I was entering an all-girls’ prep school in Tennessee, I decided I'd become the ultimate southern prep. Over the summer, I spent my days shopping for polo shirts, buying Lily Pulitzer skirts, and investing in the latest Patagonia pullovers. When I walked in the first day of high school, I wanted it to be clear: I was a preppy person, who would fit in with and be liked by the preppy girls at my new school.

I was, at the time, doing something that every teenager does at some point: trying to figure out how to be liked by her peers. But, I was also taking a fundamental step that businesses do every day: undergoing the branding process – or figuring out a way to communicate who I was to the people around me in order to shape their perception of me -- and make sure I was able to build an accepting community of friends. In the business world, the branding process allows organizations to clearly communicate who they are and what they do to the world – in hopes that they draw in the right audience of potential customers and convince them to be paying loyal ones.

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