I was born in New York City, lived in Forrest Hills, Queens until I was 9 and then my Dad moved our family to Miami Beach, where I grew up and consider my home town.

I have always felt a kinship with NYC because it is the hallowed ground of my birth and always will be. I had not been back for 25 years, but when my Mom passed in 2002, I felt a need to go back and reconnect. I did that in 2008 and again last week.

My current consulting business focuses on Career and Business Branding. I write about , educate and consult about brand and branding  for professionals and small business. On my flight home, I was reflecting on what an amazing city NYC is and what a great time I had in it. Most importantly, there is no better example than NYC of what an integrated brand is and should be.

What other entity can you think of that is so clearly branded than New York City?

It hit me over the head this past visit like a 4×8! From Greenwich Village, Central Park, Ellis Island, Katz Deli and China Town to SoHo, Wall Street and Broadway, everything perfectly represents exactly what New York City is and has been from the beginning. NYC is a melting pot of diverse and rich ethnicities, cultures, industries, and people. Everyone and everything has their place and space and meshes perfectly together. Manhattan has really NOT changed since immigrants started coming over in 1890! It’s loud, proud, playful, fun, and leaves an impression on people every time they visit. It does for me. New Yorker’s are the most resilience, fearless, friendly and strong people in the world.

I wondered though, how did it become known as “The Big Apple”?

According to The Society for NYC History, “Various accounts have traced the “Big Apple” expression to Depression-Era sidewalk  apple vendors, a Harlem night club and a popular 1930′s dance called the ‘Big Apple’. It was the jazz musicians of the 1930s and ‘40s who put the phrase into more or less general circulation. If a jazzman circa 1940 told you he had a gig in the “Big Apple,” you knew he had an engagement to play in the most coveted venue of all, Manhattan, where the audience was the biggest, hippest, and most appreciative in the country.”

I’ve written several articles focused on brand and branding including “3 Things That Stand Out Brands Have in Common”, but it just all came together for me about NYC  on this visit.

Here’s what we can learn about branding from NYC.

  • Have a defined, clear value statement and promise of who you are, what you do and whom you serve.
  • Differentiate yourself from the competition and be exactly who you are.
  • Build your lineage, legacy and leadership by being consistent, authentic and telling your story.
  • Reinvent and redefine yourself as things change, but be true to your core values.
  • Don’t be afraid to fail, fall, show your vulnerability and celebrate perseverance and hope.

If you want to get clearer on how to be authentic, visit NYC.

New York City is crowded, noisy, crazy, rich, bold, brave, innovative and consistent. It knows exactly who it is, how to differentiate itself and how to tell its story. It delivers its history, culture, trends and experiences based on being exactly what it is.

NYC is the BIGGEST, BADDEST brand of them all to me and always will be! What’s yours?


Deborah Shane is an author, entrepreneur, radio host and expert. She is the heart and soul  of her business education and professional development company, Train with Shane and is in her third year of hosting a weekly business radio show on blogtalkradio.com. She writes for several national business, career and marketing blogs, and websites including smallbiztrends.com, careerealism.com, Internationalbusinesstimes.com, Smartbrief.com and blogher.com Her new book Career Transition-make the shift-the 5 steps to successful career reinvention is available now on amazon.com. Connect with her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Blogtalkradio @Deborah Shane, or visit www.deborahshane.com.