We had two Brainzooming articles and great comments last week on personal branding strategy. The subject reminded me of a recent exchange underscoring the memorability a great personal brand can create.

Last month, Cyndi and I were having her second free birthday dinner at Houlihan's (and BTW, although they messed up the first dinner, Houlihan's performed outstanding service recovery, really overcompensating for the servce failures taking place initially). Both nights, the same two women were eating nearby. One looked so familiar, I was sure I knew her.

At the end of the second dinner, my curiosity took over. I approached the table and asked if she were Evelyn Young. Yes, she replied, wondering why I asked. I told her I'd bought several pieces of jewelry from her years before. She asked with a twinkle in her eye if they'd been for my wife or a mistress. I assured her they'd been for my wife, as Cyndi showed her one of the rings, which Evelyn examined, commenting on its beauty.

She then asked if she made me spend more money than I'd wanted. I told her she had; Evelyn smiled and noted I had looked familiar to her as well. A variety of pleasantries and stories ensured, including one about getting a husband planning to spend a total of $100 on a 25th anniversary chain to spend $100 PER YEAR (or $2500) instead.

Evelyn reminded us that she is now 86 years old and gave me a business card, which she admitted wasn't any good since the jewelry store where she worked had closed and the mall torn down.

She may not have ever heard of the term "personal branding," yet Evelyn is a great example of everything you want to do in terms of personality and engagement to create incredible memorability and loyalty.  I always returned to Evelyn for jewelry purchases when she was working, and if I needed to buy something now, she'd get a call to see if she'd go shopping with me. And since she told us she and her friend eat at the neighborhood Houlihan's every Sunday night, we'll even try to schedule our return visits to coincide with seeing Evelyn.

Beyond how-to's on personal brand strategy, what matters is the positive impact you make on others. Boy, has Evelyn done that! The question for all of us: are we doing as well as Evelyn? - Mike Brown