The word ‘brand’ has been applied to products and companies for decades, but for last 15 or so years, we have clearly seen more personalized applications to the concept of branding. When I think about the practice of personal branding, celebrities are the first that come to mind. Certain names have the power to evoke strong thoughts, images, and emotions: Miley Cyrus (twerking), Nelson Mandela (strength, unity) or Tina Turner ( sexy, survival). Some celeb brands are so powerful, they only need use one name to communicate its strength: Madonna, Prince, Bono, Cher. It doesn’t matter whether they are at the onset, peak, or twilight of a career, celebrities often focus on building a viable brand that they can leverage over their lifetime (or beyond). Paul Newman created a brand that even his descendants can capitalize on.
But these days celebs are not the only people who gain great benefit from building a personal brand. You will find people like speakers, authors, consultants, experts or social media sensations finding ways to leverage their name and image to gain popularity and increase their earnings. Additionally, a strong brand can also serve as a catalyst for launching new careers. Well positioned brands often gain:
- Endorsement or sponsorship deals
- Film or TV Show deals
- National media coverage
- A larger audience or fan base
- Increased revenue opportunities
Now that you have some idea of the benefits in leveraging your personal brand. Let’s take a look at a few ways that you can brand yourself celebrity style.
- Don’t Diversify You Brand Initially – Lots of folks want to create a brand that speaks to ALL their talents. That is more of a long term initiative. You MUST become known for that ONE things first and then allow your credibility to transfer to your other ventures. Think about Michael Jordan, we were endeared to him as an athlete long before those underwear commercials.
- Share Your Authentic Personality – Many career professionals have been taught from the book of “fake it till you make it”. But in recent years consumers have grown tired of feeling duped. With the rising popularity of reality TV, people are leaning more towards embracing the perfectly imperfect. Remember when Oprah took off her make up on national television? It’s moments like that where your audience learns to relate to you as a real person.
- Communicate Consistently With Your Audience – It’s important that your audience hears and sees you often. The old adage “out of site, out of mind” still applies. When you stop communicating with your audience they simply seek connection elsewhere. Think about how many times a week Kim Kardashian posts pictures on Instagram. Connect with your audience as much as they can tolerate.
- Be Relevant – It’s important to communicate information that resonates with your audience. My branding audience will likely have NO interest in my fitness journey because it’s not why they connected to me in the first place. It’s important not to get so caught up in communicating that you bore or offend your loyal followers.
- Have Clear Objectives – I probably should have put this one first, because its the most important point. I see many business owners that don’t have clear goals and objectives when it comes to their brand. They don’t have a specific end game, thus they end up all over the place. Entrepreneurs can easily come up with dozens of amazing ideas that don’t grow their brand. So before you implement anything, ask yourself the question: Does this grow or stunt my brand?
Remember, you don’t have to BE a celebrity to BRAND like one!
Happy Branding Y’all
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Patrice K. Cokley, MBA says:
Great read! Love this.