Tuesday, February 26

Celebrity Personal Brands

Celebrities are by far the best examples of personal branding ... and how to market yourself.  I guess it's because who they are as people and who they are as businesses are one in the same, so they each end up being a brand like any other you'd "buy."  Now that's true of all of us, but it's just much more noticeable with celebrities.  This is never more apparent than at The Academy Awards when the brands are out on the red carpet and on stage.

At these awards shows, we not only see pop culture and trends influence in action, but we also see the culmination of brands at work.  We see the years of personal choices that create these brands, and we see them in full force.  And we evaluate them ... it's a part of the branding process!

Anne Hathaway.  She finally got her trophy, well deserved IMHO for one of the best performances of all time in Les Mis.  The award is the culmination of years of script choices, personal appearances, interviews,  and special events.  We've come to expect certain things from Anne Hathaway, including how she chooses her fashion, which was off brand the other night if you ask me.  We have also come to expect a bit of a mess of an acceptance speech, which is also now her "brand."

Jennifer Hudson.  Her brand is the show stopper but she has also become about weight loss and overcoming tragedy.  Good for her.  I love her brand.

George Clooney.  An old Hollywood throw-back come Growing Pains.  Man has this brand evolved over time ... but we now know who he is, we know the choices he is likely to make, and we know how he is likely to behave.  He's George Clooney.

Can we talk about fashion?  It's our personal brand packaging from my perspective, and it should be chosen wisely.  How you carry yourself and what you wear over time is a clear indication of your brand.  Think about how much we look forward to the fashions of Halle Barry and Nicole Kidman yet we also know what we are going to get from Meryl Streep.  But hey, she's Meryl Streep, most decorated actress of all time.

And guys ... what's up with the facial hair?  As I mentioned yesterday, I'm all for a little stubble now and again as a select fashion choice on occasion.  But these full on beards, they just don't work.  Sends the wrong brand message.  George Clooney and Ben Affleck just shouldn't be making this kind of a brand choice.  Let's hope it's just a fad and the blade comes back in style.  Bring back the blade.

The point here?  Personal branding comes from a series of personal choices through life ... including how you package yourself.  Choose wisely, because it drives what you end up getting out of life, personally and professionally.

So I ask ... what's your experience?  Jim.

Jim Joseph
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series
Marketing Professor, NYU

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