Tuesday, February 12

The Grammy Awards 2013 - Personal Brands

Maybe it's because I'm putting the finishing touches on my last book, which is all about personal branding, I'm not sure.  But I couldn't help but think about personal brands the entire time I was watching The Grammy Awards the other night.

Every one of these musical acts is a brand, made up of a series of career decisions that create an emotional connection with their audience.  There's nothing more emotional than music, and there's nothing more personally "branded" than a musician.

Most of them are incredibly consistent in their activity ... a series of products and appearances that form how we think about them.  Form how we "position" them in our minds and as a result we've come to expect certain things from each of them.

Let's break down a few.

Ryan Seacrest.  He's made his career out of talking about music ... either new talent or current pop culture beings, with a few icons thrown in the mix.  He has a way about himself that has become trademark Ryan Seacrest.  Seacrest out.

Kelly Clarkson.  Hands down one of the most humble yet stirring performances of the night in tribute to two artists up for a Lifetime Achievement award.  Coming straight off her success at the Inauguration, this girl is a brand and she is living it.  It's fun to watch her go from Idol discovery to triumphant success to the world stage to love in her personal life.  It's like watching a brand grow up and evolve.

Justin Timberlake.  He certainly refreshed his brand that night, doing nothing that many others haven't done before him but with his own flash of style.  Desperado, he's a hard one but he's got his reasons.

Beyonce.  If ever there was a brand made for the industry, it's Beyonce.  Like many brands, she has had her critics but she always seems to come out Beyonce.  Not every choice has been a brand building one, but isn't that true of most?

J. Lo.  As Joan Rivers would say, "bitch stole my look" from with the Jolie leg.  Interesting how that has been a brand trademark of Angelina's brand and J.Lo just couldn't seem to pull if off. A brand first for her.

Fun.  Who knew?  We got a glimpse of a "new" brand that evidently isn't so new.  We don't really know much of this brand, partly because I think the members keep themselves under the radar, which I guess in the music industry is a brand strategy in and of itself.

Rihanna.  Not sure.  Not sure about that tattoo, but I just even that is consistent.

So what are we to learn from this?  We as people are indeed brands, and we need to manage our careers and our behaviors as such.  The choices we make end up "positioning" us in the minds of others and directly determine how they perceive us.  We should act consciously toward continually building our brand in the exact manner that we choose, based on the goals we want out of life.  I could write a book on it.

Truly ... what's your experience?  Jim.

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

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