Celebrity Brand vs. Your Brand

Entrepreneurs should always consider unique ways to stand out from the crowd when creating their business. There are important questions that need to be asked: What makes your brand unique? Is it the name? The logo or product? The tagline?

Facebook, Twitter and Instagram aren’t just your normal marketing channels anymore. They are a platform to encourage engagement with the world. Every social media outlet offers unique ways to get your message, voice or persona across. The most dynamic social media presence for celebrities is connecting and conversing with their most important stakeholders, their fans. And that is the same for anyone, whether it’s fans or clients for your business. Connecting with them and giving them something they can relate to is the most crucial part of marketing and branding. People want to be able to have a connection with a brand, whether it’s emotional or for aesthetic reasons. The hardest part about creating a brand is knowing what people want and what you can do to make the audience feel connected to you and your business.

Oftentimes, people will only do business with brands they are familiar with. A classic example is Nike. They can charge whatever they want for their sneakers, because they know people will pay it. They aren’t necessarily the best sneakers out there, but Nike has built such a strong brand that it really doesn’t matter. If your branding is consistent and easy to recognize, it will help people feel more at ease when they are purchasing your products or services and trusting you with their money.

The Big Brands

Oprah Winfrey used to insist that she was not a brand, until she realized what a brand actually was.  She shifted her views after an eye-opening interaction with a woman at a grocery store who stopped Winfrey and told her that watching her show had convinced her to stop hitting her child. The first time the woman listened to one of Winfrey’s talks on the negatives of physical punishment, she wondered how Oprah could know anything on the subject as she did not have any kids of her own. What did she know about disciplining children? But after hearing Winfrey over and over, she decided to put it to the test, and soon, the woman stopped beating her child for good. She told Winfrey, “You were consistent with what you were telling us.” Hearing that, the concept of branding clicked for Winfrey, “that to me is the definition of what a brand is; that’s when I shifted.” For Winfrey, being a brand is not only about believing in yourself and the message you are trying to portray, but it is also about consistency. Winfrey’s story is a great example of how branding can change people’s views on you and your business.

Branding is not always positive, though. Lindsay Lohan is a prime example. Everyone knows her, not necessarily for her movies unfortunately, but because she has become one of the biggest Hollywood failures. She has been arrested multiple times, appeared in court, gone down a drug road and so on. Her brand is completely ruined, and coming back from a ruined brand is one the hardest things you can do. Once your brand is gone, there isn’t much left to help you succeed in business. Companies pay celebrities for endorsements to get exposure. They know that people will more likely pay attention and buy products or services when a famous person is telling them to. But that only works with celebrities who have a positive and a reputable brand. No company will use Lindsay Lohan to help them advertise anything, but if they used someone like Michelle Obama, people would likely feel more comfortable to trust in that company. The benefits of using a celebrity for advertising is to build brand equity. Not only movie stars and the former first lady of the USA do endorsements though, business owners and entrepreneurs can also. If your brand is big enough and established, other companies will use you to endorse them, and that in return gets you incredible exposure for your own business.

Insta-Famous Brands
There are many people who have become famous through Instagram. The term “insta model” gets thrown around a lot in today’s society. These are just normal people, living normal lives who have found a certain voice, been consistent with their voice, image and message, and have gained a huge following subsequently building a brand in the process. Some of these people have now even become brand ambassadors for huge companies around the world and get paid to advertise products on their pages to their millions of followers. It’s not only “insta models” who have done this; people have created pages for their animals, Norman the Pomsky is a puppy with 90k followers on Instagram…yes you read that right, a dog with 90k followers. The owner of this dog, Rachel Albergo, created the page and started out by posting cute pictures of her puppy. People enjoyed these pictures and she slowly built a following. Eventually it got to a stage where the page was growing so much that Albergo needed help building it further. Just like Albergo, you can only take your brand so far on your own. You’ll eventually need the extra help to boost you ahead of your competition.

On the topic of being Instagram famous, Dan Bilzerian is a controversial figure. Google describes him as a professional poker player, actor and internet social media personality, but perhaps Bilzerian is mostly known as one of the most popular male Instagram celebrities. He is infamous for posting pictures with women in bikinis on his private yachts and jets, his cute little dog and all of his guns and cars. He is arrogant, but that’s what people like about him. Usually that isn’t something people would relate to, but it works for him and is what has built his brand to what it is today. He is an Instagram legend, and he has a lifestyle envied by everyone…a prime example of how creating a brand can benefit you in the future.

The Power of  a Brand

Take Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts. This five-star hotel sold to Bill Gates and Prince Al-Waleed bin Talal for $3.8 billion. What exactly did they buy? The Staff? The Location? The property? No, they bought the brand. They bought the company at such a high price because of the strong brand association and recognition. Tata Motors of India bought Jaguar and Range Rover from Ford. Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley helped Ford sell the brands to Tata for $2.56 billion, although the brands were worth more than all other aspects combined.

The dollar is a world brand. All the tools of marketing and brand building have been used to create its value. On the front of the bill, you will find the owner of the brand: The Federal Reserve. There is a simple user’s guide: “This note is legal tender for all debts public and private.” And the owner has added the emotional message we all know: “In God We Trust”. The dollar is a world brand; there is no denying that. At the end of the day, it is just a piece of paper, but branding has made it worth something much more.

There are a lot of people out there who don’t think they need branding. If you want to succeed in whatever field your business is in, you have to be one step ahead of your competition at all times, otherwise they will run you over. Getting your brand well known is a lot harder than most people think. It takes a lot of time and effort, and in most cases, help. Many businesses and entrepreneurs do not know how to brand themselves in the correct way, and that is where one of the biggest differences between celebrities and the average person differ. Celebrities have help. They have PR companies that help and do the work for them, so they can sit back and watch their brand grow. That is the beauty of PR, getting professionals who know how to take your brand to the next level. In today’s society and business world, if you don’t have PR, you won’t grow into a global brand. PR companies can get you and your business on to covers of magazines, on radio, on tv and publish press releases about you and your business all around the world. Who doesn’t want their business to be known all around the world? Building your company and reaching media outlets can be the ultimate way to grow your brand and gain new opportunities. Everyone will tell you that hiring a PR company can allow you to reach new heights as a brand and attain marketing without traditional strategies.  No one can do that on their own. The biggest entrepreneurs in history have all hired or had their own PR companies and created a brand that will stick with them forever. So the biggest question you have to ask yourself is – Are you building yourself a business or are you building yourself a brand?