I was being interviewed on Inc. 500 CEO, Chris Hurn’s Small Business Success Strategies series, last week and he asked a question that I answer all too frequently in person, but I’m sure many of you have never heard my answer.
What he essentially asked me is, “How is Celebrity Branding® different from personality branding, and the long-standing concept of a personality driven business?”
While I can’t summarize everything that Celebrity Branding® includes in one short article, let me tell you one of the main differences. The main difference is in the magnitude of focus and commitment you give to your positioning. You can have personality in any brand. But Celebrity Branding® is taking your personality and making you the focus, not the back-story for your product or service. Once you make that switch, you develop a system of marketing that is centered on you as the celebrity expert, which separates you from your competition. No longer is your product or service a commodity that anyone can supply. To get what you are now offering, the client or customer must utilize you and your business.
Let me give you an example to illustrate the difference.
Let’s assume we’ve got two different financial planners that are in the same market. It doesn’t matter whether their customer base is local or national, what matters is that they compete for the same customers.
Financial Planner 1 has his photo on his business card, has ads featuring his image in several publications that his target audience reads, and his website also has his picture on it. This financial planner understands that “people buy people,” so he has put his picture on his materials so that people can identify who he is. This is personality branding.
Financial Planner 2 has some or all of the things that financial planner 1 has. These things are a great start, but she also realizes that the true value of Celebrity Branding® is to create devoted fans out of her prospects and clients. And she realizes that while having her photo on her marketing materials is a great start, ultimately she must connect with her audience in order to turn them into fans. She has to let her audience know who she is (and include some details about her “real” life outside of work, when appropriate), what her expertise is, why she’s an expert, that she’s constantly at the forefront of her industry, and just how she can help her prospects and clients. You can’t get any of this across with a photo alone! You’ve got to take the time to develop methods to communicate with your audience.
If you want to create true Celebrity Expert status, you’ve got to show your audience why they should listen to you. You’ve got to display your expertise to them and create a personal relationship in order for them to develop an affinity for you and what you do.
The difference is huge between the value of these two financial planners to their audiences. If you want to develop Celebrity Status, you’ve got to create a system for communicating with your clients and prospects. Clients should obviously get more of your time than prospects should, but the key here is to develop some methods of communicating with your entire audience that you can replicate through the use of systems.
Marketing systems for Celebrity Branding® involve multiple facets of “touch points” with your customers. Utilizing an email system that allows you to write one message and send it out in a manner that makes it look personalized to your list, instead of a generic blast, developing an ezine which contains specific content rich information about you and your business, physical newsletters that allow people to hold and feel your business in their hand, or a blog that allows you to keep in constant contact with your audience via multiple forms of social networking and social media are all examples of new ways to reach your client and create the relationship that both bonds and builds. It is this level of commitment and focus that allows you to take your brand to another level beyond even your closest competitor.
Ultimately it doesn’t matter what you include in your marketing system, the key is that you actually have a marketing system for building a relationship with your fan base. Additionally, the system should incorporate a method, or methods, to continually drive the relationship forward, whether you have the time to literally speak with every person or not. This is what we mean by Celebrity Branding®, and you can see that it is much more than people realize — which is why it is so powerful. Take a look at your current system for prospecting and follow up communication with customers and see how you can better optimize your system to create a Celebrity Brand, rather than just a personality driven business. As always, if we can help, you know where to find us.