This post was originally featured on FastCompany.com. The original blog, written by Nick Nanton and JW Dicks can be found here:Chris Christie, Honey Boo Boo, And The Top 10 Celebrity Branding Success Stories Of 2012
As another year comes to a close, everyone is posting all kinds of 2012 Top Ten Lists. Don’t believe us? Well, if you happen to have a few minutes during the holiday rush, here are55 of them, courtesy of Time magazine.
Frankly, we can’t resist the temptation to offer one of our own–focusing on our own specialty, of course. Without further ado, here is our 2012 Top Ten List Celebrity Branding Success Stories, celebrating those notables who best exemplified a specific and crucial facet of building a successfulpersonal brand.
There’s no question that TLC reality superstar Honey Boo Boo captured the nation’s heart this year–and we think that’s because this little girl and her family exemplified the personal branding quality ofauthenticity–if not the qualities of good nutrition (check outtheir “sketti” recipeand then contemplate their cholesterol counts!). Honey and her homies were always themselves, no matter what the situation–and that includes their pet pig, Glitzy! It wasn’t for everybody, but itwasfor a huge number of TV viewers.
Many conservatives lost their mind when New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was showngiving some love to President Obamaa week before the Presidential election, but actually, Christie was giving himself aco-brandingadvantage.Co-brandingis when two unlikely brands combine forces (think ofJames Bond and Heinekenteaming up inSkyfall) to broaden their bases and gain more exposure. In Christie’s case, his bipartisan effort with Obama after Hurricane Sandy sparked a 19-point rise in his approval rating,bringing it to record-breaking heights.
Speaking of James Bond, no matter what he’s drinking these days, 007 has proven himself to be one celebrity brand that never quits. As a matter of fact, his latest screen adventure ishis most popular ever, and that’s quite an accomplishment after a half century of movie heroics. Why is he still so successful? Because the producers haven’t been afraid to move him forward with some solidbrand evolution.The film successfully captures 2012 sensibilities, even though Bond originated during The Cold War in the 1950s. When a brand stands still, it gets left in the past. When a brand stays contemporary, it can continue to connect.
Singer Lana Del Rey first burst onto the scene in 2011 as a YouTube sensation, and heruniquemusical style caused people to either love her orhate her. She appearedvisibly uncomfortableduring a musical performance on NBC’sSaturday Night Livelast year, which made more music aficionados question her professionalism and authenticity. However, she didn’t let any of this backlash stop her–and her new albumhas actually gotten her some respect. By showingintegritywhen it came to her core brand, she overcame the hate and established herself as a comer.
Last month, Obama won a bigger victory than expected–many attributed the high turnout in his favor to his campaign’s savvy use ofsocial media.45% of registered voters saidthey were motivated to vote by Facebook, Twitter and the like, indicating the increased importance of using these social sites to promote any celebrity brand.
Gabby Douglas became a superstar at the London Summer Olympics with herrecord-breaking gymnastic feats. Sometimes a celebrity brand is sparked simply by an incredible display ofhigh performance; whether you break world records or sales records, your audience is bound to take notice.
This Marvel-ous superhero movie became thebiggest hit of 2012, but that success was actually several years in the making. TheIron Man,Hulk,Captain America, andThormovies first introduced the team members in their own hit films, plus each teased the forthcoming Avengers film with appearances by group ringleader Nick Fury (played by Samuel L. Jackson). This is a shining example of how a solidbrand strategycan multiply brand success.
In early March, if you were even a casual user of social media, you couldn’t get away from the viral videoKony 2012, as millions of people around the globe were sharing it. A poll suggested that overhalfof American young adults had heard of the videowithin days of its release. The video, which promoted the cause of the San Diego-based organizationInvisible Children, demonstrated just whateffective storytellingis capable of–which is why we consider itthemost powerful personal branding tool (and which is also why we’re writing a book about it!).
In February of 2012,“Linsanity” hit the Big Apple–when Jeremy Lin, a player who was about to be cut by the New York Knicks, suddenly became the team’s star player, with a series of awesome games in which he made the difference between a win and a loss. When you can successfully engineer that kind of unexpectedshock and awedemonstration, you surprise your competition, delight your intended audience, and instantly create a memorable celebrity brand.
How can a culture that hit its peak more than a thousand years ago grab tons of publicity all year long? Easy: justpredict the end of the world(or not). Yes, if you want to really draw an awesome amount of attention to your celebrity brand, simply make anapocalyptic prediction. There, of course, is only one problem with this approach: Every single doom-and-gloom forecast, so far anyway, has been wrong (and here’sanother Top 10 listto prove it). And let’s face it–even if you do get lucky and hit it right, you’re not really going to have a lot of time to enjoy your newfound fame. Better to stick with the branding ideas in the previous nine entries!
Have a happy and prosperous holiday season–and here’s hoping your personal brand yields some excellent dividends in 2013!