Personal brands, Co-brands and Corporate brands
In a select number of industries, personal brands far outweigh the corporate brand they represent.
Let me explain. If I ask you who Eric Schmidt is, you probably wouldn’t know who I am speaking of, nor would I expect you to. But if I ask you if you ever heard of Google, you would laugh at me. The interesting thing here is that Eric Schmidt happens to be the Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Google. See his details here. http://tinyurl.com/y75jkg To market Google using the personal brand of Erick Schmidt may not make sense, but that isn’t always the case.
For instance, if I ask you who Tom Hanks is, you immediately know who I am speaking of. How about what film studio Tom Hanks works with most often, you wouldn’t know and it probably wouldn’t matter to you. We all seek forms of entertainment for a variety of reasons, one of them happens to be the personal brand factor and if you like Tom Hanks you might be more interested in a movie that he is in.
One of the most successful industries that have used personal brands is professional sports. Sports figure?s personal brands have been used to a great degree in the marketing of what normally would be a larger corporate brand. Just take a look at the co-branding with athletes that Nike does. Remember the days of Michael Jordan and Nike? You may not love golf, but you may love watching Tiger Woods and Nike knows this.
The entertainment industry has an incredible opportunity to utilize influential personal brands when launching a film or TV show into the market and they are not fully embracing this form of media. Generally speaking, (the industry) sends an actor or actress onto the talk-show circuit, sends out press releases to the trades, produces advertising campaigns, and most of the time it all works quite well.
Yet, traditional media costs can be extremely expensive and often entertainment entities spend tens of millions of dollars to tease a project they are working on prior to it?s release. They do this so that when they open a film or when a new fall TV show begins, they?re hopeful to have a built in audience already interested in their content. But the media landscape is evolving and the entertainment industry should too. Often for film and TV, new media is done as an add-on, an after-thought or sometimes forgotten all together.
If Tom Hanks and Stephen Spielberg are working on a project together and they both Tweet about their experiences during the shooting of the project, wouldn’t there be a built in audience for the film project? Of course there would be. What if the Cohen brothers had some dialogue with their fan base prior to the launch of a new film? How about Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David sharing insights of a new sit-com they are working on? Can’t you see Drew Barrymore garnering a following for an upcoming film… she is authentic and so is new media. Do you see where I am going here?
When a personal brand can speak on behalf of the business brand and have a wide-reaching marketing impact, it is common sense to utilize these opportunities. Unfortunately, it seems that the
of damaging a specific entertainment brand has outweighed the incredible upside that could be gained from personal brand participation.
When considering the down-side of co-branding one might think about the worst case scenario. Not just the wrong message being broadcast and damaging a brand’s image but perhaps more serious liability issues could arise. So I dug a little deeper, and have done a bit of research in the healthcare sector, where I thought liability might be an issue, and it is. But those that appear to be embracing the co-brand concept are far out in front of the rest and some co-branding is being utilized for the benefit of all involved. See http://sharing.mayoclinic.org/
With a strategic plan in place prior to a project initiation, the entertainment content creators could (and should) determine who best represents that particular project as ambassadors and have them communicate on behalf of that project.
Let’s look at some of the individual brands at the top of the Twitterverse. Ashton Kutcher, Ellen DeGeneres, Britney Spears, Oprah Wingrey, John Mayer and Ryan Seacrest are all in the top 10 based on their number of followers. Interesting that they are all in some form of entertainment.
With nearly 3 million followers, Ashton Kutcher has a powerful marketing tool available to him, it is social media marketing. By simply communicating to his social media audience, he and the project he represents have a HUGE potential influence factor on the overall marketing of the creative content being delivered. Once again it should be stressed all of this can not be done casually or in a vacuum but rather done so in a proper tone, coordinating with a smart campaign, with long-term strategic goals.
Prior to working in film and television advertising, I worked for the Warner Music group launching new music acts in to the market. Let’s be clear, I don’t want to over-simplify things, but with some careful planning and coordinated efforts, John Mayer could actually announce the release of a new album from his mobile device, and that scares a lot of people! I am not saying to abandon any of the methods that are proven, on the contrary. Rather I suggest that the entertainment industry consider the power of new media in the entertainment space and consider it in the early strategy planning stages of a campaign.
The term co-branding is truly taking on a new meaning these days. In fact, I am currently beta-testing Co-Tweet (which is a platform that helps companies reach and engage customers using Twitter) http://cotweet.com/ This tool and others allow me to test out the ideal situation, where a full 360? marketing platform can be considered including traditional and new media, PR, events, grassroots, public relations, and all other resources to reach out to a target audience.
The influential personal brands out there that coordinate with strategic marketing partners who understand the landscape, will have a greater potential to extend their reach exponentially. I look forward to further discussions and welcome your thoughts.
@johnayers is co-founder of GravityTen, a Los Angeles based Brand Development and Campaign Strategy company with expertise in the entertainment industry and other sectors.
Thanks for insight goes to the following.
Steve Rubel on the power of personal brands.
Fortune 100 ceo’s and the brand
Sports Brand Review
Guy Kawasaki at Alltop
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