The Naked Cowboy and Personal Branding

Positive personal impact is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to create positive personal impact you need to do three things: 1) build and nurture your personal brand; 2) dress for success; and 3) know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.

I’ve been meaning to write about a guy who has one of the most unique personal brands I’ve ever seen.  He’s Robert Burck, better known to people who live in New York and to those who visit Times Square as the “Naked Cowboy.”  He’s a street performer.

If you’ve been to New York and Times Square, you’ve probably seen him.  He’s hard to miss.  He strums a guitar.  He wears a cowboy hat and boots – and a pair of tight briefs with the words “Naked Cowboy” on his butt – that’s it.

Have you seen this guy?  What do you think?  Have you had your picture taken with him?  Please leave a comment sharing your Naked Cowboy experience.

You can see a video of the Naked Cowboy in action by going to

He makes about $350 an hour charging tourists to have their picture taken with him.  He also licenses merchandise; things like T- shirts, hats, pins, buttons, protein shakes and bars.  He does private appearances at parties.

Robert knows that he has a strong brand, and he is willing to do whatever it takes to protect it.  He is suing the Mars Corporation for trademark infringement to protect it.  It seems that Mars displayed an M&M character playing a guitar while wearing white boots, a cowboy hat and white underwear on their video billboard in Times Square.  They didn’t ask Robert’s permission.  The suit is proceeding.  I bet Mars will settle before it goes to trial.

The Naked Cowboy is not bashful either.  I read an interview he gave recently in which he said “I am the greatest brand in the history of earth.”  I’m not sure about that, but he sure is one of the most unique.

Robert has developed his Naked Cowboy brand so well that he is going to have his own reality TV series.  It’s going to be a cross between “American Idol” and “The Apprentice.”  He is going to advise street performers on how to improve their acts.

The common sense point here is clear.  Your personal brand must be uniquely you.  Just like the Naked Cowboy, your brand should help you stand out from the crowd.  Your personal brand should not be bland.  A good personal brand is likely to attract a lot of people and repel some others.  The Naked Cowboy was once arrested for indecency.  The charges were dropped.  Once you’ve developed your brand, remember the three Cs.  Your brand needs to be Clear, Constant and Consistent.

That’s my take on the Naked Cowboy and personal branding.  What’s yours?  Please let us know by leaving a comment.  I appreciate all of your comments.  As always, thanks for reading.


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