What the Super Bowl Teaches Us About Successful Branding

Did you watch the Super Bowl yesterday?  About 100 million people did.  The game was entertaining and fun to watch.  New Orleans won 31 – 17.  Drew Brees, the Saints quarterback was the Most Valuable Player, and he endeared himself to the country by bringing his little boy – who was wearing noise reduction headphones – on to the field and carrying him around after the game.

I bring up the Super Bowl because you can learn a lot about branding from it.  If you notice in the weeks leading up to the Super Bowl, big box retailers suggest you buy a new, better TV to watch the “big game.”  Super markets and delis promote their party trays for the “big game.”  That’s because the Super Bowl is the crown jewel in the NFL’s brand; so much so that they’ve trademarked it.  If you want to use the words “Super Bowl” in your ads, you have to pay a fee to the NFL.  Coors Light did.  That’s why you saw so many Super Bowl themed Coors Light commercials these past few weeks.  Interestingly, Coors Light didn’t run one ad during the game.  M&Ms paid the royalty fee too.  I loved their ads with the M&M running on the conveyor belt in the super market.

The NFL works hard to protect their Super Bowl brand.  You should work hard to nurture, promote and protect your personal brand too.  Creating positive personal impact is one of the success competencies in my Common Sense Success System.  I discuss it in detail in several of my books: Straight Talk for Success, I Want YOU…To Succeed, Star Power, Your Success GPS and 42 Rules to Jumpstart Your Professional Success.  Developing and nurturing your unique personal brand is the first step in creating positive personal impact.

I’m sure you know who I mean when I say Oprah, Michael, Shaq, Madonna and Bono.  These are people who are powerful brands.  However, personal brands aren’t just for athletes and celebrities.  All successful people create and nurture their own unique personal brand.  Your brand is how others think of you.  It is a combination of a lot of things – what you stand for, how you act, how you dress, your on line presence.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  If you don’t consciously create your brand, others will do it for you.

As you go about creating your personal brand, remember that a good brand will not appeal to everyone.  A brand that appeals to everybody is too vanilla.  You want a Cherry Garcia brand, something that is uniquely you.  A good brand will appeal to a lot of people, but it will also turn off a certain portion of the population.

Take my “Common Sense Guy” brand.  It appeals to a lot of people.  However, some people find “common sense” a little too pedestrian and “guy” a little too colloquial.  That’s OK.  Those folks probably aren’t real interested in what I have to say, and how I say it anyway.

There are two simple and common sense steps for creating a strong personal brand.

  1. Decide how you want people to think of you.
  2. Do whatever it takes to get them to think that way.

Once you choose your brand, stay on brand at all times.  Be consistent and constant.  Do whatever you can to reinforce your brand.  For example, all of my websites have the words “common sense” in them.  I’m sure you’ve noticed that I end every one of my blog posts with a paragraph that begins, “The common sense point here is…”  I avoid lengthy, complicated analyses.  I work hard to simplify the complex and provide simple, easy to implement advice to my coaching clients.  I use humor in my talks – and frequently pepper them with the words – “After all, it’s just common sense, right?” 

I work really hard to consistently and constantly present myself as someone who has common sense answers to everyday career and life success questions.  Later this year I have a book on teams and teamwork coming out.  It’s called Common Sense Ideas for Building a Dream Team.  See what I mean?

William Arruda, my friend and author of Career Distinction says it well…

“Be on brand in all that you do.  People with a strong personal brand ensure that everything they do and all that surrounds them communicates their brand message.” 

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people create positive personal impact.  Developing and nurturing your unique personal brand is the first step in building your brand.  Brand building takes work, but it is simple conceptually.  Do two things.  First, decide how you want people to think of you.  Then do whatever it takes to get them to think of you that way.  Your brand is important and, just like the NFL, you should do everything you can to protect it and build it.

That’s my take on the super Bowl and personal branding.  What’s yours?  Please take a minute to leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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