In today’s entertainment world, numerous celebrities are capitalizing off more than their main craft. Singers, athletes, actors, actresses, and other high-profile personalities are using their platforms to launch their own product lines or start their own businesses.
But developing a personal brand isn’t something reserved only for the famous. Young people, whether in college or just starting out in the working world, can learn from these brand icons and apply branding principles to propel their careers, says Vince Thompson (www.meltatl.com), founder and CEO of the marketing agency MELT and author of Building Brand You: How To Use Your College Experience To Find And Win Your First Job.
“What the stars are doing with their brands should inspire young adults and get them thinking about how their own interests and talents can help them stand out from the crowd,” Thompson says.
“Ask yourself these questions: What are your personal attributes? What are your passions? How do you combine those into producing branded products and other things that you love?”
The ways celebrities have branched out their branding reflect their interests and creativity. Lady Gaga partnered with Oreo to release a line of cookies. Drake is selling a line of scented candles. Dwayne ‘The Rock” Johnson, Nick Jonas, and other stars have launched tequila brands. Rihanna has been among the most impactful of celebrities developing their own beauty products.
“The idea is to show yourself in the best possible light,” Thompson says. “Learning about personal branding early in one’s career can make all the difference.”
Thompson offers these tips to help young professionals and college students create their personal brand and jump-start their career:
- Organize your brand. There are many pieces to one’s brand story. Ideally, Thompson says, the story starts evolving in college. “Everything you do while you’re in college contributes to your brand, whether you know it or not,” Thompson says. “So it’s important that along with your classes, you do some things that show your passions and interests. Potential employers need to see who you are, reflected in part by the different things you’ve done both inside and outside the classroom. The more you do, the more your portfolio grows.”
- Maximize social media. “With social media dominating the way we communicate, the younger generations see themselves as potential brands, just as Coca-Cola and Nike did back in the day,” Thompson says. “Young people need to know how to leverage their abilities, activities and interests on social media platforms. Take advantage of the opportunities on various platforms to post your writing, art, videos, whatever it is that adds value for the viewer and gives them a glimpse of who you are. Be authentic and true to your values. Never try to fake it; employers can spot a con a mile away.”
- Don’t go “off brand.” The branding process means putting one’s self out there and often auditioning, so decorum is crucial. “Staying true to one’s brand requires defining your values and living by them,” Thompson says. “In other words, staying on top of your brand management. Don’t be a goof on social media or push the envelope in your behavior anywhere. People who went to college before the internet could get away with some things, but no more. Everything’s out there for all the world to see. Just remember how you want to be perceived. Choose your friends and activities carefully.”
“It’s all about how you position and present yourself,” Thompson says. “That’s the essence of branding. The young generations have great opportunities to position themselves, opportunities that didn’t exist 30 years ago. And the sooner they start, the better.”
About Vince Thompson
Vince Thompson (www.meltatl.com) is the founder, chairman and CEO of MELT, one of America’s most successful sports marketing and branding agencies, and author of Build Brand You. An award-winning brand builder and sports marketer, Thompson has worked on brand strategies for some of the most famous brands in the world, including The Coca-Cola Company and Aflac. Thompson has been named one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Most Admired CEOs,” among the “500 Most Influential Atlantans” by Atlanta Magazine, the American Diabetes Association’s “Father of the Year,” one of Sports Business Journal’s “Power Players,” and was listed by BizBash as one of the top 1,000 people in the event industry.