One thing that all of the companies whose logo you just saw have in common is that they all have a strong brand personality. When you think of Progressive, what is the first thing that you think of? Of course you don’t think about how excited you are to pay for a seemingly “useless” service that doesn’t grant you immediate pleasure. Instead, you think of Flo! She is fun, funny (and funny looking), helpful, kind of crazy, charming and convincing. Through personal experience, we all know that Insurance isn’t a very exciting thing to purchase; however, Progressive has conquered the image barrier through personification- the application of human characteristics to a business. Another great example of this is Apple versus IBM. When you think of Apple you probably think young and chic. In contrast, what do you think about IBM? Perhaps old and professional.
Now take a moment to think about yourself…What two or three words would you use to describe your personal brand? Are you lighthearted and fun? Or are you serious and all-business? Assuring that you have a personal brand will be vital in safeguarding your personal success in the workforce. Companies will want to make sure that your personal brand aligns with the company’s, and they will want to see this shine through in the work that you produce.
A personal brand will not only be considered at work but it can also determine who looks up to you as a role model or simply who clicks the “follow” button on Instagram or Twitter. A great example of personal branding and its shifts overtime can be shown through Miley Cirus’ evolving life. The 20-year-old American actress and artist has had a multiple brand images throughout the course of her career. Starting at the age of 11 she became known as Hannah Montana, a popular character on the Disney channel whom until a few months ago was still being honored and looked upon by young kids. At that point in her career her brand image was fun, innocent and goal-oriented. She continued to have this image when she decided to start her singing career up until recently.
During the Video Music Awards 2013 (VMA’s), Miley Cyrus surprised the crowd (some in a good way and some not so much) by showing a side of her that we have not yet seen. If you haven’t already watched her performance, I will let you watch the performance for yourself. Please be warned, it is explicit!
She steered away from the brand that she had been compliant with for a little while before her 2013 album, Bangerz. If it is not obvious enough, the superstar is targeting a different fan base and thus had a radical change in her personal brand. Before the album Bangerz was released, one of Miley’s most popular songs was much more uplifting, free-spirited and innocent and it went like this: “So I put my hands up, they’re playing my song, and the butterflies fly away…,” but now after her breakthrough she focuses her singing on being rebellious. One of her hit singles goes like this: “So la da di da di, we like to party, dancing with molly, (which she claims she says Miley) doing whatever we want….” Judging from her performance during the VMA’s, her twerking, her foam finger licking, and crotch touching, Miley seems to be longing for a sexual, “young, wild and free” brand image that does not connect her to her previous role as Hannah Montana. The star tweeted after the show: “Smilers! My VMA performance had 306,000 tweets per minute. That’s more than the blackout or Superbowl! #fact“ which is a clear indication that she seeks attention to her new self.
As you can see, your everyday actions can affect your brand image and you are in the driver’s seat of this journey. Did Miley’s personal brand change for the better? According to CNN, a parent from Nashua, NH stated that “her kids — ages 9, 12 and 13 — will no longer be listening to Cyrus’ music. There is enough fantastic music out there with people who have respectful behavior….” Oh well, you win some and you lose some. But back to you…How is your brand doing?!