I know a lovely lady – a business coach and trainer – who is always referring to ‘your personal brand’.
It’s an interesting subject, and a very important one, too. Virgin is a brand, but Richard Branson has his own personal brand image to take care of. If you don’t like him, it’s unlikely you’ll buy into any of his products or services.
For SMEs (and one-man bands in particular), the business owner’s personal brand is, perhaps, even more important.
Now, this lovely lady I’ve mentioned won’t like this, but – despite his recent misdemeanours – I see Jeremy Clarkson as someone with a very strong personal brand (possibly stronger than Top Gear on its own).
This isn’t to say that I like him, or agree with all that he says, but you cannot deny that he has a very strong personal brand.
Jeremy Clarkson is forthright, boorish, arrogant, antagonistic, outspoken, controversial, flippant … but completely unapologetic for his ways.
And people love him for it. He has a set target audience, and he plays up to them.
It’s these people who religiously watch Top Gear, buy Top Gear magazine, follow him on Twitter, buy his books and DVDs, and read his newspaper columns.
I don’t particularly agree with his political views, his flippant comments in respect of mental health issues, or his deliberate antagonism of those in other parts of the world.
However, if he diluted his personal brand so that he didn’t offend this person or that person, he wouldn’t have the following he does.
In fact, he’s very often helped by his critics. He knows how to wind up supporters of the Green Party or animal rights activists, and they fall for it, giving him further publicity... which he then laughs off (remember the custard pie thrown at him?)
So, love him or hate him, Jeremy Clarkson has a very strong personal brand, and – because of this – a set target audience who follow all that he does, and keep that brand alive.
Let’s just see how he wriggles out of this next incident though…