How Michael Jackson, The Brand Icon, CanTeach You Something About Personal Branding

Jackson There was an article posted by on the Harvard Business Review How Michael Jackson Became a Brand Icon and interestingly it's author John Quelch kicked off with the following comment;

"Countless books advise how to build your personal brand. Michael Jackson was so unique that he cannot realistically serve as anyone's role model in that effort"

But, I beg to differ, the fact is Michael Jackson was a personal brand and countless thousands of fans looked to him for inspiration and direction. So let's take John's Top Ten Factors and see how Jackson's brand can apply to your personal brand.

1. Start Early - even more critical now than when Jackson started his career. The world of work has changed forever and sooner that you start managing your career (or business) through personal branding the better.

2. Let Go- it is highly unlikely that staying at one company is going to happen in your career - so be prepared to make the move and be proactive about it - better that than get the call to the bosses office. Some of the most successful companies were started in a recession too - so let go and go for it.

3. Break Out - the day of the traditional resume and cover letter have gone. There are a myriad of other media available to you to get your message out there and in front of your target audience - if its relevant to them it will work.

4. Get help- develop your board of trusted advisors, ask for help and insight and when you need to, ask your network - but be sure you have been helping them along the way too.

5. Be visible- you are not going to have to moonwalk in to an interview or business meeting, or wear just one glove, but what you wear and how you act all says something about your brand. Make it distinctive and memorable - but it must feel right to you.

6. Go global- now even more than ever the competition for your next opportunity is not in the cubicle next to you - it could be half way around the world. Make sure that your reach is equally global - social networking sites, blogs and general web presence can do that - build your on-line brand.

7. Crown Yourself - 'King' might be pushing it a little too far, but leading authority on IFRS is not. Take your expertise or develop one and become known as the go to person for advice and insights.

8. Be vulnerable - it is great to have all the necessary skills and attributes expected to be a top performer in your industry / vocation - but if you do not show your emotional side you might be accused of being one dimensional - nothing wrong in being the fun accountant or caring IT manager.

9. Give back - community and causes are all part of who you are, your personal brand foundation should include a vision for the world that is bigger than you - what is your purpose in helping effect that vision? It might well include giving back.

10. Die Young- certainly not literally. But you should constantly be reviewing and refining your brand and sometimes that might include reinvention too.

Cross posted on The Personal Branding Blog and Career Hub

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • Hannah

    I Love you so much Micheal Jackson Das dürfen Sie nie vergessen
    I miss you MJ forever

  • Keely McSwiggan

    iam so upset that michal jackson has died. It does not seem real. He was and is the king of po. No matter what he looked like he is still the best. I love you MJ, RIP.

  • Miami Valley Journal

    Thanks for this refreshingly positive spin on what MJ represents. Those of us who grew up idolizing the man for his gifts could not help but be inspired by his multiple abilities. Today we call it branding.

  • Paul Copcutt

    Hannah and Keely thank you for posting on the blog and recognising the king of pop – a sad loss to be sure.

  • Paul Copcutt

    MVJ – thanks for the comment, his abilities were all part of his personal brand and a great one at that.