BernieBorges.com Blog: Social Media and Web Marketing

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Mar 19, 2011

Personal Branding Lessons from Charlie Sheen

personal branding lessons from Charlie SheenNo matter what you think of Charlie Sheen, there is a personal branding lesson in the drama that has been unfolding in recent weeks. This post is not meant in any way to condone his behavior or show support for what his personal brand represents. But, it’s worth looking at what he is doing and examining his strategy. Perhaps there is something positive we can learn from it.

Charlie Sheen had a personal brand before he got fired…

The character he played on the CBS show, Two and a Half-Men pretty much was Charlie Sheen. How did he get to go to work everyday and just be himself and get paid well for it? Let’s re-state this question. How can you go to work every day and do what comes naturally to you, thoroughly enjoy it, and get paid well for it? This is the real question. In Sheen’s case, he had built his brand prior to this show, so getting cast in this character was a natural fit. What have you done in your career to brand yourself to land a job that is a natural fit? Depending on how you answer that question, you may need to make some adjustments to influence how people view your personal brand.

Charlie Sheen is wisely marketing his personal brand…

Disregard your sentiments  (and mine) about how Sheen is behaving, what he is doing is very wise in marketing the brand Charlie Sheen.  Here is why:

  • First, he is maintaining a highly visible profile.
  • Second, when he lost the show as his primary medium he turned to the Internet as his communication medium.
  • Third, his current antics are consistent with his brand, fueling the fire for his brand.

Sheen is an actor. That’s his profession. He has developed a brand around a certain type of character that fits him. It’s proven there is an audience for his brand (whether or not you or I like his brand). He knows that. And, he is creating a spectacle to carry on the promise of his brand.

Experimentation

We have already begun to see Sheen experiment with video, comedy and drama on television and the Internet.  He will learn what works and what doesn’t work. And, make no mistake about it, he will monetize it (if he doesn’t crash and burn along the way). Sheen will simply move his act to another medium and find a willing audience and willing sponsors to pay him.

What about you and me?

You and I are not high profile Hollywood actors. So, what personal branding lessons do we take away from him? I suggest there are three personal branding lessons here:

  • Know what you stand for and deliver on it.
  • Be true to your personal brand.
  • Take it with you from one employer to another.

Charlie Sheen is an example of these three lessons. The rest of us who don’t get Hollywood level limelight can make these observations and apply them to our personal brand strategies in our careers.

Your personal brand depends largely on the promise you make to your target audience. Sheen’s promise is to be edgy, controversial and funny (for those who find humor in his brand). What’s your promise to your employer or your clients?

Being true to your personal brand means sticking with it. Being consistent in your promise is critical. Just showing up once in a while with your promise won’t create a credible brand promise. Other high profile examples of being true to their personal brand include Oprah Winfrey, Anderson Cooper, Wayne Gretzky, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs and Rick Short. What, you don't know Rick Short? See below.

Rick Short has developed an excellent personal brandMigrating your brand from one employer to another (or to other clients) is all about offering another employer the opportunity to benefit from the promise of your brand.  If you’re an experienced marketing professional in a defined industry segment, your promise is your knowledge of that industry segment, your relationships in that segment and your ability to create revenue through both of these assets. Rick Short is a living breathing example of such a personal brand. While you may not know him, Rick is well known in his industry segment.

So, as we watch the Charlie Sheen drama unfold, I suggest you take away the valuable lessons in personal branding and apply them positively in your career. And, if you're looking for a more pleasant and positive role model, study Rick Short's personal brand strategy. You can learn a lot from Rick. I do.

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