Wednesday, November 20th, 2013

Kmart’s Joe Boxer Xmas Commercial: A Lesson in Personal Branding

brandingThe recently released Joe Boxer “Show Us Your Joe” commercial has been called out as both controversial and brilliant over the past few days. The ad promotes the brand’s holiday line of men’s underwear and features men dancing in…you guessed it…their underwear. The ad is totally on-brand and Joe Boxer demonstrates several of the key attributes of a strong brand.

Strong brands equally attract and repel. Strong brands are not looking to be everything to everyone. They have a target audience they are trying to engage. The person who may be offended by this ad probably wasn’t going to run off to buy novelty underwear for themselves or their man anyway. If Joe Boxer resonates with its core audience, they have done their job.

The same can be said for a strong personal brand. The last thing you want to be is a jack-of-all trades, master of none. A strong personal brand needs to be specific to attract the right audience. Perhaps you are a Marketing Executive specializing in pharmaceuticals, an Operations Professional skilled in business turnarounds, or an IT Executive focusing on cloud computing…whatever your expertise is, be sure to attach it to your professional identity so the right employers can find you and the wrong employers won’t.

Strong brands are memorable. Whether you like the Joe Boxer commercial or not, it’s certainly memorable. Strong brands create buzz and an emotional connection (positive or negative).

Personal brands can be equally memorable. You can create opportunities to be memorable with hiring authorities by creating collateral to support your brand and keep you top of mind. This might be a strong and engaging LinkedIn profile, a robust Twitter presence, a blog that positions you as an expert in your field, a book, a white paper, a video…the possibilities are endless. Start separating yourself from the pack and create memorable collateral to stay on  decision makers’ radar.

Strong brands are consistent. I doubt the Joe Boxer ad is out of character. After all, they sell novelty underwear. I can’t imagine any of their ads are stuffy or boring.

Personal brands must be equally consistent. You can’t position yourself as a Product Manager one day, a Sales Manager the next day, and a Marketing Manager the following day and expect people to know what you are or what you stand for. Select a professional identity that best encompasses your brand without sacrificing consistency and market that brand regularly to the people you want to get in front of.