A lot of people are writing about personal branding, particularly as the economy shrivels and concerns about jobs mount. There's no doubt that a powerful personal brand, especially if it is backed up with a track record, can help you weather the storm. More importantly, it can also serve as a door opener for new business either for you personally or your company.
You can find lots of great advice online on how to use social media to build your personal brand. One of the better ways, though, is to study how big companies leverage their brands. No one is better at it than the Walt Disney Company.
I have long been fascinated with Disney and how year after year they are able to captivate audiences around the globe through content franchises. (In fact, my fascination with Disney lead me to work for them when I was in my early 20s.)
What Disney does really well is build content franchises and then leverage them across all of its different platforms. Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, started with a ride but has become three successful movies, plus video games and more. High School Musical started with a single Disney Channel film. Now there are two sequels, albums, merchandise and more. It's contributing millions in revenues.
The Disney approach to content franchises is formulaic: 1) innovate/lead, 2) find your hits, 3) leverage them across all your channels and 4) be choosy. The last one is key. Forbes explainsCars, for example) and those they forgo (Ratatouille). how CEO Bob Iger lands on which franchises they build (
In my case, over the last two years my big content franchise was The Attention Crash. I have written many blog posts on the subject, Twittered about it extensively and curated links on Delicious. Of course, I have also featured it front and center in speaking engagements and in many media interviews. If you Google it, I own "the shelf" for this term.
I am now in the process of planning my content franchises for 2009. I am becoming more strategic in how I align these with my role at Edelman, my expertise and what I think readers and searches will need. I am thinking about having a few of these next year instead of just one.
Other influencers do the same. Dave Armano is Mr Infographic. Peter Kim is the de facto curator of social media marketing examples. Chris Brogan? He knows personal branding and even wrote an ebook on it. If you think this is happenstance, thin again. It's strategic branding.
Finally, if you're a Disney fan and you're curious about the image on top, check out this clever video. It connects my personal brand with Disney's and it's easy to create your own and share them too!