Puppies and Betty White or Cats and Terry Tate? Personal Branding from the Super Bowl Ads

Posted by Kathleen Smith

How do you build your personal brand? What have the Super Bowl ads shown us? Do a few stunts. Throw in some special effects. A few celebrities. People will know what you stand for, right?

Building a personal brand is a challenge as your brand develops over time and through your actions. Adding a badge, jumping on the most recent social media platform or showing up at a party in a super furry coat may get some initial reactions. But is this the essence of your brand? Sex and flash gets attention but will your audience and community respect you in the morning?

For recruiters, as with any sales position, the brand is a hybrid of the person and the company they represent. The most dynamic recruiting brand is one where the company and the individual’s brand are in sync. Our challenge as recruiters is one, building our personal brand, and two, making sure that our company reinforces and leverages our brand. Worst-case scenario is when a recruiter believes they don’t have a brand and relies on their company’s brand to be theirs.

Building a personal brand is remembering key ground rules:

  1. What you say, how you say it and how you stand up in the community continually and consistently is the basis of your brand
  2. Understanding your audience, keeping your messages on target and knowing what is memorable about you drives your content
  3. Consistent messaging that is of interest to your community with a “lift” every now and then. This lift being something extraordinary that differentiates you, and excites your audience
  4. Understanding, knowing and practicing the golden rule for your community

Understanding their audience and why that audience wanted to hear their message gave Budweiser the win, according to the USAToday Ad meter. The Super Bowl ads showdown illustrates the more the ad resonates with your brand image, the more successful you are.

Years ago, Budweiser came out with their “Wassup” Super Bowl ad, which was targeted to only a small section of their audience and annoyed the rest of us. After that their ads were more in line with their overall brand to engage their entire community. Now, not all of us can add a puppy to our branding strategy nor would this work for IT recruiting. But understanding what your tech talent cares about and how they want to be treated – which by the way has nothing to do with how badly you need to fill your current requirement – will resonate for your brand.

It’s great to have something that excites your audience. You need this every now and then to spice up your engagement. But remember to stay within your brand basics.

One of the all times best Super Bowl ads was the “herding cats” ad by a large tech company. Great ad. Well executed. Definitely got everyone’s interest. It still does. Do you remember the name of the company? What does herding have to do with technical proficiency?

A great lift was the Snicker’s ad with Betty White. It reinforced the need for the product and what happens when you don’t have it, with a great celebrity twist. Again you are not going to get Michael Jordan or Eminem to stand in for you. But what veteran support event, STEM mentoring program, or community event can you be part of?

As recruiters, sales people or marketers, we tend to rely too much on tools and not enough on engagement. It’s great that you have lots of endorsements or likes. Is that your brand or is it clutter? Are these detractors? According to the USAToday ad meter, 49% watch the Super Bowl for the ads, with only 34% actually watching football. And only 10% watch for the half time show. Sorry, Up with People, Janet Jackson and Bruno Mars.

Most of us don’t have a $4 million ad budget to remind our audiences that we are here, but we do have multi-million dollar moments every day to show up in our communities. Reinforce why people want to engage with you. Why they want to work with you and refer their friends to you. That’s your personal brand.




This entry was posted on Wednesday, February 05, 2014 5:30 pm

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