I'm pretty sure that I don't need to explain who Paris Hilton is. Everyone knows who she is, even if you don't like her. This is exactly the reason why Paris Hilton is a great example of the importance of building a personal brand.
To date, she's built an empire around her brand that consists of a successful perfume line, a franchise of stores named after her in over 40 countries, a beach resort, a children's clothing line and a cosmetics line.
She licensed her name and brand to countless other product brands, and she's even a popular DJ being booked all over the world. This is just the tip of the iceberg, however. Paris Hilton lived the millennial lifestyle of consulting and diversifying before the term was ever coined.
Whether you liked her or loathed her, you couldn't escape the New York "it girl" back in the day. She monopolised the tabloids and lifestyle pages; and as soon became as famous as, if not more so than some movie stars... for just being herself.
She was smart in leveraging her influence and U.S. TV execs saw the potential of big earnings by broadcasting her into the living rooms of millions around the world. "The Simple Life" was a hit with global audiences tuning in weekly. This was yet another step in Paris Hilton's personal branding strategy.
Paris Hilton might have perfected the fake baby voice and appears to be a bit dim, but years later I realise just how clear her intelligence is when it comes to marketing herself. Her website describes her as celebrity entrepreneur and pioneer of reality TV, which is all true.
We didn't even know what the latter was before her.
We can all learn from Paris Hilton with regards to building our own personal brands. The opportunities and possibilities are limitless once a personal brand is established.
The first thing to understand is that not everyone wants to be in the public eye or can build empires such as hers, but being known in our respective fields is important for career progression and opportunities.
There are little things that everyone can do that'll go a long way in terms of personal branding:
- Attend industry networking events and make an effort to talk to as many people as possible and swop business cards. This lays the foundation for getting to know the right people and more importantly, for them to get to know you. Remember to stay in touch and perhaps set up some lunch meetings to solidify relationships.
- Become an opinion leader in your field by putting yourself forward for speaking opportunities, writing articles on trending topics or becoming an authority on your industry on social media. Knowing people in real life is great, but getting your name out there online is just as important.
- Collaborate with other high-profile individuals in your field. Linking your name to that of someone else's who already has a credible name and an established brand in the industry can go a long way for your own brand.
By doing the above, anyone can start building a personal brand in any chosen discipline. It might not seem like a lot, but if you keep at it, it will soon snowball.
In this day and age, there's more to your name that meets the eye. It thus makes sense to build it into something that's recognised, instils trust and credibility.