Personal branding. It’s a minefield. And when it doesn’t quite hit the mark, it can be embarrassing.
Skynews’ Jeff Randall live had on a couple of ‘treps’ – as the Americans seem to be calling people that set up their own business these days – to discuss the Chancellor’s Autumn Statement.
One was a chap called Will King. The company he founded in 93 initially sold shaving oil. I happened to know a bit about this guy and his wares (*) so stopped what else I was doing in the background to watch.
My first reaction was a touch horrifying, When introduced, he made a deliberate gesture to camera. He took the two forefingers of his right hand and brushed them down his right cheek, from ear to chin, in a kind of shaving motion, ending with a departing flourish. A kind of two-finger wave.
Did he really just do that? I asked myself in astonishment. If I was a live tweeting junkie, OMG would have surely followed. Or something much sharper.
I was torn by this. Given my similar career developments, anyone that starts a business against the odds and makes it grow is a kindred soul. And whenever you see someone try and distinguish themselves in some way, then again, as I preach this stuff I can do nothing but applaud. Usually.
With my mind still shaking – and coming down on the side of it being too much like a footballer’s goal celebrations – he eventually got to speak.
I spontaneously laughed so loud I missed some of it. But what sparked off my involuntary yelp was his describing the troubled economic times as being “stubbled”.
Was he really using a uniquely shaving related lexicon here?!
It reminded me of the France 98 interviews with England’s squad when they secretly competed to get the most film titles into their answers to put one over the country’s media.
This may have been the only such reference here, but taken together these two occurrences were just too much for me!
So, forget the impact on me, what was the aim here?
If it was to gain brand recognition and tempt someone to try the wares, then I’m not sure any of these would really be achieved.
So was it perhaps more of a personal brand attempt?
Oh please I hope not.
The two-finger thang was just too contrived and artificial. If it’d been more light-hearted, with a different motion and a cheeky smile rather than pleased-with-yourself smirk, then it could have been better. Maybe.
And what about the shaving language?
This I like more. Trouble is I struggle to think of many suitable words that go with shaving.
Anyway, if you’re looking at setting yourself apart from the competition, run a cheeky workshop session at your next sales conference for the physical motif. See where you get. Stress it’s for internal eyes only. It could be a humorous way of seeing how your team views the product and their commitment to it. And show things like goal celebrations, Monty after a wicket, Jensen’s ‘w’, even Forsyth’s ridiculous pose and Boris Johnson’s lightbulb lightblub motorbike motorbike Indian tour Bollywood greeting.
Anything that shows in motion a process benefit could well be a winner.
Product education through the medium of mime. Did I really suggest this? Best you do it just before the bar tab opens, hey…?!
* A one-time ‘girlfriend’ got me on to shaving oil before I made a trip to S America in 98 because her brother raved about it and it really did change my shaving life. Somersets became my preferred brand. Although I still keep a small 25ml bottle of oil when travelling, at home it’s now a tub of aqueous cream, as recommended by an x-ray nurse once when shooting my knee, who randomly explained many of its uses as she dabbed a slather on me. I can attest that it’s now my favoured shave method, and for a fraction of the price!