Last month, we spoke about brand as a powerful, moveable commodity and an element of your business in need of nurturing. This month we are throwing the spotlight on the individual – as we explore personal branding. Carl Rogers (1902-1987) was a humanistic psychologist who’s personality theory is defined as “the organized, consistent set of perceptions and beliefs about oneself”. Rogers believed that every person can achieve their goals, wishes, and desires in life. When, or rather if they did so, self-actualization took place. But what about how do others perceive us? Never in history has the self been so public, so revered, and so important. How do you front up as the face of your business? In a world of social media search, LinkedIn recommendations, and public personas, personal brand is important, if not essential. For lessons in how to manage personal brand like a boss, we turn to Queen Cate. Come with us as we evaluate the mystifying, magnetic Australian actor’s approach to personal branding and how you can channel your inner screen start on a pathway to career success. Personal brand is the practice of people marketing themselves and their career as a business entity—though the concept and its practice have evolved in recent years. Evidence? Try and Google yourself. It’s no longer just the jet set and the glitterati of our world that have a public profile. Personal branding is for everyone, and if managed properly, could mean you score a new client—or you miss one. So your biggest blunders and misgivings might not be splashed across the cover of a common tabloid, but thanks to the internet your business score is available for anyone to search. Now more than ever it’s important to broadcast your message home, but don’t forget yourself as an important and ever present signal or platform. There are plenty of hot tips on how to master your personal brand, but as everyone is pretty unique and individual in their make-up and their overarching approach, maybe it’s best to think of personal branding more conceptually. So here’s what we’ll call a ‘triple A backstage pass’ to navigating your own business celebrity.
Personal branding is a science that needs to be blended with a heavy dose of authenticity. And this is where we like to think Cate comes in most spectacularly. Blanchett is without doubt richly talented, with cupboards full of acting accolades to prove it. There’s her six AACTA Awards, two Academy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and three BAFTA Awards—among others. In fact, it’s fairly likely Cate Blanchett has entertained and moved a great percentage of us the world over in one or another of her spellbinding roles. That’s whether she broke your heart in Blue Jasmine, transported you to an elfin utopia as Galadriel in The Lord of the Rings trilogy, or most recently—petrified you as a red back spider woman brandishing sewing scissors in Del Kathryn Barton’s second short, RED. Though, while she’s gifted, brilliant and artistic, Cate’s also worked hard to build a business around her talent and her brand without forgetting the essence of her craft. And this lesson on authenticity in personal branding is an example we feel is relevant for any business—whether it is your budding start-up or growing enterprise of 25. Never forget the core of what you are good at, continue to hone your talents as you grow, and stay true to the causes you believe in. For Cate this has meant being her most authentic self, even in the public eye.
But how do you convey that message? And should your every move be premeditated? As with any marketing scheme, it’s important to identify your specialties, strengths, weaknesses and your unique point of difference. Once you’ve identified your strengths and solo selling point, strengthen these ideas by buddying up with other similar, strong ideals. For Cate, professional and public appearances allow her to align with a very particular aesthetic, and thereby a certain set of values, ideas, and—future prospects. This is a simple the red carpet getup she chooses (Givenchy, Christian Lacroix, McQueen, Valentino, Chanel), to the type of endorsements she’ll happily support (just Armani and luxury skin care line SKII). Cate’s also invested her time in supporting causes close to her craft—she’s the patron and ambassador of the Australian Film Institute and its academy, The Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. Cate is a patron of the Australian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. She’s also publically supported campaigns for climate change and carbon tax, as well as a 2016 campaign for the UN Refugee Agency.
As well as positioning yourself for success and priming your image, you need to be your own spokesperson in everything that you do. In business too, your actions speak louder than words. As her success has spiraled over the years, Cate’s acting gamut has evolved, expanded, and exploded. But there’s still something very ‘Cate’ in everything she does. Beginning with her breakout role and Golden Globe-winning performance as the regal but underestimated Elizabeth I in Elizabeth, Cate’s own might, and feminine power has always glittered and radiated through all of her work. Cate’s personal brand is an authentic representation of herself and her talent, aligned with the right director, role, or product. But it’s also a very clear, precise broadcast of the brand she wants to be and how she would like to be perceived. Beyond everyone’s 15 minutes (or seconds) of fame, honing your personal brand with precision is a way to build your business celebrity, to secure recognition within your industry, and to build an enduring and easily discoverable rapport and reputation. Becoming a business celebrity need not be an egotistic endeavour, but simply a channel to convey yourself most clearly.