I won the lottery! Okay, so, not the Mega Millions (apparently my luck did not transcend to that one). However, I did win tickets to Oprah’s Lifeclass the Tour for last night, April 2, at Radio City Music Hall. I picked up the tickets over the weekend and even though they were reserved, there was still a line circling the block. While waiting, I noticed no one complained about having to stand in line, in the rain, as if it was expected since we were Oprah’s “students.” After picking up my tickets, I hurriedly skimmed through the seating chart to see where my father and I were to be seated.
Orchestra seats I thought and I walked out with the biggest smile on my face.
While clutching the tickets I thought about the possibilities. How Oprah and Tony Robbins would share their secrets to an enlighten self and make all my problems disappear. My mind started to wander as if having tickets to their show was the Willy Wonka golden ticket to true happiness.
Then, I abruptly stopped and thought, Oprah is just a person she cannot solve my problems— that is my job.
I also realized, in that moment, the true power of branding.
When I first studied branding in college my initial assumption was that branding was only for products or companies like Pepsi or Starbucks. Then it permeated to celebrity brands, such as Oprah and Tony Robbins. Now, with the advent of social and digital media, personal branding can be added to the mix. Branding people, particularly celebrity spokes people and their brands, opens a Pandora box which often hinders our ability to think objectively.
Instead of stepping back and having an objective perspective, if someone has a recognizable brand, we immediately join their cause without any initial thought of the situation, or at least not until afterwards. We are continuously in “sleep-mode” allowing branding to shift our thoughts and, as a result, our actions.
Celebrity branding also extends to the media and its ability to influence our response to the day’s news. (The recent Spike Lee social media gaffe comes to mind.) Often we trust and believe what is posted and reshare without double checking the facts.
So, while branding certainly has its place, as individuals – whether personally or professionally – we need to take responsibility for how our actions are influenced by branding and how we influence the actions of others via our own branding.
It is great to have an “AHA” moment just getting the tickets. Whatever else I learned during the Lifeclass, I promise to share in the coming days and weeks.
Bio: Before joining the BurrellesLuce team in 2011, as social media specialist, Ruth worked as a marketing assistant in a kitchen design firm and, later interned with Turner Public Relations. She holds a BA in Economics with a minor degree in International Relations from Rowan University. In addition to economics, education, and finance – Ruth is passionate about understanding the business implications of social media, including how it can be used to increase ROI, find and maintain a career, and create a business. Connect with her on Twitter: @RuthMesfun LinkedIn: Ruth Mesfun Facebook: BurrellesLuce