One of the reasons I've had the pleasure of sharing the speaking stage with Bill Clinton, Anthony Robbins, Dr. Phil and more for The Power Within has been my insights into personal branding and how we are all personal brands. In simple speak, your personal brand is - it's the toothpaste that's out of the tube (you can't put it back in). Every day people are either investing or divesting themselves of your personal brand. I just got news that The Learning Annex has offered Paris Hilton one million dollars to teach their students how to develop a personal brand.
"Hopefully the heiress leaves her infamous sex tape and mini-skirt at the door if she takes up an offer to teach classes at The Learning Annex.
The educational institute has offered Paris $1 million to teach budding entrepreneurs her secrets behind branding. Remembering that Paris found international fame via her sex tape, her teachings may be a little off-center for the conservative business crowd.
However, president Bill Zanker believes that the socialite is a perfect person to guide budding business owners.
He told the New York Post newspaper, 'We just sent over the offer to her this morning, and I think there's a good chance she'd do it. She's a brilliant entrepreneur. I believe she can offer her knowledge and give back to other entrepreneurs. She's obviously brilliant, and my students would love her.'
Paris would be conducting the 'How To Build Your Brand' class. Bill continued, 'She's a businessman who has made this persona. We have a lot of people in small business, and where they need the most help is getting branded. Who is better at branding than Paris Hilton?'"
Regardless of what you think about Paris Hilton, you have to admit, there are few people who are better suited to show people the power of leveraging your personal brand (I mean what, exactly, does Paris Hilton do?) than Paris Hilton. Prior to finding this news item, I was discussing the premise for my upcoming book, Six Pixels Of Separation, and how a big focus of it will be on the power of the personal brand. I asked the person I was with what the first thing that comes to their mind is when I say, "Hilton." Without missing a beat, they said, "Paris." They did not say "hotel." They did not say "travel." If that does not speak to the power of a personal brand (good or bad), I don't know what does.
What does that have to do with Marketing? Every day we're learning about new channels and online social networks where individuals are linked to millions of people. When the voice of the media is dispersed amongst individuals - as it is now (and quickly growing) - my guess is that Marketers must learn how to have better conversations with Consumers who are also the media and are quickly becoming large and powerful personal brands (online, offline and otherwise).
Whether or not Paris Hilton can put some structure around how exactly she is able to develop her personal brand and what this means to an individual who doesn't come from an affluent family or had a sex tape out on the market is an entirely different question.