Brand Lessons from YouTube’s Top Ten…Spice Up!

Personal BrandingSuccess Strategies

YouTube has released a list of its top ten videos of 2010. I learned something. I learned that if you want to be “most watched,” be Justin Bieber or a talking orange. Let’s ignore the titillating topic of transient tastes and concentrate on my favorite of the videos, an Old Spice ad, and what it has to do with your brand.

Have you ever heard of Old Spice? It’s a men’s aftershave that my father used to use an extremely long time ago. The Old Spice brand disappeared over the past 30 years, however. Everyone stopped using Old Spice. Who knows why? Maybe it was associated with our fathers; maybe aftershaves were out of favor. The reason doesn’t matter…the brand does.

Does it look like a product your father used to use in this ad? I don’t think so.

Ralph’s on to something

Old Spice GuyA client of mine, Ralph, revives old brands for a living. He’s really good. He and I designed what I call a “cocktail party question,” a question that you can ask in any mixed group of people that will help you move towards your career goals. Ralph’s question was, “What brands haven’t you used lately?” Works like a charm to get people talking.

Breck, Canoe, English Leather, and Old Spice would always come back in his answers. He now had real-time market research to aggregate and take back to the owners of the brands as proof that they needed him. Rejuvenating a brand can be done with new strategies and fresh marketing. Why waste a good product’s brand name?

Rejuvenating your brand

Why waste your brand name? What is it, to start off with? Is it old, irrelevant or non-existent? Have you, like Old Spice, refreshed it lately? If your brand is stuck in history (the star football player or prom queen version) or needs to be upgraded to reflect your future, it’s time for some action steps.

How do you revive your brand so that your future becomes aware of you and their image of you isn’t mired in your past brand or, worse yet, not mired in anything?

Oh, the tough part…

I never said this would be easy. “If I want my future to become aware of me, who is my future and what do I want them to believe?” This means that you have to do the thinking, the part that a lot of people would love to avoid. If you don’t do your own thinking, however, of who should know about you and what you want them to believe, you’re at risk of bouncing off of whatever hits you, “pinballing” as I call it, in The New Job Security.

Walk the talk

Set it. Do it. Old Spice wants their brand to be sexy, young, affluent, exotic. Look at the visuals in the ad and you’ll see all of the subliminal messaging. Let’s say that your brand is that of a strong leader, expert in your discipline, global, and director of teams that die to work for you, as did Ralph (our expert that revives old brands). One path to creating that brand is:

•    Identifying strategies that are going to make your division and company more profitable and using your political astuteness to present them to the right people in the right order.

•    Demonstrating that you master the competencies that your profession requires for professional excellence…you might even become the thought leader by writing and speaking about these.

•    Knowing global cultural norms, speaking at least one other language, and, ideally, having lived in another country for a while. You know technology so you can communicate seamlessly.

•    Growing the people who work for you. If your staff feel like you’re helping them achieve their goals, guess how your reputation spreads around the office. You become The Man/Woman to work for really quickly.

Re-fresh your brand

See how you just one upped Old Spice? You set the direction of your brand. You’re demo-ing the actions every day that keep it future-focused and alive. You’re not going to need a brand rejuvenation like Old Spice because you’re spicing up your brand every day. You’re hot!


Pam Lassiter is author of the award winning The New Job Security and Principal of Lassiter Consulting, a career coaching firm doing outplacement or internal growth programs for companies or individuals.