Personal Branding Lessons From Justin Bieber

I had the opportunity to attend the Grammy Awards in Los Angeles earlier this month. It’s always an exciting event, but it’s more than that—it’s an opportunity to see some of the most powerful and effective personal branders up close and personal. Most celebrities are talented individuals, sure, but talent alone doesn’t get you nominated for a Grammy. So what’s the secret? There’s no exact recipe, but personal branding plays a huge role. So today we’re going to examine the personal branding strategy of an up-and-coming international icon—Justin Bieber. You may not be a performer, but if you are serious about your personal branding efforts you will find something of value in his approach. Below are several of his strengths that are particularly impressive:

1. Consistency. Justin Bieber is nothing if not consistent. His appearance, his clothing, his mannerisms—he’s the same guy day in and day out. Bieber reinforces his brand across a huge range of platforms, ranging from televisions to social media, and he does a remarkable job of staying true to his brand.

2. Social media. Yes, Justin Bieber uses Twitter effectively. Then again, so does every other celebrity and entertainer out there. But Bieber has gotten more mileage out of social media than just about anybody, ever. Without YouTube, Bieber might still be sitting on his couch in Ontario, Canada. At a young age, Justin’s mother began recording his performances and posting them on YouTube—which is where a talent scout stumbled upon them. The agent quickly set up a meeting, at the rest is history.

3. Cross branding. Bieber made a point of associating himself with other stars early in his career, including such notable celebrities as Kim Kardashian and Usher. By doing so, not only did Justin expose himself to their considerable fan bases, but he gave himself an additional boost in credibility. At this point in his career, Bieber does not need “help” from anyone else, but it wasn’t that long ago that the general public was unsure if they should take this teen sensation seriously. The fact that other celebrities respected his talent was a critical boost to his brand.

4. Appeal to his target market. This is the most important point to be made here. Justin Bieber‘s personal brand has been carefully crafted to appeal to his most passionate supporters—namely, teens and young women. His appeal cuts across all demographics, but Bieber’s persona has been perfected to the point that it’s hard to find a teen girl who isn’t head-over-heels for him. By positioning himself as the ideal “product” for his target market, Bieber was able to create such a sensation that the rest of society was forced to take note. The lesson here is simple but critically important: give your target market what they want, and the rest will take care of itself.

Justin Bieber is a talented performer, but that’s not why he’s an icon even among other celebrities. More than anything else, Bieber and his managers have branded him perfectly. We may not have the charm or the vocal ability, but Justin Bieber’s branding success should be an inspiration and a lesson to all of us.