Jack of All Trades Master of One: What Celebs Can Teach Us About Reinventing A Brand

Following the passing of David Bowie this week media outlets have been reiterating one central message about his life: David Bowie was a fearless artist who endlessly reinvented his image.

David Bowie

Although Bowie got his start in performance art as a dancer and a mime, he quickly moved his serious creative attention to singing. I meet creative professionals and artistic entrepreneurs every day who tell me they have too many talents and interests to be labeled as one thing. If the life of David Bowie the rock chameleon and master of reinvention can teach these creative entrepreneurs anything it is that you may have many personal interests but your audience is interested in associating you with only one thing.  David Bowie could do a litany of performance art, but he made his fortune in and is eulogized for his music. It is your audience that pays your bills and gives you recognition for your hard work and talent. You must consider both the audience and your personal interests when marketing yourself and forming your business and brand identity. In addition to David Bowie there are many other artists, athletes and professionals who are multi-talented but who have wisely formed their business and their brand to please their audience and express their talents doing one thing really, really well.


The material girls is an artist with many talents in song and dance. She has also tried her hand at acting in twenty-one feature filmsseven short films, three theatrical plays, ten television episodes, and fifteen commercials to mixed reviews.  She has dabbled in directing too. As a whole, her acting career has garnered negative reviews from the critic community. Does that mean that Madonna should stop being interested in film? Not at all! She can still do film in her spare time, but it is not her business and brand. Madonna's business is music and she is on tour right now earning money and the public's positive attention from her musical performances. Not only has she made a lucrative career in music, but her brand of music has influenced generations of musicians and dancers to follow in her footsteps including Lady Gaga and Britney Spears . Why would you deprive the world of your talent and the next generation of your influence by dispersing your limited time and energy across all of your various interests? Do yourself, your business, your brand and the world a favour: do one thing very, very well. 


Michael Jordan

Have you ever wanted to be like Mike? Michael Jeffrey Jordan is an athlete best known for his achievements in basketball as a player, owner and businessman. According to the National Basketball Association, "by acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time. Although, a summary of his basketball career and influence on the game inevitably fails to do it justice, as a phenomenal athlete with a unique combination of fundamental soundness, grace, speed, power, artistry, improvisational ability and an unquenchable competitive desire, Jordan single-handedly redefined the NBA superstar." But basketball wasn't the only sport Michael was interested in, he also dreamed of playing baseball and in 1994 he left basketball to pursue that dream.  He quickly returned to basketball the next year and has finally retired as the greatest basketball player ever. Let's not forget the apparel (the Jordans) and endorsement deals that have made MJ rich in addition to his contracts as a player. All of Michael Jordan's talents are not confined to basketball but he has been wise enough to concentrate his time, energy and marketing prowess within the land of sports and in the lane of basketball.  He has left a legacy of dominance in the sport such that all players after him have been compared to him. Do you want to build a legacy for your brand? Find one industry, and dominate it. 


Eddie Murphy

Edward Regan Murphy is an entertainer with many talents across the arts but comedy is what he is best known for. Eddie Murphy has had a long career and has won numerous awards for his acting and comedy. He is acknowledged as being one of the best entertainers in the world. But Eddie also loves music and in the 1980s released several albums and songs including Party All The Time which was ranked number seven among the 50 worst songs of all time. Although Eddie has made a few other attempts at music no one song has gained him the praise and profit that his acting and comedy has. He is a comedy legend and you are a legend in the making too.

Figure out what your one thing is and do it exceedingly well. 

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