Blake Shelton is more than just country music royalty. Brick by guitar-twanging brick, he’s built a strong brand image and the foundation is his music. Catchy country tunes that speak to everyday people in powerful ways. Blake is focused on branding in order to stand out in a crowded market.
But how exactly has he become one of the most trusted ambassadors of country music today? How has he built his brand?
Let’s start by pointing out that to create a loyal brand following you have to put your REAL SELF out there, not a commercial copy manufactured to drum up sales! Branding has changed in today’s business landscape–it used to be about branding the business, now it’s about branding the person behind the business.
Blake Shelton is a perfect example of branding the person and making it the real person!
In Blake’s case, it helps that he is a humble, honest person who wears his heart on his sleeve. In this day and age of insincere pop stars sporting the latest fads and bling, it’s refreshing to hear him say: “I’ll never understand how you can be an artist but not want people to understand who you are as a person.” Maybe that’s where his hit single ‘Who Are You When I’m Not Looking’ originated from.
I think a HUGE part of Blake’s branding success is his life-long obsession with and love for country music. He was writing songs at age 15 and moved to Nashville at age 16 to pursue his dream. He hasn’t stopped since. Music fans–and people in general–LOVE devotion to a core belief or mission and sticking to your roots, and Shelton’s roots are country all the way.
It shows in his success: Shelton has 15 #1 hits, including “Austin,” “The Baby,” “Some Beach,” “She Wouldn't Be Gone,” “Honey Bee,” “Drink On It,” as well as his latest thru-the-roof successes “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” “Boys ‘Round Here,” “Mine Would Be You” and “Doin' What She Likes,” which is his 11th consecutive No. 1 single–that’s a genre record.
Diversifying His Entertainment Cache on The Voice
These days Blake Shelton is well known–possibly even more so than for his music–for his inspiring role as a singing coach on the reality show The Voice. His sincerity and love for the genre have no better showcase than this, as he cultivates new talent and helps incubate fresh voices in the music industry.
Blake is even competitive with the other judges, like Usher, in wanting his singers to win (3 straight wins), and this year he made no bones about wanting country singer Danielle Bradberry to win–and she did. Shelton is now a voice coach and a country star adding to her brand power.
Blake and Business Partnerships
Blake Shelton’s most successful business partnership of late has been with Pizza Hut, through which he has launched a new line BBQ pizzas. Now you might initially think this is a play for money alone, something that tarnishes some stars’ brand images.
But listen to the move in his own words: “Growing up in Ada, Oklahoma, Pizza Hut was a big deal in my community,” said Shelton. “As a fan of BBQ and pizza, it has been a blast to partner with Pizza Hut to bring two of my favorite foods together.”
Once again, sincerity and roots reign supreme.
Blake’s development philosophy: “Not too much icing”
One of my favorite stories of Blake Shelton is when he supposedly said to one of his singers: “Too much icing! Not enough cake….”
He is, of course, referring to the issue of style over substance, something which is especially important in the music industry, where musicians frequently feel their work is hijacked and cheapened by big label record producers and digital gloss.
It’s a single line, “Too much icing! Not enough cake….”, but it speaks volumes about who he is as an artist, person, and BRAND. Stick to your core mission, identity, and don’t over saturate your image with glitter and confetti. You’re a person, not a carnival attraction! Remember, branding is about the person behind the brand!
Business Takeaway For Entrepreneurs
As I discussed in my article about Gwen Stefani, you must bring authenticity to your brand. Not the kind of ‘authenticity’ built by a marketing company–you have to live your brand so that people will trust the products and services that come out of it.
And just as important is putting your REAL SELF into the brand. Remember, you’re not branding your business, you’re branding yourself as the business. Why do you think Google values authorship so much in search engine results now–people want to follow real people!
Whether it’s country music, pizza, or the love of your life–let your roots and your lifelong passions define who you are as a person. And then let that be the face of your brand!
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Voice for Business Success
Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, The World Leader in Scaling Businesses. She is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of, Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19. Her client list has included Ben & Jerry’s, Supercuts, Charlotte Russe, and Allstate.
Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success and create a more meaningful life. The Pinnacle Global Network, her private mentoring and mastermind enterprise has guided thousands of business owners over the past 10 years. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, Fortune, Fast Company and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN and Fox across the US. Allison has also hosted her own podcast, The Scale or Fail Show, since 2011.