Michael Jordan is a brand.
There’s probably not much debate about that. However, in case you need some proof: Forbes reported that Jordan made more money in 2015 from endorsements ($110 million) than he did for his entire NBA career ($95 million). Most of that "retirement" income was driven by sales of Nike Air Jordan shoes, which were up 14% last year.
So how did Jordan become a brand? Well, for starters, he is arguably the greatest basketball player in history.
He was also very intentional about how he showed up to play.
After his brief stint in baseball, Jordan returned to the NBA in 1995 briefly sporting the number 45 jersey. His former number 23 had been retired, but the basketball superstar couldn’t justify wearing any number other than the one that commemorated the zenith of his career. So, he switched back to 23—even though it violated the NBA’s official dress code policy.
Jordan’s insubordination cost the Chicago Bulls more than $100,000. But after criticism from the media and backlash from fans, the NBA eventually stopped with the fines.
Case in point—Jordan’s talent and prestige made him iconic.
Guess what? You’re a brand, too. Even if you don't have your own line of shoes, you stand for something in the minds of those who encounter you.
Some people believe that a brand is a logo or trademark. However, it’s so much more than that. Your personal brand is the sum of the impressions, perceptions and experiences that collectively define you and set you apart.
As a Launcher, it pays to be intentional about creating a personal brand that reflects well on your product, service or idea. It may seem superficial, but like it or not, people are making these judgments with or without your permission.
With that mind, here are a few questions that may help you assess your personal brand:
- How do you treat people you may never see again?
- How do you carry yourself and dress?
- What makes you unique?
- Are you an effective ambassador for your business?
- What kind of tone are you known for?
Do any of these questions stand out as being potentially problematic as you prepare to launch? If so, what can you do to make a positive change?