Chances are, when you hear the word “Oprah”, you don’t need context, a last name, or any additional details.
You know exactly who it’s referring to – Lady O also known as Oprah Winfrey, the modern day media maven and self-made media billionaire.
So how did she do it?
How did Oprah build a brand so massive that people, near and far, can instantly associate her name with one of her many, many products?
As a member of a quickly growing company and community with the goal of building a globally recognized brand through account-based marketing, creating a master plan to take over the marketing world is daunting, especially if you’ve never done it.
So I decided to consult the Oprah guide to brand building and, with the help of my LinkedIn network, came up with the top three ways to grow a brand like Lady O’s.
Simply put – keep it real.
From the moment Oprah discovered she wanted to pursue a career in broadcast television, she was relentless in seeing her passion come to fruition. Even when she was fired from her first on-air position and got re-shifted to a lesser known show on that network with weak ratings, she was committed to changing the outlook of her skills as a journalist and the ratings of the show.
What started off as a demotion for Oprah, quickly turned into the catalyst that fueled her career into the empire it is today, but she did it by continuing to stay true to herself and the type of content she wanted to produce.
Everyday, Oprah gave her audience the honest, sincere representation of herself. As Ola Ayeni put it, “She listens as attentively as a therapist, weaves in her own opinions as smooth as a good friend, but provides the loving comfort as a nurturing mother.”
When determining the direction of your brand, it’s important to recognize the best ways to relate to your target demographics without alienating them, but drawing them closer.
Seize the opportunity.
After Oprah’s daytime television became the holy grail of daytime TV, she decided to integrate her brand (and namesake) into almost every other industry you can imagine.
Maya Clark noted that Oprah has way of staying connected with different audiences through a myriad of channels – she now owns a monthly magazine, her OWN television network (pun intended), a production company and is about to try her hand at a food line.
Once Oprah solidified her place as the Queen of Daytime with an audience and community that was bought into her brand, she rightfully ventured into other areas she knew her target demographic was focused on and would support her in.
Building a brand can seem stressful with limitless options to create available, but don’t let it deter you from focusing on one aspect, making it great, then moving on to another avenue.
As long as you’ve built that audience and created a product that people want to support, moving on to different opportunities can only help expand your brand.
Oprah literally changed the face of daytime television as we know it by simply being bold enough to go places with her content and guests that no other talk show host had gone.
She wasn’t afraid to ask her guests tough questions, all the while showing respect and keeping them at ease. She was giving her audience the information they craved without upsetting her guests and allowing them to shut down.
Oprah’s personal story is unlike a lot of other notable daytime talk show hosts – she’s a black woman from the Deep South with a weird name.
She was so fearless in her pursuit of success that none of that mattered. She paved her way and allowed her brand to be relatable and accessible to everyone, regardless of race, gender, age, etc.
Being your brand’s number one fan is essential to getting other people to become a fan. You have to be fearless in trying every single thing you can to elevate your brand to where you want it.