What Rudolph can teach us about Differentiation and Image

Rudolph
Image courtesy of Syracuse.com via Rankin/Bass productions

 

Christmastime is my favorite time of the year.  I love watching the old 1970 Christmas TV specials that come on each year such as one of the Rankin/Bass Productions’ classics: “Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer”.  As I watched it the first of December, it deeply resonated with me and with what is going on in society and how we can apply that to our brands.

Rudolph was born with a red nose that can light up.  His family was shocked and his father went to the extreme to cover his nose with dirt to avoid his son being different.  As he made friends and was able to participate in reindeer games, his fake nose was exposed and Rudolph lost his friends.  Even his girlfriend Clarice was forbade by her father not to hang around Rudolph.  His nose was deemed a disability by society which made Rudolph sad enough to run away from home.

From a personal perspective, this hit deep as I’ve seen many instances where the parents of one girl were told not to become too “friendly” to a boy of a different racial background.  Being different isn’t always a bad thing and being around the same type of people can become boring.  I’ve benefitted from diversifying my friends and the colleagues I’ve associate with as they come from different backgrounds and experiences.  Those that are different from you can teach you more about yourself than any classroom.

Now from a professional standpoint, brand managers can brainstorm ideas from watching this television special.  Rudolph left home at a young age and returned when he was older.  Those that were mean to him before apologized to Rudolph.  Even Santa realized he could not delivery toys on Christmas Eve without Rudolph’s special ability.  It is up to the brand managers and their marketing teams to understand how their product or service stands out in a sea of competitors.  Could your company’s niche be attached to a trend that could go viral if pushed on social media?  How can you best message your target audience that they cannot live without your product or service?  These are good questions to ask yourself in preparation for any pushed message or campaign you will prepare for your company.

Differentiate

There is a ton of talent in the world. Many want their share of fame and fortune in the entertainment industry. The problem is most aspiring artists are blending in with what is current and trending instead of trying to set a new standard that many will never get discovered. Even if the artist gets discovered, it may take longer than it would have if the artist would have had their own image. Once they finally have some shine based on the current trend, the next “trend” has already begun to work it’s way through the industry and the artist will again have to adjust to stay relevant.

This can be avoided by differentiation. The artist with their branding team will need to understand what sets them a part from all of the other talent in their category. What works for Justin Bieber may not work for August Alsina, even though both artists are truly talented in the R&B music industry. Lets take a quick look into how August Alsina’s image differs from Justin Bieber’s:

August Alsina

August Alsina
Photo Credit: Allhiphop.com
  • Starting posting on YouTube and following grew
  • Got into drug dealing before being discovered
  • Released other mix tapes previous before his official first release
  • One released studio featured album
  • Newer to the entertainment industry compared to Justin Bieber
  • Preparing for this first official tour

Justin Bieber

justin bieber
Photo credit: The Hollywood Reporter
  • Started posting on YouTube and following grew
  • No released mix tapes prior to first official album release
  • Four released studio albums to date
  • Has had a longevity in the music industry compared to August having finished a worldwide tour that lasted over a year
  • Got into legal trouble after speculation of drug and alcohol abuse

As you can see these two artists are very different in their careers.  August Alsina has opportunities coming his way so he can focus on to further his career.  Justin Bieber has to deal with the legal troubles from his DUI arrest in Florida and his infamous egg throwing incident to one of his California neighbors.

The media loves to report chaos and negativity for sales and website hits.  Until Bieber resolves all of his legal issues, he will continue to be followed by the paparazzi in hopes that they can catch the next chaotic thing Justin will do.  It’s unfortunate that rising talent will have to fight to get media attention for the good things that they’re trying to do but that is the way the media world works.

Outer appearance is a part of the image, along with the artist’s story.  For Justin Bieber he was a cute 15 year old with adorable hair and everyone wanted to interview him. All talk shows wanted to have Bieber perform on their shows.  An artist’s image should invite journalists and reporters to want to get to know you better.  For August Alsina you will usually see him in sunglasses.  This could prompt journalists and reporters to ask more questions as this can be seen to some people as “hiding” from the public.  Either way, it welcomes people to ask questions to get a better understanding.  Now August Alsina is more open either wearing fake glasses or not wearing any at all.

How can an artist get more media coverage about the GOOD things they are doing?  Consider hiring a publicist to help figure out how to not only set the artist a part but how to STAND OUT from the competition.  It is important to understand what image the artist will  want to portray with the media so the media can tell the artist’s story for them.

Side note: I’m doing freelance work for Elvie G PR out of Los Angeles, CA.  Are you a musician that needs public relations work? Please contact me at elviegprcassandra@aol.com to see what we can do for your brand/image!