The Bravo TV Guide To Building A Personal Brand
Not-Really-A-Disclosure: I’m a secret Bravo TV fan. Guilty pleasure. Don’t tell anyone. Wink.
Jeff Lewis, star of Flipping Out
Bethenny Frankel, star of The Real Housewives of New York City and Bethenny Getting Married
Patti Stanger, star of The Millionaire Matchmaker
What do these three have in common? Is there more than meets the eye? Are they “just” TV stars or are they entrepreneurial artists? Spoiler alert: These three are brand building machines complete with unique, profitable businesses and a healthy dose of diva. What can we learn from these bravo-lebrities?
Here are some takeaways for the aspiring and rising entrepreneurial artist.
Jeff, Bethenny, and Patti have different personalities, but they certainly all have one.
Jeff is a little quieter, but is prone to literally flipping out (pun intended) on pretty much everyone with is OCD tendencies. Bethenny and Patti are more “in-your-face, tell-it-like-it-is, did-she-just-say-that?” types.
More importantly, and the big lesson here, all three have used their personalities to create memorable brands – both under their own names and beyond. Bethenny created Skinny Girl, which is really her personality in a literal bottle. Patti Stanger has The Millionaire’s Club. Jeff Lewis just launched a new line of home furnishings and fabrics.
If you are building a brand around you, the big lesson here is YOU have to be interesting. Nobody rallies around average or boring. And by rallying a fan base, the opportunities are limitless.
#2: Passion, Expertise, and Practice
Jeff has an uncanny ability to turn ordinary houses into works of art. Bethenny has crazy skills in the kitchen. Patti is a third generation matchmaker who is blessed with the ability to read people and match them with their soulmates.
All three are entrepreneurial artists (as opposed to starving artists). They are not overnight successes. It has taken years of work and effort to get where they are at today (Example: Patti Stanger told me in this interview that it took her nearly 10 years to get her show on Bravo). Honing skills, trying different things, and becoming known.
Bottom line is that knowledge comes from passion and hard work. Getting your hands dirty. Passion keeps you going during the rough times. It doesn’t happen overnight even though it might appear that way.
What is your aspiring expertise, talent, and passion?
#3: High End Niche, and Then World Domination
All three of the Bravo divas dominate a specific niche of people. And going further, once they dominate one niche, they continue to dominate it and spread into other areas.
Patti Stanger focuses on the high-end dating market (with a specific leaning towards men), which is a historically underserved market. She talks about it candidly in this interview with me at The Millionaire’s Club offices in Los Angeles. Patti has expanded beyond her core business now and has packaged her expertise in other ways (such as advice columns, books, DVDs, etc.) to “non-millionaires”, which has expanded her empire.
Jeff Lewis focuses on the high-end residential real estate market in Los Angeles. His assistant, Jenni Pulos, deals some dirt about Jeff in this interview (fun to watch because Jenni is awesome and created a rap for The Rise To The Top). Now he continues to service that niche, but has also taken the plunge into commercial property (such as restaurants) and doing private consultations around the world (including a recent one here in Missouri).
Bethenny Frankel’s empire is a little less niche specific (but not much). Her cooking, products, books, etc. are aimed at women. Often, these women are of the higher end, “luxurious, yet fun” market.
What is interesting about the three is they all originally focused on the high-end market, and then, essentially, trickled down into other markets. Definitely something to think about for all our businesses.
The platform in this case is Bravo TV. Bravo Executive VP, Andy Cohen, has created a stage and audience for the three to show their talents. And this platform has been instrumental to their success and business leverage. Few people would know about all three if it weren’t for Bravo TV.
Does this mean that we all need to aspire to be on Bravo or another cable station? Not at all (unless you do, of course). But it does mean that a platform of some kind (new or traditional media) is a requirement. It can be one you don’t own (such as being on a show, writing for a magazine, etc.) or something YOU create (blog, web show, online magazine). There are massive success stories on both sides of the coin. Regardless of the route you take (both have pros and cons), the major lesson is the absence of a platform can be detrimental.
#5: Leveraging Time With a Backend Business Model
Sure, Jeff, Bethenny, and Patti make money from their shows, but all three have backend business models where they cash in on their art. They aren’t just pretty faces smiling and waving on TV.
Their empires are diverse.
Bethenny Frankel: Her empire includes a diverse array of products and her brand Skinny Girl. Her first three books, Naturally Thin: Unleash Your SkinnyGirl and Free Yourself from a Lifetime of Dieting and The SkinnyGirl Dish: Easy Recipes for Your Naturally Thin Life have been best-sellers. Her Skinny Girl brand is highlighted by an extremely popular margarita drink.
Patti Stanger: Patti’s main business is The Millionaire’s Club where wealthy individuals pay to be set up. Patti also has numerous licensing deals with dating websites, a radio show on XM called “P.S I Love You”, as well as a slew of products ranging from a new DVD, to her book Become Your Own Matchmaker: 8 Easy Steps for Attracting Your Perfect Mate.
Jeff Lewis: Jeff is still the least product-focused of the three (meaning he often trades time for money), with his personality-driven design company Jeff Lewis Design where he does consults and projects. However, Jeff is now making the leap into the product world with licensing his name for a new line of pillows, lighting, wallpaper, and more for the home, called Jeff Lewis by Alluminare.
Wrapping It Up
Building an entrepreneurial empire from a personal brand takes time, effort, guts and creativity. Don’t let that scare you off. The opportunities are endless. The niches to dominate are endless. The potential revenue streams are endless.
Will you be the next Patti, Jeff, or Bethenny? The next creative, entrepreneurial artist?
PS: Like this article? Don’t be shy and feel free to pass it on to others. Spread the love on Twitter, Facebook, pony express, whatever you want.
PPS: Looking to learn how to market and promote yourself and your expertise without being a jerkface? Nab a copy of my new book, Smarter, Faster, Cheaper: Non-Boring, Fluff-Free Strategies for Marketing and Promoting Your Business.
categories: David's Blog
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