Love it or hate it, there’s no escaping the all-seeing eye of Celebrity Big Brother this summer. Whilst it’s well-known that the ‘celebrity’ part of the title tends to be somewhat tenuous, in the 15-contestant line-up that paraded before my eyes during the launch night, there was one bright spot, beaming familiarity in all directions: Barry from Eastenders. And that’s when it hit me… Barry from Eastenders is a personal branding genius.
You know who I mean. First name: Barry. Last name: from Eastenders. As the primary contestant of Celebrity Big Brother 2017 bounded onto the catwalk, shaking hands and breaking hearts left, right and centre, I came to the realisation that the whole nation knows who Barry from Eastenders is and what he stands for, despite the fact that he hasn’t been in the long-running soap for nigh on 13 years. People who haven’t even seen Eastenders know who Barry is.
In terms of a brand that sticks in people’s mind, Barry from Eastenders’ hapless yet ultimately loveable buffoon, is bang on the money. So, what lessons can we, as marketers focused on building personal brands through the power of content, take from this?
Lessons from Barry
#1 Don’t expect to get there overnight
The first thing to bear in mind is that, for the most part, the majority of personal brands don’t rocket to success in overnight. Barry from Eastenders put in 10 years of graft in the famous soap before he got shoved off a cliff by his villainous wife Janine. But instead of letting Barry from Eastenders rest at the foot of that cliff, he paid homage to his legendary soap character with a regular role as a comically unemployable version of himself in the Ricky Gervais and Stephen Marchant series Extras where he was consistently known as ‘Barry off Eastenders’.
Successful personal branding as well as content marketing is the result of hard, smart work over the course of months, if not years. In fact, one of the major downsides of content marketing to the companies considering it is, according to Forbes, that it can take a long time to build momentum. Making frequent publishing a priority, optimising content for SEO, posting more evergreen content, and focusing on quality are a few top tips to help speed this process up, but there’s no real shortcut to success.
#2 Be consistent
In the Content Marketing Institute’s ‘Content Marketing in the UK 2016’ report, 58% of respondents named producing content consistently as their biggest challenge. But consistency is important in two different ways. The first relates to frequency, the second to ensuring your content conveys your brand’s voice, values and personality, so that your audience knows what to expect from your organisation.
Barry from Eastenders has cropped up in a long line of skits and sketches – he even took part in a spoof trailer for the 2012 version of CBB where he was crying in a doorway, branded ‘not famous enough’ to enter. Not only does he show up in our lives with dependable frequency, people know what they’re getting when they see him; that down-on-his-luck guy that you simultaneously like and feel sorry for.
Ensure you take steps to deliver consistent content and benefits you can expect include boosting brand awareness, generating more traffic and greater audience engagement.
#3 Make people like you
One of the reasons Barry from Eastenders has reached legendary status amongst the people of Britain is that he refuses to take himself too seriously. If his warm reception as he entered the CBB house is anything to go by, he isn’t just a household name, he is a character that people genuinely like.
Using your content to make your brand more likeable is essential – who wants to do business with a brand they dislike?
Use conversational styles of writing to make your content more relatable and offer advice in a carefully tailored tone so you sound like an expert in your field without coming across as superior. Take the time to get to know your audience so that you can confidently deliver what they want in an authentic manner. It’s also worth mentioning that a little bit of humour never hurt anyone – it certainly worked for Barry.
Despite all this, I can imagine that Barry from Eastenders has actually entered the CBB house to try and shed his ‘Barry from Eastenders’ tagline. Whether he’ll succeed or discover his personal brand has actually, in the manner of Facebook’s robots, taken on a life of its own, is yet to be seen.
If you’re hoping to use content to develop a personal brand that sticks in people’s minds, perhaps you ought to ask yourself: what would Barry do? Saving that, you could come to the experts and drop us a line at M2 Bespoke.