This week’s blog post is a week late. Now, I’m not going to lie, it has been hard trying to work as usual when there are so many things happening in the world. I was taking a break from posting content as usual with respect to the protests in America last week. Check out this resource here if you want to find ways to help.
So, this week, let’s talk about provocative branding.
You probably know that provocative branding and marketing have been here since the beginning of time. It seems like in the past, the only way to sell something or someone would be by being provocative. And while it’s a very effective marketing and branding strategy, it has an awful name. No one likes provocative people, at least in public.
But if we take a look at some of the most successful people in the last decade or two, most of them had very provocative brands or at least provocative phases in their careers. So, it shows that when provocative branding is done right, it can be a great selling point.
Now, I don’t think that just because provocative branding works, it doesn’t mean that everyone should use it. It’s essential to align with your personal values and character when creating a personal brand. But, if you’re one of those who don’t feel great pretending to be a good girl online to grow your personal brand and want to spice it up, then let’s talk about how you can do it correctly.
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So, let’s start by looking at some well provocative personal brands out there:
#1: Lauryn Evans Bosstick from The Skinny Confidential
As you might know, I’m a huge fan of Lauryn and her brand. I mentioned before that I found her reading Crushing It, and while my first impression wasn’t the best when I came back the second time, I fell in love.
She’s a wellness and lifestyle blogger/podcaster/writer/entrepreneur, this girl wears many hats. I love her tips and podcast as it’s always very valuable and entertaining, but the thing I love the most about her is her personal brand. Lauryn is a fucking badass bitch. She’s honest, funny, straightforward, and her brand would be considered provocative.
Lauryn always honestly talks about blowjobs, boob-jobs, and everything your conservative grandma pretends doesn’t exist, and I’m here for it. As are millions of other people who read her blog and listen to her podcast. She talks about branding on her platforms a lot as that’s something that interests her, and she has been open about the fact that some work opportunities didn’t happen, because of her provocative and out there branding.
However, missing out on those opportunities actually made her more successful because she doesn’t have integrity issues when it comes to working with brands. She built fantastic trust between her and her audience due to her being so unapologetically her crazy self. And I mean crazy in the best way possible.
#2: Mark Manson
If you didn’t know, Mark Manson is a rebel of the self-help book community and an author of ‘The Subtle Art of Not Giving a Fuck.’ When his book first came out, it got many people offended because it had the big fat F word on the cover. His brand is edgy and provocative and very distinctive in the self-help industry.
He has been sincere in many interviews that the self-help industry doesn’t like him because of his brand. He’s very openly calling everyone out, and some people find it intimidating. But that’s why it works, he’s different and edgy, and that’s very attractive in a self-help industry where everyone is fluffy and boring.
I like to look at Mark Manson as an excellent example for writers and bloggers who want to build their personal brands. Marks’ provocative brand shows that you don’t need to be like everyone else in the industry to succeed. If everyone else looks and feels like fluffy rabbits and you feel like an edgy devil, you can use that to your advantage.
#3: Tana Mongeau
I’ve already spoken about Tana on The FOXY SOUL Show, and I mentioned some points about her provocative and scandalous brand. She’s a great example of an internet personality with a very edgy branding who managed to get career opportunities many others couldn’t.
Of course, she’s not the only influencer who managed to get into mainstream media, there are others like Lilly Singh or Liza Koshy, and those two are very fluffy. But Tana is an excellent example of what a well done provocative brand looks like.
Tana’s brand is very her, she’s not trying to pretend she’s someone else, she’s using her strengths and weaknesses to build a memorable brand. Because her provocative branding is very honest and likable, even massive scandals don’t damage her reputation. And that shows that even if you fuck up, as long as you have a good relationship with your audience, you can survive.
#4: Kim Kardashian
Kim is probably the OG provocative celebrity. Her whole family is very controversial and provocative, and they have been from the beginning. And it made them the most famous family in America.
Now, Kim K has built her brand on being real and being different. When someone was telling her that she can’t do something or she should’ t do something, she proved them wrong. She changed the whole fashion and beauty industry. We used to aspire to skinny celebrities, and Kim K made us want to have a voluptuous glass figure. It’s incredible how much influence this woman has, and it’s even more amazing how she has done it all being provocative and different.
Rule breakers tend to be people who change the world and set trends.
BEING AUTHENTIC TO YOURSELF
Now that we discussed a few examples of compelling and provocative brands, we can see that being provocative can be a great way to stand out in a crowd. If you’re feeling like adding some spice to your personal brand, it would be an excellent way for you to grow, don’t be shy to do that.
You know, that’s the thing with personal branding, many people assume that it’s all about perfect PR and looking as good as possible in the public eye, morally and all. But in reality, it’s all about being your authentic self and standing out in a crowd.
I remember when I was getting into freelance at first a few years ago, I didn’t know about personal branding. But I saw that all those other freelance people were all looking pretty the same. Women had perfect millennial pink blogs and Canva fonts, and that was not me, but I tried to fit in, so I used all those things as well. It didn’t work out for me as the clients were not coming, I wasn’t standing out in any way, and I started hating freelancing as I had to pretend someone I’m not.
Now, after almost three years, I’m so much more aware and comfortable with my personal brand. It’s me from inside out, and I’m producing a much higher quality everything because I’m doing it authentically to me.
MISTAKES PEOPLE MAKE AND HOW NOT TO FAIL
Now, I want to take a look at a few mistakes that people tend to make when they’re trying to be edgy. These mistakes are why we shy away from provocative branding, as everyone thinks it can only be bad. But it doesn’t have to, and if you are careful and mindful, everything negative can be avoided.
Mistake #1: People trying too hard when it’s not who they really are
The first mistake people make is that they think doing scandalous things will get them fame, but it doesn’t align with their personal brand and end up hurting them in the long run. I think this mistake happens to many reality TV stars as they tend to change and adjust their personalities the most, to get more fame or views and recognition.
And while if you’re in the entertainment industry, I don’t see anything wrong in amplifying or exaggerating your personality a little bit. But when it comes to turning from a sweet girl next door into a neighborhood hooker purely for the exposure, we have an issue. It’s not only going to eat you inside and will make it difficult to sustain, but it will also hurt your brand as it’s not done in an authentic and real way. People are not stupid nowadays, they know when public personas are fooling them, so don’t try to pretend someone you’re not. Even if it looks profitable in the short term.
Solution: always be and do only authentic and genuine to yourself. If you’re not provocative naturally, don’t try to force it. Short term fame or profit is not worth risking your long term game. Also, mentally you’re not going to feel the best, and it can ruin your chance at staying in this game long term.
Mistake #2: Pushing the limits
Some people just don’t know when to stop. Some people think that being provocative is equal to being racist, sexist, or having no morals. The Paul brothers are a great example here.
Both of the Paul brothers are controversial and have been from the very start of their careers. Both of them were controversial in different ways, though. Everyone that has internet remembers the fiasco Logan had at the beginning of 2018 when he went to Japan and filmed a dead body and laughed at it. It was a scandal that reached every corner of the world, and it truly hit his brand.
In his mind, Logan was probably thinking that he’s just doing something that’s on-brand for him and being provocative and edgy. In reality, he was being disrespectful and insensitive. He was pushing the limit, and it backfired. Being an inconsiderate dick is not the same as being edgy with your personal brand.
Solution: be mindful and empathetic, simple as that. Always make sure that things you’re saying or doing are not something that would hurt someone. There are plenty of other ways to be edgy without hurting others.
So, let’s sum up everything we discussed today.
Being provocative and edgy in your personal brand strategy can be a great way to stand out in a crowd. But you have to do it in a way that’s tasteful and authentic to yourself.
Great examples of provocative branding that we can learn from:
#1: The Skinny Confidential
#2: Mark Manson
#3: Tana Mongeau
#4: Kim K
The worst mistakes people make when trying to be edgy:
Mistake #1: Trying too hard when it’s not who they truly are. It’s important to stay true to yourself, and it will benefit your personal brand more in the long term.
Mistake #2: Pushing the limits. It’s always important to be mindful and empathetic as being an asshole is not a brand.
So, as you can see, good personal branding doesn’t have to be only professional and strict looking. The purpose of a personal brand is to make you stand out in your own authentic way.