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Brand: Kathie Lee Gifford

Kathie Lee Gifford, Today Show co-host and author of a new book  Just When I Thought I’d Dropped My Last Egg: Life and Other Calamities (Ballentine Hardcover) http://budurl.com/ur65 was the guest speaker at the New York City Women’s Media Group luncheon Monday, May 18th.   

She had some very insightful thoughts on branding.  I suspect she doesn’t think of herself as a brand, but because my business is brand communications and marketing, I heard her talk through that filter and found that she exemplifies what I consider to be some of the most essential elements necessary for a strong brand: aspiration, inspiration and motivation.  I’d like to share a few quotes from her talk as illustration.

“You can have it all but not all at once.” This is Kathie Lee’s aspirational brand promise.  It tells her audience that she (and they) can live rich and fulfilling lives but there are some sacrifices which must be made along the way in terms of timing.  Kathie Lee shares stories of Broadway opportunities left behind when her children were very young and of new Broadway offers coming to her at a better time in her family life.  She talks about her decision to co-host the fourth hour of The Today Show, which some might view as a lesser spotlight than her position on Regis and Kathie Lee, but which was a very creative and rewarding new opportunity for her.  Her brand promise tells the consumer/viewer that Kathie Lee believes in going after your dreams, fully understanding and evaluating the personal “cost.”  Aspirational Brand promises resonate with the intended core audience and tell them that their aspirations are available to them – at some point in their lives.  This promise is spot on brand messaging for Kathie Lee’s intended audience.

“At my age, I’m delighted to be anywhere…”  Kathie Lee uses mild self mockery and humor as a way to identify with her core audience.  Here she tells her audience that she’s been through a lot in her life, as have they, and she understands their lives.   She also told the audience that she’s the oldest host on the Today Show other than Willard Scott.  An inspirational brand message tells the consumer that the brand is “just like her.” This brand understands that her audience is looking to her for inspiration and wants to know that even if it’s a struggle, success is possible – even later in life.

“My career is how I make my living.  It is not my whole life.”  This is Brand Kathie Lee’s Mission Statement and provides motivation for the viewer.  This gives her audience insight into what to expect from her.  She will talk about her husband and children.  She will make public appearance choices based on that mision.  She will moderate or alter her public life accordingly.  This motivational statement tells the viewer that by associating with Brand Kathie Lee, their lifestyle choices are not just validated but celebrated.  Her brand promises to provide information and entertainment which will always be guided by her Mission Statement.  They can trust and value her brand and “consume” it with confidence.  She motivates her audience to trust her and therefore, the information she presents to them.

Overall, Brand Kathie Lee’s core messages are clear and  she presents herself as sincere, funny, dedicated to family, creative and spiritual.  This says “I have a wonderful career but I have a life outside of work.  Family life is more important to me than my life in the public eye.” This brand promise tells her audience who she is and invites key emotional identifyers to join her.  She expertly positions her brand for clarity and her ideal audience can find her easily.

Which other celebrities do you think are managing their brand successfully?  Why? 


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