Branding on “America’s Next Top Model All Star”

It is cycle 17 for America’s Next Top Model. This season has a new twist, fan favorites from past seasons will compete for a second time for the coveted title “America’s Next Top Model All-Star”.

Bringing back former contestants is not the only new element to this season. Cycle 17 is more than being a good model; it is about creating a personal brand. In fact, in episode two, Martin Lindstom, author of Brandwashed came and gave the girls a crash lesson on branding.

He told the girls that you want to be associated with one word and gave each girl a word for their brand based on his audience analysis on each of the girls. Like when you hear the word cowboy, you mind goes to a particular cigarette brand. Or when you hear safety, you may think of a car brand. He choose words like daring, lovable, candid and free to represent the girls’ brands.

Lindstom gave some good advice, and it is interesting to see a reality TV show care about branding. I liked that their brand words were based on the perception of their personalities; however, the girls were not given much say in it at all. For example, one candidate felt that she wanted to represent a minority group she belonged too, but Lindstom basically told her that being who she was is not in style anymore.

We can learn a couple of things through this episode:

  1. Always research what others think of your brand because perception is reality. “It is what people love you for, and you have a duty to give it to them.”
  2. Simplify your brand message to one or two words. “If we confuse our fans too much, we will loose them because they don’t know how to follow us.”
  3. Your overall brand affects every decision you make. “You are going to think about this everyday–every step you take, every piece of clothing you put on.”
This goes to show you can learn about PR in the most unexpected places!

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