Americans will spend an estimated $6.9 billion on Halloween in 2015, with $74 being the average amount spent per household on spooky decorations, candy, costumes and more for All Hallows Eve. There are the enthusiasts who take time to plan and are willing to spend more of their hard-earned money on props and over-the-top costumes, while the procrastinators are forced to pick over whatever is left at the pop-up party stores.
When thinking about Halloween you need to be creative, whether your costumed as a ghoul or beautiful princess, you want to attract attention. To have fun at a Halloween party and create a buzz you can’t just walk into a party with a hat on your head saying that you are some character- you need to put in time, thought and effort into your Halloween ‘look ‘ in order to stand out. Sound familiar? These are the same strategies that apply when you want to grow and build your personal brand.
- Planning – is necessary if you want to wear a really great costume on Halloween – a store bought costume is OK, but the best costume for you will result from your imagination, time and effort. This is true as well when creating a really great Brand; it requires imagination along with time and effort. Your objective is to get the attention of your audience and to enhance brand recognition.
- Attract attention – a quality costume is one that stands out from the crowd and turns heads. How many scary clowns, zombies and generic vampires have you seen at a party or trick or treating? An attention getting costume will bring greater rewards and help to build relationships.
- Be creative – think about your costume; do you want to be one of the 20 pirates at a party? Let your imagination shine and think about how you can express yourself. Create your own costume or embellish one bought from the store. Different is always better, the same goes with your personal branding. Focus on your differentiators whenever possible.
- Be memorable and different – I have seen many memorable costumes over the years. By far the most memorable one was one I saw on my way to a Halloween party on the Lower East Side of Manhattan in the late 90’s. While on our way to the party, we saw a man in costume turn a corner about a half block away from us. He was dressed in a huge Transformers costume made out of painted cardboard boxes that looked completely authentic, as realistic and detailed as the CGI beings from the Michael Bay films. The back of the costume had fins, didn’t look very comfortable, and the guy inside might have had lifts on. It was painted and decorated perfectly, down to the smallest details. Even more surprising, there were about 20 people following him with cameras; an Autobot Pied Piper. It was a rolling event the closer he got to us. Suddenly he approached and everyone waiting to get into the party (30 or 40 people) started to applaud for what seemed like minutes. This is the classic example of creating a buzz and being remarkable. This guy did something so unique and special and almost so perfect he attracted amazing attention. Long before social media, people “followed” him – he created his own parade and people applauded him (“Liking” him) and commented in the street about how awesome he was. Cheers and shouts, applause and whistles fill the street. It was a memorable happening. It shows that with planning, creativity, commitment and a great idea amazing attention can be garnered.
- Be committed – Go all in with your costume; if you are going to do it, do it right and go all the way – here’s a modern day example of my story above about a costume that took 1,600 man-hours to build.
- Be clear – Ever see somebody in a costume but you don’t know what they are trying to be? Be clear in what you do when you brand yourself. You should never get the question “What do you do?” after somebody has read your blog, follows you online, has seen you speak or watched you in a video. They should know exactly what you do, why you do it and what you’re passionate about.
- Have fun and act the part. Part of dressing up for Halloween is the freedom to be something different and play a role. Understand your characters, do some research, know some facts and have some fun. Live the character for the day or for the party and this interaction will allow you to have more fun; allow those you are with to enjoy your personality. Your career should be fun, embrace your brand and live it with passion.
- Be appropriate – Have the right costume for the right event. If the party is for adults you know how to dress; if it is a kiddie party you will not want to be too grotesque or too sexy. The same is true for networking and when you’re in the business world. Dress appropriately for all occasions. Use your look to your advantage and make it part of your brand. I have discussed this in other blogs but take the time to think about your look and how it helps you to convey who you are, what you do and why people should work with you and trust you. Inappropriate activities such as hard selling or getting involved in controversial issues will drive people away vs attracting people with whom you want to work.
Halloween is a great season and one that allows for us to be creative and have fun. Growing your brand must be fun and you must be creative. Have a plan for your brand and examine all of the factors that play a part in who you are, what you do, why you do it and why others should trust and work with you.
By Bill Corbett