My original title for this post was How To Become A Self Promoting Slut. I thought it would be bold and a lot more attention grabbing than “Marketing Your Brand” which is what this post is about. Just so you know, I even went to the trouble of seeing what other people on the web thought of the s-word and opinions seem to be divided so I figured: I'm going with it! The original title was also extremely accurate: once you have developed your personal brand, your full time job will be to market that brand non-stop. Anyway, for this part of our 4 Easy Steps To Creating The Brand Called You, I thought I’d do something a little different. This post on marketing your brand is going to be a case study in personal branding. Even though I dis’d his home studio in a prior post, Aaron Marino, the man behind Alpha M Image Consulting and ever the gentleman, graciously gave of his time and described for me how he built and marketed his personal brand. Which also explains why I had to change the title: I was looking at the finished product with the picture of Aaron right under the title and I knew someone was going to get the totally wrong idea. My shock marketing tactics will have to wait for another day, but at least I feel better about the whole thing! In any event, on with the case study:
The guy’s guide: image, style and fashion expertise for the average, everyday guy from a regular, heterosexual guy who happens to have a distinguished talent for fashion and image awareness.
What It Means
Aaron’s brand stands for redefining the alpha male.
Aaron is a YouTube sensation, providing advice to men on how to manage their image. Aaron covers everything from fashion, style, hygiene and character development for the average, everyday guy. His short video segments are immediately appealing, accessible, and helpful, and as a result they garner thousands of views. He’s a regular guy with a developed fashion awareness: a guy who happens to know about cuts, fit, fabrics and threads. He teaches basic fashion and image lessons that work for real guys. As a result, Aaron has established himself as an authority on men’s style and image on the internet. Through his YouTube channel, his reach is global and he is now sought after for fashion advice and image consulting from men all over the world.
How It Started
Aaron started with a web site, blog and ebook called Male Style Guide. His early target market was middle aged, recently divorced men trying to get back out into the dating scene. As Aaron got busier, the blog became harder to maintain and he started making videos that he published on YouTube. The videos were a huge hit and opened a whole new set of opportunities. Aaron, now 35, noticed that his videos appealed not just to middle aged guys, but also a younger audience: young men looking for basic skills in fashion and image. When Aaron started posting videos, there were tons of videos and channels on YouTube dedicated to women’s fashion and style (try searching for "makeup" or “outfit of the day” and you’ll see what I mean), but there was scarcely anything on the topics of fashion and style for the regular guy. Aaron took a first mover advantage on YouTube for the everyday male fashion and style market segment. The brand has evolved beyond male fashion and style to include character development. Aaron now advocates a rebirth of chivalry to go along with the confident and self assured character that comes with looking good.
In the early days when he was promoting his web site, Aaron used Google Adwords and described it as the “best bang” for his buck at the time. While Adwords were good, the development of the YouTube channel was a game changer: his reach became global and has resulted in his business taking off. Just like the YouTube videos, Aaron recommends going after free press over advertising. He suggests emailing the editors of magazines and newspapers relevant to your target market and pitching actual story ideas. You’re helping them and helping yourself at the same time, and it doesn’t cost anything.
Aaron told me that he receives emails almost every day now by men telling him how much his short videos have helped them turn their lives around. Knowing that he impacts the lives of others in a meaningful and significant way means the most to Aaron. I could feel a bit of the emotion in Aaron’s voice when he told me about this, and it’s a reminder that what we do as a contribution to others that is the real payoff - not the business or the money. One could only describe Aaron's videos as a genuine service to the fashion challenged male.
Words of Wisdom
Once you’ve defined your brand and your passion, think outside of the box: besides your niche, what is your “gimmick”, what is that thing that you do differently that makes you memorable. Go with it, and become a self promoting slut. Identify all the avenues and streams to get the word out!
Besides sharing the story of his brand and how he markets it, Aaron also provided some tips for the average guy on how to “package yourself”, because as we know, how you look is an important component of packaging your brand:
- Grooming: Spend an additional 3 to 5 minutes per day on grooming. Develop a schedule so that your appearance is always maintained in an efficient manner. For example, trim nose hair on tuesdays and thursdays, trim your nails on wednesdays, eyebrows on fridays, etc.
- The gym: Engage in some kind of physical activity for 30 minutes 6 days a week. If you can only get out 5 days a week, bump that up to 40 minutes. It doesn’t have to be the gym: it could be playing racketball, hockey, etc...
- Dressing on a budget: Good clothes don’t have to cost a lot. Some discount stores will sell designer suits for $120 and good shoes for $59. Be patient and spend the time looking around for these deals. If you are on a distressed budget, even thrift stores can be the source of good clothes.
Finally Aaron's must have wardrobe. Every guy must have at least the following in his closet:
- One pair of great jeans (not necessarily expensive, just great fitting).
- One pair of black loafers that you could wear with jeans or even a suit.
- One good belt to match the shoes.
- One great fitting white dress shirt.
- One suit, preferably charcoal grey (a color that could be worn on virtually any occassion).
For more information on Aaron Marino, check out Alpha M Image Consulting and definitely go to his YouTube channel. Besides being helpful, the videos are extremely entertaining. My wife and I have had a good laugh watching some of them, usually because I’m guilty of various fashion sins described by Aaron. If you’ve suffered a fashion crisis your entire life like I have, you might want to consider getting in touch with Aaron. He’s the real deal when it comes to male image and a really great guy. Thanks Aaron!
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