brand, influencer, social media marketing, affiliate marketing, persona,

How to choose your brand – and why an authentic brand is important

Your brand is your identity. It’s you, or what you want to project, summed up. Your fans should look at it and instantly know what you’re all about. Everything you do should then inform it. Does it get a bit reductionist, especially when we’re talking about influencers and celebrities: lone people who are more complex than that? Sure. But it’s also hugely beneficial. It helps focus your demographic, appeals you to fans, and aids your marketing efforts.

But can picking the wrong brand go wrong? We’re looking at a few real-world internet case studies to see the pitfalls of the wrong brand, and how to fix it.

Ex-Try Guy, Ned Fulmer

So, to start with the scandal that kicked it off: Ned Fulmer. Ned Fulmer has been going viral in the worst way possible. His extensive fanbase is analysing every piece of footage that was ever captured of him, trying to retroactively see the red flags.

He was caught, by a fan, getting very close to a producer of the Try Guys, who isn’t his wife. This would ordinarily be no big deal. Cheating scandals are so 90’s. Except Ned made one fatal mistake: his brand.

So often through the “drama”, you would see fans say, “But his whole brand is being the guy who loves his wife”, and fan edits soon confirmed this by splicing together every time Ned mentioned his wife on camera, whether the subject merited it or not.

Ned was on a very high pedestal, that he himself jumped off of. His fans were hurt more than they ordinarily would be if this were, say, Adam Levine because it was expected of Levine. They felt betrayed almost as much as Fulmer’s wife and wondered if they really knew any one of the Try Guys at all. It might be a tame scandal by today’s standards, but the branding turned it into a huge scandal that rocked the company.

Def Noodles

Def Noodles, or Dennis Feitosa, is an example of the “Holier than thou” brand and the great pitfall that comes with that. Despite calling himself a comedian, Def Noodles made a name for himself giving his opinion on every internet story every day, which covers some topics that you should not be joking about. And he didn’t, unless you consider essentially saying “This is wrong” with elaborate language comedy. It was very much the approach of a late night host. Which would be fine, if he then didn’t use “I was joking” as an excuse for some bad takes.

And these were not earth-shattering bad takes. Just that a minority of watchers didn’t love it. Nothing that should destroy a career. But the higher they climb, the further they fall. And not only that, the more precarious your pedestal and the easier it is to knock you off.

Def Noodles has since doubled, tripled, and quadrupled down on his “scandal” if you can even call it that, snowballing one or two bad takes into an excuse for everyone on the internet to laugh at his jokes – or not.

Logan Paul in Puerto Rico

But this isn’t to say that being “the good guy” in your branding will always be a recipe for knocking you off your pedestal. On the contrary, the “edgy” brand can be something that follows you around as much as a rap sheet.

Logan Paul has become the face of “Rich people who move to Puerto Rico for the tax break” and has recently come into criticism for it since Hurricane Fiona hit. Why has he become the face of this controversy? Because he’s “the Suicide Forest Guy”. The event in the Suicide Forest was only the peak of his controversial moments that were building throughout his YouTube career, and despite his efforts to at least appear to have changed, rarely does anyone believe him. His bad boy image has turned him into the boy who cried wolf.

One big mistake is likely to cripple a creator’s career, but people forget and it’s possible for them to recover. Whereas a brand of constant misdeeds will follow an influencer around for their entire career.

Colossal is Crazy

An example of an influencer doing the “edgy” brand right would be someone like Colossal, or to use his full name, Colossal is Crazy. You could never call him politically correct, or something to aspire to be, but he’s a demonstration that fans have a line that you can’t cross and that there is a middle ground to branding. Colossal slips un-PC comments into his regular conversation, which is mainly on his TBH podcast nowadays, but he also holds people accountable for the important things, shown in a catalogue of videos where he could rival the Prince Andrew interview in the seat of journalist Emily Maitlis.

Being edgy can be an aesthetic, like Monster energy drinks or Dead Man’s Fingers rum, to great success no less. But you can back up a better brand that simply looks edgy with your actions, like sustainable or ethical business practices.

Ultimately, it comes back down to authenticity. If you are someone who truly loves their wife, you won’t have to unnaturally inject it on screen. If you are someone funny, people will laugh. If you are not squeaky clean but your moral compass points north on the important things, people will believe you. Let your brand be yourself and you won’t commit the one crime all of these cases did: being proved fake.

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