- Who & Why?
Category Archive for: ‘weight gain’
At the recent Country Music Awards (CMA), I saw a very entertaining, yet unusual occurrence. The show paired two very unlikely brands to sing the first song of the night.
Out on stage came Miranda Lambert, who is about 40 pounds lighter these days. That was just fine. However, she came out with Meghan Trainor who sings the hit song, “All About The Bass ”. What an odd duo vocally.
Not only was the duet an odd brand pairing vocally, but it was visually strange. Here they were singing about how they were bringing booty back and that size is irrelevant. Miranda Lambert was looking sleek and thin, obviously through effort and a desire for it, singing it doesn’t matter our size.
Yet, Miranda Lambert has been very verbally public with her weight loss and well, less of a booty these days. While Lambert has said she is happy any size and loves to eat fried chicken, she has also said she loves being inspired to look at/listen to Brittany Spears when working out.
I respect her verbal stand on the topic, but if I hadn’t read anything about her stance and just saw the performance, my perception would possibly be very skewed for the worse.
In brand development, I always point out the “2 C’s”: Clarity and Consistency. Clarity is all about knowing who you are as an artist and as a human. It would seem Miranda Lambert is clear that she prefers being a smaller size and that’s fine. Consistency is about communicating your same brand in the same manner every time to everyone. Without consistency, your audience gets confused, can’t track you, relate to you, be your biggest fan or follow you. Since branding is all subconscious processing of information, perhaps your fans won’t actually be thinking these exact thoughts, but they will be “feeling” something is off and uncomfortable for them- about you.
I remember when I first stopped practicing law, I had no clarity on who I was as a personal brand. Since I had decided to stop practicing law, I was so lost and confused. My identity as a “lawyer” had been stripped from me. I had no idea who I was, much less how to consistently show up as a brand. As the first step to my brand clarity, it took me really learning that I was NOT my career/profession in order to really be able to show up and gain a following.
So seeing Miranda Lambert up on stage singing a song about loving ourselves regardless of size when she had lost all that weight, was not true to her current visual brand, I would say. I think it is great that she has lost so much weight. Good for her. But you always have to watch what brand statement you are making with anything in your life, including weight loss. This is especially true when you are up on stage standing next to someone who has a current brand around a hit song stating verbally the opposite.
What does this mean for you? I realize both “C”s are hard to master. For starters, all you need to do is to be self-aware. Be self-aware of who you are and how you want that message to come across to others.
Remember, branding is subconscious perception. That means, you have to know it and believe it before we do. And yes, your visual brand matters just as much as the verbal brand message you give us. Always remember, we likely see you first before we hear from you, so you need consistent verbal and visual brand messages.
With the holidays in full swing, most of us are focused on holiday parties, food, calories and the extra pounds we’ll have to lose once January rolls around. For most of us, we gain a few pounds and lose a few pounds. That’s our cycle- up and down. However, the changes are only really noticeable by us. Very few others really notice our weight swings- we just feel like everyone else can tell.
However, what about the situations where someone loses or gains more than a few pounds? We all surely notice that significant change. If we lose a lot of weight, people are more likely to comment than if we gain a lot of weight. It is just socially the correct thing to do. No one wants to bring to light your 40 pound weight gain. However, we’ll congratulate you on your 40 pound weight loss.
So how does all of this impact your personal brand?
I was listening to a radio talk show last week. They were commenting on how Ralphie May, the comedian, had lost a noticeable amount of weight and the impact on his career. May was the runner up of Last Comic Standing in 2003. He was known as the funny and fat comedian, hitting a high of 800 pounds at one point. Now he is apparently under 400 pounds and still working on it. Does this drop in weight mean that his personal brand is no longer recognizable? Will his career take a hit? Since perception in branding is everything, will he no longer be perceived as the funny and fat comedian?
Other famous folks have also lost weight over the years and had a change in their personal brand. Such celebrities include Sharon Osborne, Al Roker, Roseanne Barr, Brian Dennehy and Randy Jackson, to name a few. In the case of actor Jonah Hill, of movies such as Superbad and Knocked Up, who lost over 40 pounds, I had no idea who he was when I saw him post weight loss (his ears seemed larger all of a sudden!). I can certainly say that at times I didn’t recognize any person at all post weight loss.
Since brand recognition is about consistency and how you show up for me, your personal brand certainly takes a hit if you gain or lose weight. However, the health benefits of weight loss certainly counter the loss of brand identity. You’ll live longer and healthier- you’ll just have to have a plan in place for rebuilding and revitalizing your personal brand DURING and post weight loss.
Now if you gain a lot of weight, not only are you jeopardizing your health but you are taking a really negative hit on your personal brand. People will likely see you as someone out of control who can’t manage their weight, life or business. Please don’t get upset over this fact- just know the way humans operate and use it to stay fit and have an effective personal brand. After all, your self-confidence is what attracts us to you and you’re likely to be more self confident if you are at or near your ideal weight.