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Brand Lessons from a Master

The passing of a legend often gives us pause. Elizabeth Taylor's passing is certainly no exception. The death of the iconic movie star offers us a chance to reexamine one of her greatest skills: understanding the art of personal branding. 

No matter what field you are in: technology, government, sales, or retail, there are timeless personal brand lessons we can learn from this icon of the screen.

1.    Always show a consistent brand.  Every time we saw Taylor, she displayed the same classy image. No in-between.  Did you ever see her in curlers and a house-dress? Your brand needs to do the same. Every time you have a chance to show a public facing, keep your brand on track.

2.    Surround yourself with things that amplify your brand.  Elizabeth Taylor oozed with class. Her brand amplifiers? Diamonds, furs, Dom Perignon, and jet setters. Think of your office/cubicle, your briefcase, smartphone, and clothes. Do they help publicize your brand or detract from it?

3. Surround yourself with people who amplify your brand. Think of the men Taylor associated with: Malcom Forbes, Rock Hudson, Richard Burton. We are known by who we associate with.  At your organization, who do you associate with? Do they help or hurt your brand?

4. Align with a cause.  Taylor was a tireless champion for those afflicted with AIDS.  She became one of the earliest AIDS activists and was known for her outspoken generosity. What cause are you actively promoting?  Don't jump on a charity bandwagon just to get exposure, but don't be shy about aligning with a charity that is in sync with your brand attributes.

5. Don't overexpose your brand.  Taylor knew the trick to good personal branding: let them want more of you. She did not overexpose her brand. Think of Charlie Sheen right now, so many many people are saying "Enough already, Charlie!" Don't flood your organization with your brand output.  A selected and targeted brand campaign is best.

We can thank Elizabeth Taylor for a truckload of great movies and super brand lessons. So curl up tonight  with  a glass of champagne, some popcorn, watch "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" and toast a great brand and a great lady.

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Loraine Antrim is co-founder of Core Ideas Communication, a communications consulting agency focused on presentation development and media training for C-suite executives. Core Ideas enables executives to package and communicate relevant and compelling messages in their presentations and interviews. Loraine's expertise is killing butterflies. You know, butterflies: the feeling in your stomach before you have to present or speak in public. Loraine works with executives to create a powerful story, memorable messages and an authentic delivery style. Confidence kicks in, and butterflies scatter. Nice work killing butterflies! You can contact Loraine at: manager at coreideas.com