Every once in while someone comes along who takes the universe by storm; that person who seemingly overnight becomes a ubiquitous part of the pop-culture landscape. Susan Boyle, the 47-year-old "Britain's Got Talent" contestant, who mesmerized the world with her brilliant singing voice and her underdog story, is finally getting her 15-minutes in the light. Over 17 million people have visited YouTube to see her contest audition. In the video, the audience laughs at her and mocks her, until she stuns them with her voice. After her performance, she receives a standing ovation. How should Boyle develop her brand if she is to have any hope of extending her popularity and her career? We asked some entrepreneurs what they would do.
Founder of Fifteen Minutes, a PR firm; author of Where's My Fifteen Minutes?
Susan's brand must stand for the fact that talent transcends where you're from and what you look like. It's her perceived authenticity. She must hold on to that mystique. If she seeks to endorse products, she'll need to get a product that is mass marketed like McDonald's, everyday shampoo or laundry detergent--products that keep her real. But Susan must first win the contest. She can't be so naïve as to think that she has it locked up. We like to build people up, but we also like to tear them down.
President and Co-Founder, Big Think
New York City
Boyle could be a face that represents anyone who does what they do really well without the trappings of wealth, beauty and glamour. If she can continue to develop her story along side her voice, she has a brand. No one needs Boyle's brand of genuine worth now more than the banking industry. So I think the Royal Bank of Scotland should sign her to an endorsement deal--stat. If it's pulled off with a keen British wit, a Boyle-backed campaign could speak to the masses currently associating RBS with the wrong mug--that of Prime Minister Brown. However, if the next thing we see from her is an ad for her motivational speaking series, it's all over.
Chief Executive Officer, Elvie G PR
It's too early to determine Susan's brand. Let's first see how far she gets in the competition. She must continue to be the person people fell in love with. Subtle change is okay but a complete makeover would set her back. If she were to eventually do an endorsement deal, I would suggest Dove. They are all about embracing women just as they are--flaws and all--focusing on inner beauty and talent.
Victoria R. M. Brown
CEO and Co-Founder, Big Think
New York City
Susan's brand is herself. She should immediately begin to extend her 15 minutes by recording an album of cover songs. She can then think about a possible book on perseverance, an album of original songs and a tour. Susan needs to lock some opportunities down immediately before she becomes old news. She should endorse products she might have used pre-fame like herbal throat teas, skin creams or condoms. Condoms would be pure humor. Susan could say, "Because you never know when your time will come."
Co-founder and CEO, GTM, Inc., a guerrilla marketing agency
Atlanta and Los Angeles
Susan's beyond a winner. She's a phenomenon. Her brand represents that amazing everyday person. Now's the time to do another reality TV show. I think so many people would be interested in her journey.
Owner, Mitch Douglas Literary and Theatrical Agency
New York City
Susan has that kind of Judy Garland, Barbara Streisand star talent and charisma. You can have talent but you've got to have that little something extra. She needs to do a CD first; she's rangy enough that she could do anything. Then it would be appropriate to write a book, perhaps something inspirational.
Freelance Creative Director
New York City
I think she should record an album with a great producer like David Foster and not be branded like a package. Her talent stands on its own. I think she's the anti-brand. Imagine what they would've done with Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra or Miles Davis if they'd had to brand them?