How to Build your Mega-Brand: Lessons from Ellen Degeneres

Ellen DeGeneres has been making the headlines again recently. This time, though, it isn’t for her selfie action at the Oscars. This time the headlines are because the Great and Powerful E has decided to launch her own lifestyle brand, a la Martha, Oprah, and Gwyneth.  In an interview for E! Online, DeGeneres let it slip that she’s taking the “go big or go home” approach to her lifestyle brand building. “I’m not trying to launch a little boutique situation,” she said in her interview. Her goal, it seems is to be able to play at the Martha Stewart level from the get-go and, because she’s Ellen DeGeneres it shouldn’t be too hard. Why?

Because this successful comedienne has already built a world-wide brand out of herself. Listed as #5 in Forbes’ Top 100 Celebrities list and #46 on their Top 100 Most Powerful Women list, DeGeneres currently nets around $70 million a year in income. She also has pilots in development for three separate network channels, has been retweeted more times than President Obama, has a competition show for HGTV in the works, is a spokesperson for Cover Girl cosmetics and has even been named Daytime’s most likeable TV personality.

So how did she get here? What can you learn from her success?

Don’t Forget That You Are Human

Even if you’re trying to build a company based brand, that brand’s fans will want to know the humans who conceived and built it. What Ellen DeGeneres has done, over and over again—whether it is through her standup comedy specials, her books, and interviews or even on her daily show—is remind us that she is a human being. She lets her audience see her stumble and isn’t afraid to put her own awkwardness on display. The business climate has changed and customers want to know the ‘person’ behind the brand. I actually love this because building those ‘real’ relationships bring so much joy to my business, and is what life is really all about.

Ask For Help

DeGeneres’s show didn’t debut at the level of success it now enjoys. She had some bumps in the road and had to rely on a team of daytime television pros to teach her how to sustain an audience from day to day. She wasn’t afraid to learn new things from experts and neither should you. This is why having a business coach that has been there and done that can seriously be the difference between just making it in your business, or truly thriving. Find someone who knows how to do what you want to do and learn everything you can from that person!

Take Some Risks

In the beginning, people compared DeGeneres’ sitcom to Seinfeld. After a few seasons, though, she veered off and went her own way. When people say that DeGeneres broke barriers with her sitcom, they aren’t joking. DeGeneres wasn’t just the first openly gay sitcom star. Her show became the first to feature an openly gay character—played by DeGeneres herself who came out to the world via her character on the show. We take sexual diversity for granted on current prime time television but, prior to DeGeneres’ coming out, sitcom stars were 100% heterosexual (at least, according to their stories). How are you different? What is it about you that stands out beyond your competition? Its time to highlight that!

The Biggest Lessons Are in the Failures

In interview after interview, DeGeneres has credited her own failures—losing her sitcom is always a big one that she talks about—with her biggest life lessons. She also says that it is better to learn from your failures in the beginning—particularly in terms of marketing and building your brand—than to hide them. We can certainly say owning her mistakes and failures has contributed to her success—not just because those failures happened and kept her humble, but because she built something solid out of the lessons those failures taught her.

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In building 10 companies, I have fallen on my butt many times. Sometimes it takes getting hit over the head with a sledgehammer to realize something is really ‘not’ working. Those are the mistakes you never forget and often the most positive growth in my businesses have come from these blunders. With each step, good or bad, you are keeping your momentum going. Don’t let the fear of failing or perfection stop you, because every experience opens the door to something even more beautiful.

Are you ready to get over your fear of failure and learn what it takes to 10x your company? Apply for a free strategy session today and we’ll help you uncover the exact steps you must take to get there.

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Allison Maslan

Allison Maslan

Allison Maslan, CEO of Pinnacle Global Network, is the Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of Scale or Fail, which is endorsed by Daymond John and Barbara Corcoran of Shark Tank. Allison’s built 10 successful companies starting out at age 19.

Now she and her team of CEO Mentors pay it forward by helping business owners scale their companies, fast-track their success, and create a more meaningful life. Pinnacle Global Network, a world leader in scaling companies and empowering business leaders has guided thousands of CEO's and Founders to success over the past decade. Allison’s been featured in Inc., Success, Fortune, Fast Company, and Forbes Magazines, is a regular contributor to Entrepreneur Magazine, and a featured expert on ABC, CBS, NBC, CNN, and Fox across the US. She is also the host and producer of The Scale or Fail Show podcast, and the Women Who Own it Podcast in partnership with WBENC, the largest certifier of women-owned businesses in North America.

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