Jan 19

Building a Brand: Leave it to Bieber

I like to keep track of trending topics on Twitter because they really can give you a little bit of an insight on what people are interested in and that is important to know as a writer.  A few years ago, I started to see the name Justin Bieber and this guy, who I had never heard of, was dominating the trending topics.  At first, I didn’t quite grasp the significance of it and I every so often asked out loud, “Who is Justin Bieber?”  Eventually my curiosity got the better of me and I went in search of this mysterious Bieber guy and discovered he was just a young singer that had managed to catch the hearts of young girls everywhere.

That was then; today you would be very hard pressed to find a person who has not heard of Justin Bieber.  His brand is everywhere from doing guest stints on CSI to his line of singing toothbrushes. We are talking about a brand recognition factor that is simply staggering.  How the heck did a Canadian boy born in London, Ontario build such a powerful brand almost overnight?  It is actually an amazing story with lessons to learn about how we should be building our own brands.

Justin Bieber started out the son of a single mother who often had to struggle just to provide a decent life for the family.  Times may have been tough but Justin had aspirations to do something with music and a dream was born.  He went about and taught himself how to play the piano, the guitar, the trumpet, as well as the drums.  He was honing his talent/product into something that would be marketable.  It is much easier to build a solid brand on a good product.

When Justin Bieber was ready to reveal his product, he entered a talent contest in Stratford, Ontario where he lived most of his life.  Amazingly enough he finished in second place, which may surprise some of you.  The talent contest was not really the path to brand recognition but it provided a video of his performance that could be introduced to the world of social media.  Justin’s mother uploaded the video to YouTube initially for their family and friends.  However, the video started to grow a small following and Justin Bieber the brand had begun.

They uploaded more videos of Justin Bieber singing to help maintain interest in the brand and at the same time create growth.  Justin’s brand was quite unique at the time because he was singing a lot of R&B which was not traditionally a young white guy’s musical fodder.  However, Justin made it work and that made it easy to grow his brand.  With brand growth and recognition, it was only a matter of time before someone with access to a record label would run into one of his videos on YouTube.  Which is in fact what happened as a marketing executive of a record label accidentally clicked on a Justin Beiber YouTube link.

The take away is that Justin Bieber’s brand growth made his discovery possible by spreading his brand on YouTube.  This led to Justin meeting Usher and a small bidding war to sign the new artist.  I am sure you know the rest of the story from there as Justin Bieber rose into mega stardom and his brand became a household name.

The lessons we should learn from Justin Bieber are simple but yet very important when it comes to building your personal brand.  First, make sure you have a quality product.  Just like Justin honed his abilities you should do the same with your product.  In my case, my paranormal thriller The Daughter of Man went through multiple edits and rewrites to turn it into a very polished and awesome novel that will bring readers back for my next book.   I would ask that each of you take a moment at the end of this article to check it out and download the free sample over there on Amazon.

The second lesson we gain from Justin Bieber is the importance of social media in cultivating your brand.  Justin used social media very effectively to get his brand out there.  You are not going to sell anything if people don’t know about it.  Put your links everywhere and embrace shameless self-promotion.   I had no problem promoting my book above and neither should have problems promoting your product you when an opportunity arises.

The third key point is that Justin continued to put out new material to maintain and grow his brand.  If you’re not a singer, you could be doing what I am doing right now; blogging.  For authors, blogging is the ideal way to introduce people to your writing and then keep them interested in what you are doing between novels.  A blog also makes an ideal platform to sell your product from.

This three part strategy works as Justin Bieber is proof of that.  Maybe it won’t get you mega stardom, but it at least sets you in the right direction.  Remember, success doesn’t really happen overnight and you will have to work for it by building the best brand you can.  In conclusion, I am not really a Justin Bieber fan by any stretch of the imagination.  However when it comes to how he built his brand I am a belieber!


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  1. Erin Patrick

    This is a great article, Candace. I am currently writing a book and you gave me some things to think about in preparation!

    1. camountain

      Thank you very much Erin. What is your book about?

  2. Erin Patrick

    It is going to be an inspirational book based on how I went from brokeness to wholeness.

    1. camountain

      That sounds like it will be a good read. I will look forward to reading it ;-)

  3. Erin Patrick

    Thank you, Candace. I’m just at the beginning stages. It seems like a daunting task.

  4. Julie Smith

    You are right on target Candace. Whether it’s the effective use of social media networking, blogging, video, podcasting, article marketing…It’s not so much that you need to do ALL those things because there are lots of bright shiny objects out there that you might be tempted to try. The point is that you keep putting out content that showcases your valuable product; your brand; or establishes you as an expert, and then leading people to it over and over again through those methods that work best for you and your business or brand.

    Love the “Leave It to Bieber” tag!


    1. camountain

      Thank you Julie. I agree as social media is expanding at an alarming rate and it is so easy for people to get distracted by all the new applications and forget the basics. It is one of my goals as a blogger, in addition to selling books lol, to help focus people on the tried and true concepts that work.

  5. Kim Reynolds

    Candace, this is a great post. I had not looked at Justin B. as a brand, but you are exactly right. I also agree that this would not have been possible if he did not have real talent. Hype is hype, but it will die if there is not a strong foundation to back the hype.

    1. camountain

      Thank you very much Kim. In life we are all brands on some level and it is easy to see with that a celebrity. However, the average person can also be a brand especially when it comes to careers. A job interview is very much a person trying to sell their brand to an employer.

  6. Isabel

    OMG! thank you so much for writing this!! I’m a Belieber and a marketing student and I found your post facinating,!! I totally agree with everything it says, I really wanna continue reading your posts because I’m sure I’ll learn a lot, thanks!!

    and BTW do you have a twitter?

    1. camountain

      Thank you for your compliments Isabel and I am glad you found it useful. I do have a Twitter which is @candacemountain and please feel free to connect with me there.

  7. Missy Kirtley

    I love the article. I was in the same boat: “Who is this Bieber kid?” Actually, I’d heard about him on the radio, so I thought it was Beaver! :-P It also doesn’t help that my daughter is about to turn 3, so for the past 4(ish) years I’ve been a bit distracted from mainstream media (and have a TERRIBLE memory) because of pregnancy and having a small person to take care of.

    Worst part is, I’m about to do it all over again! #2 is due in March.

    Anyway, I loved the article, and will definitely check out your book!

    1. camountain

      Thank you very much Missy. Good luck with number 2, hopefully it will go a little easier as you will have experience on your side this time.

  8. Roger

    This is a great article. I love it. I’m actually a Bieber fan. Not really a fan so to speak, but some of his music is good. I also like what he stands for. He’s against Bullying, he donates a lot of money to charity, he spends a lot of time with his fans, and genuinely enjoys helping others.

    That’s something else we can take to heart. If you don’t love his singing, at least love him for that. In order to build your brand, you have to connect with your fans and have a heart.

    1. camountain

      Absolutely good points Roger, thank you ;-)

  9. Joshua Jarvis - Atlanta Real Estate

    Not sure I was going to like what I was reading but great spin on this. How often we can learn from others no matter whether we agree with them or not or like their music or not, etc. Great job pulling out the lessons here.

    1. camountain

      Thank you Joshua :-)

  10. Joshua Wilson

    Great article with some lessons for everyone.

    1. camountain

      Thank you Joshua #2 :-)

  11. R.Fasig

    I love your article! You are right on target.
    For everyone who is new to tracking what works I will make one suggestion. Use four or five different shorts and put them all out in different media. The ones that receive the most comments are the media that is working for you.
    Thank you Candace for the brand building lesson.

    1. camountain

      Very good point. In Bieber’s case YouTube was the obvious medium of choice. For a writer, such as myself, YouTube is not really a great avenue other than for book trailers.

  12. Karl

    Excellent, Candace. Thank you for sharing this post with me. You make some great observations.
    You are probably aware of my recent “run-in” with Justin Bieber and his manager (who was told about the Canadian kid on YouTube), Scotter Braun.
    I wrote a related blog about the use of celebrities at the recent CES in Las Vegas: http://karlmillerlugo.com/how-celebrity-appearances-at-ces-backfiredand
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I wish you all the best and look forward to keeping in touch.

    1. camountain

      Thank you very much Karl. I tome a few minutes to read your blog and it boggled my mind that something as important as using social media to get your event out there was overlooked.

  13. Cindy

    Terrific piece with some great insights into what it takes to build a brand. So many dreams and passions stay behind closed doors because people don’t dare to share what they do or what they know. Thank you so much for pointing me here.

    1. camountain

      Thank you for your comments Cindy. I have known people in the past with incredible talent who just lacked the ability to market themselves. In today’s social media driven world that should never have to happen.

  14. Ron Romero

    Great insight Candace, I had never considered this aspect of his rise to stardom.

  15. Robert

    Well written, Candace. I think so many people are tentative to envision, explain, and show themselves as a brand. If you are on the web, in the public view you are branding yourself whether you know it or not. Even those offering insights and advice offer it from a place of style that others find appealing.

  16. Shannon

    It is actually difficult to get advised people on that issue, you seem like you understand what you are posting about! Thanks a lot

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