What Show Business’ Most Recognizable Names Can Teach Us About PR and Branding

Pop Culture branding image

Jay-Z. Lady Gaga. Kim Kardashian. Whether these names make you giddy or gag, there’s one thing for sure – you know exactly who they are. With longstanding stints in the public eye, these celebrities have establishing a recognizable, trademark presence and personal brand down to a science. Even if you’re not looking to make yourself the next rap-repreneuer, eccentric musical goddess or love-to-hate pop culture fixture, this group delivers some great takeaways that can inform developing and innovating branding and messaging in just about any industry.


Jay said it himself: “I’m not a businessman; I’m a business, man.” This guy has his hand in more projects than most people manage in a lifetime – besides his obvious source of primary income as a rapper, he owns record labels, liquor brands, nightclubs and more. The backbone of his brand is elevating himself as a high-class jack of all trades, but with a twist – it’s not his businesses that make him, but the other way around.

What he can teach you: Build yourself or your brand up to be the authority, the reigning expert. Identify areas where you can position yourself as a thought leader, early adopter or innovator and capitalize on them. If you’re like Jay and can truly master a number of empires, by all means, do it and do it proud. However, it’s far better to be absolutely stellar at one thing than to be just ok at many – that will build a reputable, strong presence within your industry or with your customers.

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga is a chameleon when it comes to her style du jour – who could forget her infamous meat dress? – but her brand has been consistent from the start. She lives the old Oscar Wilde adage, “There is only one thing in the world worse than being talked about, and that is not being talked about.” Gaga uses her quirkiness and willingness to dance to the beat of a slightly different drummer to stay on people’s radars, as well as her passionate devotion to human rights causes.

What she can teach you: I’m in no way suggesting a lawyer or C-level executive must oversee meetings in a bedazzled egg capsule to maintain industry relevancy and garner attention. But, it is important to build your own brand of weird – it may not even be weird in the literal sense, but just how you set yourself apart from your competitors. Why are you different than them? It also never hurts to attach yourself to a cause, whether it’s fighting for better content marketing or making sure your organization spends time giving back. Just one thing – if it’s the latter, please be genuine. There’s nothing worse than using a philanthropic cause just to look good.

Kim Kardashian

Ms. Kardashian cultivates a wide-eyed, vapid persona that makes her seem… well, dumb. But you know what? I’d bet you the whole Kardashian-Jenner and West fortune she’s not.  Think back a decade. No one knew who Kim Kardashian was. And although she may not have burst onto the scene in the most flattering light, she definitely rose above it and has built herself an empire. Sure, she’s famous for simply being famous, but she’s effectively leveraged that to build businesses and amass a fortune that is nothing to sneeze at.

What she can teach you: You can make a comeback. People make mistakes, and these people run companies and develop brands. Maybe a new logo didn’t sit well with diehard fans or a social media manager made a snafu on Twitter. Acknowledge your error, listen to your audience and put a plan in motion to make it right. It always helps if you can laugh at yourself a bit, too – the humanity will be appreciated. Plus, if you’re on the radar for doing something not-so-great, a well-executed new strategy will be even sweeter once carried out.

What other celebrities do you think have PR and branding down? Let us know at @wrightoncomm.

Communication Changes, Constantly

At (W)right On, we pride ourselves on being at the forefront of good communication practices. Had the agency been around in the 50’s – 90’s, things would have been easier – there was stability and relative predictability. There were also far fewer communication channels (e.g. in TV, radio and print), journalistic work wasn’t executed at such breakneck speed and attention spans were longer.

Times have changed, and “dramatically” would be an understatement. Hundreds of communication channels became thousands, then millions with the blog community; communication became instantaneous and instantaneously global; Gen Y (Millennials) entered the scene having only known life with a gadget in their hands; sound bites became character bites (no more than 140); recipients’ message absorption capacity decreased with a greater need for stimulation and interaction is increasingly digital instead of human-to-human. I could go on. Stating these facts is not meant necessarily as an indictment of them. To the contrary, there’s much good to be found in them – it’s simply recognizing that many aspects of communication have profoundly changed.

But through these decades, and for centuries prior, there remain constants in stories.


Stories will never go out of style. We humans often have the most engaging conversations when a story is shared: Around the dinner table. When there’s actually news. Sharing wisdom with a child or friend. Motivating a group to action. For entertainment and relaxation.

The same rule applies to business communication, too. The art of and need for storytelling – beyond a status update or picture share – is ageless. Involve any element of intrigue, protagonists and antagonists, humor, conflict or any of the universal themes we gravitate toward and your message will get across.

While distribution channels and methodology will continue to evolve, telling stories is a stalwart in conveying messages. Well-told stories capture attention, elicit emotion, engage the audience, provide relevance and inspire to action. For organizations, stories can connect and emotionally invest people in their brand.

Storytelling – just one of many constants in the sea of communication change.  What’s your story?

Why You Should Use Infographics to Communicate Visually


For a business, it is important to send the right message to your audience, but it is equally important that the audience can understand your message. After all, not everyone is an expert. Today, any individual can access the Internet and find very specific answers to very specific questions, but if their questions involve you or your message, how do you know that they’ll remember that information?

Information graphs or “infographs” are visual tools that communicate information simply and aesthetically. They take profuse and in-depth knowledge and present it clearly and concisely through visual representation. Infographs typically contain statistical information about a specific topic or field of work, but have also been adapted to communicate themes and ideas as well.

The value of infographics as a communication tool can be attributed to the way our brain processes information. For instance, right now you’re reading this article, line by line, taking in everything in the chronological order it was written. Because we read in a linear pattern, our brain cannot process information faster than we can supply it. The brain can process visual information up to 60,000 times faster than text, however. When you look at a picture of, let’s say a beach, every element of the photo is interpreted simultaneously, so you know the image is of a beach. Even when viewed separately, say separate images of palm trees, sand, or waves, you can infer that a beach is connected to these themes. However, after just describing a beach to you, you had to process that information linearly (e.g. palm trees -> sand -> waves = probably a beach).

Infographics are a valuable communication tool. When communicating with your audience, as a business or otherwise, an infograph brings a level of professionalism and expertise in a given topic through your ability to clearly convey complex data or information. Additionally, people want more visual content. In fact, there has been an 800 percent increase in “infographic” searches on Google throughout the past two years. The viral potential for visual content is at its highest. Who knows, maybe your next infographic could be your breakout in Internet immortality.