Creating the Narrative – Becoming the Icon of Your Personal Brand

In the vast expanse of the digital universe, where countless stars shine with their own light, there exists a rare breed of luminaries that do more than merely illuminate; they captivate, they inspire, they lead. These are the Iconic personal brands, magical entities that stand in stark contrast to the myriad of mainstream brands that populate the marketplace. Becoming an Iconic personal brand is akin to embarking on a journey of discovery and profound transformation. It is about transcending the ordinary, surpassing the expected, and venturing into the extraordinary.

Where mainstream brands may navigate the wide rivers of general appeal, Iconic personal brands cut through the noise with the precision of a laser, carving out niches so deep and resonant that their names become synonymous with their domains. They are not just known; they are revered. They don’t merely participate in conversations; they initiate them, shape them, and steer them toward horizons only they have the vision to see. This is the essence of becoming an Iconic personal brand: it is about establishing a legacy that outlives the transient, a legacy built on the pillars of authenticity, mastery, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Let’s explore the artistry and strategic prowess required to elevate from the mainstream to the echelons of the iconic. It is a path less traveled, a journey with challenges, but for those who dare to tread its course, the rewards are as boundless as the stars themselves. If you become Iconic, you leave an indelible mark on the canvas of your industry.  Ready?  Let’s play.

It's time to build your legend: Coco Chanel

In the world of luxury, few names shine as brightly or as enduringly as Chanel. More than a mere label, Chanel is an emblem of elegance, a symbol of sophistication, and a testament to the transformative power of visionary creativity. At its heart beats the legacy of Coco Chanel, the icon whose personal brand has transcended mere fashion to become a cultural phenomenon. This isn’t just a story; it’s a saga that weaves together legend, history, and an indelible narrative into the very fabric of the brand.

But to understand Chanel is to recognize that its essence goes far beyond the story brand concept that pervades contemporary marketing discourse. Coco Chanel did not merely craft a narrative; she built a legend, one that delves deeply into innovation, defiance, and unparalleled elegance. Her journey was not just about creating clothing but about revolutionizing how women saw themselves and their place in the world.

Chanel stands as a beacon to those personal brands aspiring to leave a mark that echoes through generations. It serves as a compelling testament to the power of personal vision in crafting a legacy that endures well beyond its time. As we explore the iconicity of Chanel, we delve into the depths of what it means to build a legend, examining how Coco Chanel’s indomitable spirit and revolutionary designs have cemented Chanel’s place in history as the quintessential icon of luxury fashion.

Coco Chanel: Crafting an Iconic Personal Brand Through Legend and Legacy

When one hears “Chanel,” it’s not merely a brand that comes to mind but a myth, a legend – Coco Chanel. From the outset, Chanel was more than its founder’s designs; it was the embodiment of Coco’s persona, her revolutionary approach to fashion, and her life, which itself was a canvas of bold choices and relentless pursuit of personal freedom and style. This deliberate strategy to intertwine Coco’s identity with her brand was instrumental in elevating both to iconic status. The transformation of Gabrielle Chanel into Coco Chanel wasn’t just a name change; it signified the birth of a legend, a narrative rich with innovation, defiance, and elegance that became synonymous with the brand itself.

The Strategy Behind the Icon

The crafting of Coco Chanel’s personal brand was both intentional and strategic. It was about showcasing not just the designer but the woman behind the designs – her philosophy, her lifestyle, and her vision for a new era of femininity. This was a time when personal branding was not a widely recognized concept, yet Coco instinctively knew the power of her persona could transcend the boundaries of her craft.

1. Creating a Narrative: Coco Chanel’s life story was steeped in mystique and determination, from her modest upbringing to her rise in the Parisian fashion scene. This narrative was carefully curated to inspire and captivate as a powerful tool for building the brand’s legend.

2. Living the Brand: Coco Chanel was her brand. She embodied her designs’ elegance, simplicity, and innovative spirit, making her the best ambassador for Chanel. Her personal style – the little black dress, the Chanel suit, and her signature pearls – became timeless icons in their own right.

3. Innovating Fearlessly: Coco Chanel’s approach to fashion was revolutionary. She liberated women from the constraints of the corseted silhouette, introducing comfortable yet elegant designs. Her use of jersey fabric, traditionally used for underwear, in high fashion was a bold move that paid off, setting a new standard in the industry.

Lessons from Coco Chanel’s Iconic Branding

Coco’s legacy teaches us that true branding goes beyond logos and taglines; it’s about crafting a story that resonates, a persona that captivates, and a philosophy that endures.

Authenticity is Key: Coco Chanel’s brand was deeply authentic. It reflected her personal beliefs, her vision for women’s fashion, and her independent spirit. This authenticity resonated with her audience, making Chanel not just a brand but a movement.

Be the Embodiment of Your Brand: Coco lived her brand. Every choice she made, from her fashion to her lifestyle, reflected the ethos of Chanel. This congruence between her personal and professional life reinforced the brand’s identity and appeal.

Craft a Compelling Narrative: The story behind the brand, the legend of Coco Chanel, played a crucial role in its allure. A compelling narrative that resonates with your audience can elevate a brand from mere products or services to an iconic status.

Innovate with Purpose: Coco Chanel’s innovations were not just for the sake of novelty; they had a purpose – to liberate and beautify. Her fearless approach to redefining fashion with comfort and elegance is a lesson in purpose-driven innovation.

Legacy Transcends Time: The legacy of Coco Chanel goes beyond the products; it’s about her impact on fashion and society. Building a brand that leaves a lasting legacy requires vision, courage, and an unwavering commitment to your values.

Coco Chanel’s journey from a designer to an icon is a masterclass in personal branding. She understood that to endure, a brand must be more than its products; it must be a living, breathing entity with a story, a soul, and the power to inspire. Coco Chanel’s legacy teaches us that with authenticity, innovation, and a compelling narrative, it’s possible to transcend the boundaries of your field and become not just a brand, but a legend.

What Do You Need to Do To Be An Iconic Personal Brand?

In a world saturated with fleeting trends and momentary sparks of fame, the aspiration to become an Iconic personal brand is a testament to one’s ambition, creativity, and relentless pursuit of excellence. An Iconic personal brand is not just recognized; it is revered, setting the benchmark for innovation, leadership, and unparalleled influence. Building such a brand requires a meticulous blend of strategy, vision, and authenticity.

I work with so many extraordinary Iconic Personal Brands and I wanted to give you some clear, practical advice on how to begin your journey from mainstream to Iconic status, like Coco Chanel. 


1. Crafting Your Narrative

Embrace Your Myth: Every icon has a story, a legend that transcends their mere presence in their industry. Begin by introspecting on what makes you unique. What is the myth or legend surrounding you? This could be your groundbreaking approach, your distinct philosophy, or the unconventional path you’ve trodden to reach where you are. Once identified, this story becomes the cornerstone of your personal brand.

Weave Your Narrative into Every Fiber of Your Brand: Your narrative should permeate every aspect of your branding and storytelling. It’s not enough for it to be a tale told; it must be felt and experienced. This means your website, social media presence, content, and even how you communicate should echo the essence of your legend. Consistency is key. Your audience should be able to recognize your narrative across all platforms and interactions.

2. Gating Yourself

Create Exclusivity: To be an icon, you must be perceived as both invaluable and unattainable. This doesn’t mean alienating your audience but instead creating a sense of exclusivity around your brand. This can be achieved by offering premium content, services, or products that are accessible to a select few. Membership programs, exclusive events, or high-value content behind a subscription model are practical ways to implement this strategy.

Maintain Your Mystique: While engagement is crucial in building a brand, maintaining a certain level of mystique can play to your advantage. Be selective about the insights you share, the appearances you make, and the projects you undertake. This selective visibility enhances your brand’s allure and ensures that every interaction with your audience is impactful and meaningful.

3. Continuous Innovation

Be an Extreme Pioneer: The spirit of innovation is at the heart of an iconic brand. Continuously challenge the status quo within your industry. Whether it’s introducing new products, services, or ideas, your aim should be to lead and set trends, not follow them. Innovation also means adapting to changes, leveraging new technologies, and exploring uncharted territories with your brand.

Embody the Maverick: To operate as an icon, adopt a maverick mindset. This involves being fearless in your decisions, even when they go against conventional wisdom. Your brand should embody this courage, showcasing your willingness to take calculated risks and disrupt the norm.

4. Operationalizing Iconic Status

Integrate Your Iconic Status into Your Offerings: Your products or services should reflect your iconic status. This means exceptional quality, unique features, or exclusive benefits that underscore your brand’s premium positioning. Every offering should testify to your brand’s core values and narrative.

Market with an Iconic Mindset: In your marketing efforts, consistently question how an icon would operate. This affects not just your marketing content but its style and delivery. Your campaigns should exude confidence, sophistication, and the allure of an iconic brand. Collaborate with your marketing team to ensure that every strategy, from social media to traditional advertising, is aligned with your iconic image.

Evolve Into an Icon

Are you ready to reach a mythical status? 

I’m confident you can do it. 

But you need to be at a level where you’re completely gated off. 

You can host very exclusive invite-only events or work with only a handful of private hand-selected clients. But you have to make yourself inaccessible to the rest to have the freedom to innovate. 

The further you develop the narrative, the legend, and the historical context, the more you build your status as the iconic leader of your tribe, team, community, and clients. 

How this manifests for you may be different from everyone else. But the principle is the same… 

You’re developing the story and legend that builds into your brand and helps you reach extraordinary heights. 

My new Masterclass, Beyond Influence discusses becoming an Iconic personal brand in much more depth.  Catch the replay here.

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