Kelly Lucente


Oh, the mighty superhero. The epitome of brand. They really are the new black, wouldn’t you say? And our friends over at Marvel have brought our two-dimensional comic book characters to life. Larger than life in most cases. But what do superheroes have to do with personal branding? A lot!

Look at the image below. I bet you can name each superhero shown without their names being revealed. You can immediately identify the rich guy with the sidekick, the one bitten by an insect, the one who knows his way around a bow and arrow, and the one from another planet who has amazing strength. Describing their brand attributes is as clear as day, but why? Part of the reason is because they have been clearly defined for a specific aesthetic in print and on screen. The other half is because their personal brand has been fully established, consistent and made memorable.

Just so we are clear, personal branding should be in some sense a marketing strategy focused on YOU. So often we concentrate on everything but us; however, when it comes to personal branding, you have to be the priority. Part of the challenge is figuring out who you really are (your values, passions, personality, and skills), who you want to serve, and how you are different. So what are you known for? What happens because of you? Superheroes are great at knowing who THEY are and what they bring to the table. They’ve even got the costumes to prove it.

The Winning Side of Brand

Many times “what makes you different from your competition” is what ultimately wins you customers. Identifying differentiators is one of the favorite parts of my job, coming up with unique differentiation against the competition positions my clients in a favorable light. The objective with differentiation is uncovering what is special about the product or service in such a way that it’s memorable and preferable.

Using our superheroes again, what if we were to compare superheroes, say the difference between Batman and Iron Man. Both are billionaire playboys, so why would we choose Iron Man over Batman if we needed superhero services?

A Stark Contrast

Iron Man is an engineer. Not only did he build his own suits, he’s capable of making weapons of mass destruction. He is the clear leader of the superhero team, The Avengers. Other superheroes look up to him and he is the guy who establishes the plan of attack, so he’s innately strategic. Iron Man can travel at the speed of sound which means he can get where he needs to be quickly. Batman would need to take his car. And believe it or not, Iron Man is sensitive. Outwardly, he doesn’t show it, but Tony Stark is a sensitive guy and his internal vulnerability has him looking at things through a different lens and even though he’s a bit narcissistic, he still has a big heart and he does lead with it.

How fun is that?! You could practice on your own “faves” before diving into your own differentiators. Or, just get to it. Really determine what makes you different and special. Overwhelmed by the idea of doing it alone? Consider TBOY as a resource that will help you uncover the superhero in you.