Friday, November 17, 2006

Harry Houdini the Great Brand

Harry Houdini died 80 years ago – yet he is still remembered as the greatest escape artist of all time. That is the power of personal branding. Will your brand survive 80 years after your death?

Why was Harry Houdini’s personal brand so powerful?

He created a new niche – the escape artist. When you are first you are the standard. He was bold. He issued challenges to prisons around the world that they couldn’t hold him. He was a showman. He dangled upside down from a crane over New York City while escaping from a Strait jacket and chains. He was provocative. The publicity photo of him that was most often used shows his muscular body almost nude draped in chains and locks.

He was creative. He started as a magician but differentiated himself as an escape artist. He invented new stunts and escapes. He made enemies. He challenged spiritualists that claimed they spoke to the dead.

He died under mysterious circumstances. This is an effective way of enhancing the brand. But you don’t need to do this to build your brand. Yes, this method also worked for Elvis Presley and Bruce Lee.

Harry Houdini did all this and he died in 1926 – long before anyone thought about the concept of personal branding.

If you asked Houdini about branding he probably wouldn’t have understood your question. But Houdini sure knew how to build his personal brand.

What can you learn from Harry Houdini, the world’s greatest escape artist, about creating and sustaining your own personal brand?

George Torok
Power Marketing

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