Brand Identity

Finding Your Niche Brand:

Reach for the (D-List) Stars

Just like brands, there are thousands of comedians. Also just like brands, a very privileged few achieve stardom. But the manner in which Kathy Griffin created her own brand identity to reach to top of the industry holds some lessons that can be learned by others.

Griffin had enjoyed recognition for her stand-up act, which consisted of irreverent, gossipy observations of celebrities she’d come in contact with through such various gigs as game show contestant and awards show hostess. Given the high degree of interest in (or obsession with) celebrities in America, Griffin found herself in increasing demand to share these stories with an evergrowing audience.

Most other comedians (or products) with such an enthusiastic market may have been content to keep delivering more of what made them popular. But Griffin took it up a notch to create a true niche for herself: that of the D-List celebrity. Griffin immediately changed public perception of herself by declaring a new class of celebrity, then defining what a “D-List” celebrity is all about.

Positioning herself in this manner has enabled Griffin to star in her own reality show chronicling her encounters with A-Listers and a variety of “D-List” gigs, plus a successful series of televised stand-up concerts on the theme. There may be other comedians doing guest bits on game shows, but the D-List is Griffin’s category, and she alone owns it.

The take-home message: Any distinctive feature of your product or company can be used as the basis of a successful brand identity that defines its category. Before Starbucks, most American establishments that mainly served coffee didn’t even think to define themselves as a coffee shop, much less decide to become an international brand. As with Griffin, there are other coffee houses, but Starbucks still defines the category. Find the way to define and market your individual claim to fame, and you’ll make your way to the A-List in sales.