What Late Night Host Jimmy Fallon Can Teach Us About Authentic Branding
People always ask me how they can be a brand if they are only one person. It is actually pretty common in the entertainment world. A lot of the time we think branding is all aesthetics but it is all about how people remember you. When your name comes up, what comes to mind? It’s about what you do.
Jimmy Fallon is an excellent example of how this works. He’s a late night host but he is so much more than that. He is the PERFECT example of a very authentic brand and there are some things we can learn from him.
Be true to whoever you are right now
Jimmy Fallon has made a career being a boyishly handsome, overexcited guy who is playful and nice. I have a feeling that this is who he is in life. Instead of trying to be more like his “Late Night” peers, he stuck to being himself and it makes his brand feel fresh, unique and authentic. If you want to know what this doesn’t look like, watch some of the other shows. Jimmy seems way more self-assured and comfortable than anyone else.
It’s WAY easier to do your work when you stay true to whoever you are and don’t try to change it.
Ask yourself: Am I “trying” to be like my peers anywhere in my business? Where am I pushing to be someone else?
Eliminate that stuff. Trust me: it does more bad than good
Let your work be your passion
Jimmy Fallon is passionate about music and he loves comedy. Even through he is technically a talk show and his job is more to entertain than anything else, his show has been designed specifically to embrace those parts of his life and it shows. It sets him a part from his competition (in fact, it’s like he doesn’t have any) because he is so blissfully happy and it’s obvious to everyone that he is doing the work he loves.
Ask yourself: How can I make my business even more about what I really love and enjoy? I’ll use myself as an example: I LOVE pop culture. Can you tell? Haha.
Know what your values are and be clear about how you do things
If you have ever watched his show for any amount of time, you can tell that Jimmy values fun over information. He isn’t gonna dig to get the jab or grill his guests about controversial topics. He clearly believes that the show isn’t about taking itself seriously and he wants everything to be fun, light and entertaining. I can imagine that he goes into the writers room and says something like “you know what would be really fun?” and they innovate from there. When we create a personal brand, it’s important for us to innovate from our own personal set of values. It’s the best way to ensure you are making the best decisions for your business.
Ask yourself: what are your values? What’s important? Make sure everything you create embodies that feeling. I mean, EVERYTHING.
This is YOUR house
One of the most important aspects of having a strong brand is to not play other people’s games. I often find that entrepreneurs bend and change to fit on other people’s blogs, they are overly accommodating in their interviews and they generally turn over the keys to their house to someone else.
Jimmy NEVER does this. If you are on his show, you are going to do all of the things that he feels are right for the show. That means you might have to play beer pong, you might be dancing and if you are Carly Rae, you are gonna play your hit song with kindergarden instruments. I am sure he hires writers with the same idea in mind.
Ask yourself this whenever you have a guest on the blog: How can I make sure this is serving what MY BRAND and business needs? How can I make sure it serves my needs?
Try new things
While many of his Late Night peers repeat the same bits every night, Jimmy is always trying something different. He is always writing a new song or doing a new skit. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t but it never seems to slow him down at ALL. If you go to youtube and google Jimmy Fallon there will be SO much to see. So much funny stuff. Can you imagine what would happen if he stopped creating whenever he flopped?
Ask yourself: how can I push myself and try that thing I’ve been “thinking” of doing. How can I just go for it and how can I be super nice to myself if it doesn’t work?
We always talk about authenticity but I feel that it’s nothing you can really try to do. You just have to be true to yourself, do what you TRULY want and be boundlessly enthusiastic and passionate about it.
The entertainment world is FULL of strong personal brands. Some other brands to get inspiration from:
Samuel L. Jackson — talk about someone with a VERY focused brand
Robert Downey Jr.
Here is Jimmy’s latest awesome:
*This wasn’t even filmed during the show. He is always “on” and I love it.