Oprah Winfrey’s brand value stems from her own credibility
Oprah Winfrey is the undisputed Queen of personal branding, and her current brand value stands at close to $3 billion. From her initial days on her self-titled show, which ran for 25 years, to her current stint as the head of a television network, Winfrey is living proof of how personal branding can be more beneficial to ones career growth than simply endorsing external brands. Brand Oprah has power and credibility, and this translates into millions of dollars worth of sales for any product which she chooses to align herself with. This creates an interesting relationship between Winfrey and businesses which want their sales to skyrocket; the guaranteed advantage of being able to ride on her coattails is as tempting as it is lucrative. Oprah’s style of personal branding is not particularly unique in its structure, but she has certainly been more successful than others at giving shape to her brand, and adding believability to it. In come the tell-all confessionals where Oprah joins audience members in talking about taboo issues, and more often than not, sharing a personal anecdote or too in order to engage them further. The cosmetics, apparel, and health market has especially benefited from scores of episodes where audience and Oprah alike have lamented about weight gain and the need for healthy options, not to mention more fashion choices for “real”, i.e. generously proportioned women. In walk various brands with their tummy controlling inner wear, miracle bras which give new shape to the body and provide much-needed back support, outfits which make one look 10 pounds lighter, and styling ideas with a host of products which can make one resemble a supermodel. Health gurus have made millions off her show thanks to her personal endorsement of them, and their books, among other merchandise. Bob Greene and Dr.Oz are now celebrities in their own right, thanks to careful nurturing by Brand Oprah. The motor vehicle industry too, is one of those businesses which have flourished thanks to Brand Oprah. If Oprah sits atop a big, fancy red car, keys dangling from her hands, shouting praises as she gifts each of her 300 audience members with a car of their own, then that brand will possibly sell up to 10 times more cars than it gifted to the show. Brand Oprah is interesting in context with how it has never had to chase a brand; the situation is always reversed, thanks to Winfrey’s millions of loyal followers who are also guaranteed patrons of any product or service which she elects to endorse as being a “must-buy”. Brand Oprah and its influences extend to all aspects of business, and guarantees profit for any company which chooses to align with it. The reason is quite simply, it’s extremely high level of credibility. From books to film, from health and lifestyle, to pressing social issues which demand attention and donations, Oprah and her self-created, self-named brand are one of the most sought after forms of endorsement for any business. With newer entrants such as Lady Gaga and golfer Tiger Woods, who are also branding themselves, it is predicted that this beneficial form of credibility building will result in profit for many businesses and will also serve to build the image of the celebrities who are endorsing them.