Personal Brand? No Crossover

I just read this article by Sarah Lacy where she describes part of her journey into becoming a brand and then attempting to leverage her new positions. The pivotal paragraph for me was:

Sarah: That take-on-the-world morning, I was having coffee with Steven Levy, then of Newsweek, now of Wired, who challenged this whole idea of whether this “Sarah Lacy” brand was actually translating into things that mattered, like book sales, money, something real and tangible, or whether it was a just smokescreen of hype. And I granted his point. I’ve long been dubious of Internet celebrity’s staying power. It seems the Internet famous hit that moment where they’re on the Today Show, and just about to close a deal with ABC or HBO or pick the big money, you’ve-made-it acronym, but it never really materializes.

I’ve watched this happen several times since I entered the scene in 2006. Internet Celebrities attempting to take their game to the next level. The first, and most obvious example from the paragraph above being Amanda Congdon, formerly of Rocketboom fame, who went on to do Amanda Across America and then a derivative show for ABC where they attempted to emulate Rocketboom, but severely overproduced Amanda, stomping the life and fun out of the personality that she had brought to the Rocketboom anchor chair AND forcing 30-second pre-roll advertisements that had lots of people clicking off the site before they ever got to Amanda’s performance.

Another example would be Lisa Donavan (LisaNova), who went from YouTube to MADtv and then back to the internet. Then, there’s Ze Frank, who made up his own brand of show and viewer interaction, soared to immense popularity, deliberately quit his show after a calendar year and last I noticed, was on the lecture circuit.

So the question is whether the Personal Brand you’re creating “is actually translating into things that matter”. I touched upon this in August, 2008, in Conversion of “Cred”, but Sarah sums up my own personal experience here: Continue reading “Personal Brand? No Crossover”