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Fat Duck comes to Melbourne – Lessons On Personal Branding

Heston Blumenthal’s world class dining experience, the Fat Duck, is coming to Melbourne in February 2015. It feels like the whole of Melbourne has already entered or is planning to enter the ballot, which is open until October 26th. An independent third party will draw your golden ticket from the pool of ballots and allocate your dinner reservation at $525 per head. 

Essentially this would feed my children for a month: organic, uncaged, and gluten-free, if I wanted. Yet I am getting a little fidgety imagining I may be the only one who misses out if she doesn’t put her name down this week. 
 
When did we begin to think that $ 525 is a reasonable price for a dinner? That’s without the vino.

To understand the origin of this hype I took a closer look at Heston Blumenthal’s brand and discovered that right from the start he communicated and positioned himself in a very distinct way. He differentiated himself from all other celebrity chefs around and took to food in a scientific and creative way, which was different to what all others did. He found patrons that were willing to pay for an experience and not for a particularly filling dinner.

A friend of mine went to the Fat Duck in Bray in the UK a few years ago. He saved up his cash for months to take out his new girlfriend and impress her with an extraordinary experience, which they both had, and they are now married. They ended the night with a kebab in a dodgy take-away after leaving the place hungry. When you ask the couple today, they would do it again anytime.

With branding having moved way beyond its traditional product-based realm and Melbourne in a super-excited state, here is my question: What can we learn from Heston about Personal Branding? 

 
Know Who You Are

To create a brand that truly reflects who you are, you have to meticulously work out what you stand for, what your values are and how you would like to be perceived by your audience. With this knowledge you can start crafting your unique message and look to position yourself favorably in the mind of your target market. 

Blumenthal may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but that does not seem to matter. Even though he is not your approachable guy next-door like Jamie Oliver, it feels like we know him anyway because he confidently communicates his message. 

 
Be Strategic But Stick To Your Guns

Working out your future target audience is important research you should do before you start your

branding journey. Mapping out how you would like to speak to your market and what content you want to share, is equally as important as to finding your ideal platforms to connect with your people. 

A lot of information can be taken out of the brands that have inspired you in the past. What attracts you to them? How do they reach you? 

While taking inspiration from your idols, try not to copy them. People can tell whether a ‘real’ person who truly lives what they say is speaking to them or not. It is important to regularly reflect on your values and goals to reconnect with yourself as a person. 

 
My Tip

You are unique and you have very specific tools and abilities to offer. Speak to us about exploring your goals, personality, aspirations, strengths, values and your “Why” to understand and document your brand and your business.

You might ask “What if I have been running my business for a few years and never paid attention to personal branding?” It is never too late to establish your brand. We can help you craft your message and attract your perfect client by translating your vision and our understanding of your brand into digital assets to create a powerful personal brand platform.

With my finger on the ‘submit’ button I am wondering what I would feed my children for the month if I were one of the lucky people to indulge in Blumenthal’s snail porridge.

Andrew Ford

Social Star, Level 4, Suite 402, 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Australia

Marketing expert Andrew Ford, the founder of Social Star, has discovered the secret of ‘Powerful Branding’. With a fire for unleashing people’s inner brand and developing business models to generate profit from an individual’s passions, Andrew leverages ground-breaking digital and social media marketing techniques to create digital strategies for clients to attract maximum opportunities. Having established a strong name for himself in the field, Andrew blends traditional business techniques with now-necessary tools for entrepreneurs to achieve scale, quality, and influence in their niche. Andrew’s comprehensive business background and qualifications consist of a Bachelor of Business (Marketing) (RMIT 2003), a Graduate Certificate in Management (MBA Executive Program, University of Sydney 2005), and a Masters of Entrepreneurship and Innovation (Swinburne University 2011). Continually on the cutting edge of his own education, Andrew has tested his marketing theories in forums such as the BCG Business Strategy Competition, which he won in 2005 against all Victorian MBA schools, and the Venture Cup Business Plan Competition (Swinburne University 2003), which he won in the Masters category. With experience working at Hewlett-Packard, Sensis (Telstra) and IBM, Andrew also has mentored dozens of junior staffs to help them achieve their professional goals. Meeting and influencing high-profile public figures helped Andrew to realise just how many professionals require more understanding and control of their public brands or appearance, and need help with the skills to use the many amazing free tools at their disposal to generate success. At Social Star, Andrew consults with clients to uncover their personal brand – both where it is today and where it can be tomorrow – and refine and define how that should be displayed in social media in order to attract their perfect target audience. Andrew mentors his clients to rapidly grow their business’ audiences, resulting in larger potential client bases and higher revenue. Applying formulas that integrate over twenty years of Andrew’s business experience and fifteen years of formal business education, Social Star specialises in building clarity and velocity for clients’ brands using the ‘Understand, Build and Leverage’ methodology. ‘Having a Personal Business enables people to have an authentic, congruent connection with their valued clients and partners, using their brand as the bridge,’ says Andrew. ‘I’m highly driven to work with the new breed of entrepreneurs and small business owners – people who have a passion for making the world a better place. Traditional business models are stepping aside as people follow their innermost dreams and my role is to see them operate within their values while creating wealth. Some people think you have to sacrifice what you love to be successful in your business, yet it is actually the opposite. Follow your passion and success will come.’ Lecturing at Swinburne University from 2009 to 2011 on brand dynamics and digital marketing, presenting at numerous conferences, and consulting to hundreds of clients, Andrew has seen his philosophy work that if you follow your unique path, based on your skills, experience, values and goals, you will automatically attract the opportunities you desire and achieve the success you deserve. Living his mantra, Andrew has created a successful business and attracts high-profile clients including musicians, athletes, authors, models, entrepreneurs, professionals and small business owners, helping them find their ‘why’ in their business and fulfilment in their lives. Business for Andrew is more than work, it’s personal. Running a personal business means that he is able to fulfil all of his values rather than separating his life from work. It supports his two boys while providing social opportunities, educational development, fitness opportunities, spiritual fulfilment and many valuable friendships. Social Star has now become the vehicle for Andrew to crystallise his mission in the world, to help people love what they do, supporting his ‘why’, that if more people loved what they did, the world would be a better place.

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