King of Hype: What Elvis can teach us about creating a brand image that lasts

King of Hype What Elvis can teach us about creating a brand image that lasts

“Do something worth remembering.” ― Elvis Presley

From the moment Elvis entered the music scene in the 50’s, his Hollywood venture in the 60’s and up until now, 36 years after his death, no one has dared to dethrone the King of Rock and Roll.

And most likely, no one ever will.

Elvis became famous not just because of his voice or his charming looks. It’s not even because of his sexually provocative dancing style. He was well-loved because he made a connection with people – a bond that made him to become one of the most significant cultural icons in the US and the world.

For your brand to present itself to the public just like Elvis did, there must be passion to put the audience above all, and everything else will follow.

Be true – Elvis stuck with his genres (gospel, blues, country, rock and roll) throughout his career. He never tried to be someone else but himself, and it worked. People appreciate entities that are consistent despite society’s pressure. A true brand can act naturally according to its own terms without it having to pretend or mislead. As Elvis once said, “Truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain’t going away.”

Stimulate minds – To prove your worth, sometimes you have to show what you can do that makes you unique. Elvis did that by his own style of performances, from his pelvic gyrations (which made conservatives raise eyebrows – at least at first) to his meditative singing (like he was in a trance). It got people thinking and talking about him, and his mark would become one of music’s most popular signatures. Does your company have a unique signature?

Take risks – His transition to film was a great risk to a music career at its peak. His hiatus from concerts was a great risk (and even angered the concert-going public). His preference for what was called “race music” during a time of racial discrimination was also a risk. But these threats didn’t stop Elvis from doing what he loved best. Is your company willing to take risks?

Great covers, classic interpretations – Elvis didn’t write any of his songs. But when you listen to him, you would feel the emotions behind the words. He was such a marvelous interpreter that his cover versions became more popular and artistically preferred than the original. This tells us that whether in content, social media or print, we don’t have to be original all the time – we just need to know how to convey the message in our own, spectacular way.

Live your values – Elvis was outspoken in terms of his devotion to God, his willingness to serve the army just like everyone else, and his respect for the African-American community. He carried his values with him wherever he went and nothing made it falter. Think about the values your company upholds, and assess whether it’s doing a good job of sticking to them.