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Personal Branding Case Study: Adam Lambert

Written by Katy Goshtasbi

Posted on: July 8, 2013

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I recently attended a concert by Adam Lambert. For those of you who need a refresher, Adam is the San Diego native who came in second place on American Idol, Season 8.  Some would say looking back he really should have won and has had a more impactful career than the actual Season 8 winner.

The concert was fantastic- fast, fun, funny with a quality vocal performance by Adam and band.  No one could possibly have been disappointed by the hometown boy who kindly displayed his loyalty and appreciation to San Diego.

Putting on my personal branding expert hat, I was baffled as I looked around the fan base during the concert.  After the Michael Buble’ concert a few years ago, I never thought I could be more baffled.  However, I was.

Adam’s audience was loud, wild and ….very varied. So varied that my husband even noticed and commented.   All of this made me think what kind of personal brand appeal would attract this audience and why? At first I thought it may have something to do with the venue being the fairgrounds. I quickly dismissed that notion.

Besides the expected young, gay men and heterosexual women in their early twenties, let me give you a sampling:

–  Behind us sat three, thirteen year old girls who were clearly unaware of Adam’s sexual orientation.  Not only did they scream (constantly and at the top of their lungs.  Translation: deafening) “I love you, Adam”, but at some point when he took off his jacket, they screamed, “take it all off!”  We chuckled.

-The row in front of us had five fans who were easily between the ages fifty-five to sixty-five.  They were dancing, taking pictures and even pulled up Adam’s Facebook page on their phones during the concert.  One of them even had a backpack with the name of a monastery on it….

– Next to us on one side sat a mother (forty-five years and above) and daughter (nineteen).  They claimed they LOVED LOVED LOVED Adam and this was the second (of many more) time they had seen him in concert.  I think the mother loved him more than her daughter did.

-On the other side of us was an African-American man with dreadlocks, a happy toothless smile, and cowboy boots.  He was there with his blond hair, blue-eyed wife.  Both were in their early sixties, I would guess.

So how is it possible that Adam Lambert has this varied of a personal brand appeal?  Leaves the rest of us envious and wanting to do the same with our personal and business brands, I would say.

Well, I would venture it has something to do with the playlist.  Not only did he sing all his popular songs, but he sang (and brought in very real, touching commentary about) songs from Tears for Fears, Hendrix, Bob Marley, and Queen.  With this varied and exciting playlist, it is easy to see how he captured such a varied audience.

However, the main reason I think he has such a great personal brand is because of his presence on stage.  Adam’s dialogue with his audience coupled with his nonverbal communication seemed genuine, thankful, gracious (he tried his hand at comedy and readily admitted he was not a comedian), humble, and get ready for it- JOYFUL!  And let’s not forget the semi-regular streaker/fan he has.  Yes, she was back.  He even handled her with grace, asking the cops not to arrest her.

So next time you go to a concert, look at the singer and see what about his/her personal brand works for you and what doesn’t. How can you adapt your personal brand based on what you saw and felt?



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