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What We Can Learn about Personal Branding from Dennis Rodman

When we think of Dennis Rodman, there are two or three words (besides dominant rebounder and defender) that thousands of people associate with him: Outrageous Bad Boy. How did he earn this moniker? Although I do not agree with his antics or politics, Dennis Rodman provides an excellent opportunity to identify the elements of developing a memorable personal brand: Leadership, Visibility and Consistency

The Personal Brand Dennis Rodman

Rodman was a leader in his marketplace, the National Basketball Association—a rebounder who would stop at nothing to get the ball. He was arguably one of the best rebounders in the history of the game and he has five championship rings to back up the claim.

Dennis Rodman's Personal Branding Strategy

What Dennis Rodman did brilliantly, and in a most unconventional way, was gain visibility. He started changing his appearance both on and off the court—constantly altering his hair color, flashing multiple tattoos, and displaying numerous body piercings.

He became a celebrity and began to appear on talk shows—not because he was a fierce rebounder (although that helped), but because of his outrageous behavior and eccentric appearance. Being extreme is what made him different, notable, and very special.

To brand yourself in a way that’s understood by all, you must be consistent in your message. Rodman was consistent, both on the court as well as off the court which made him a personal brand that people remember.

Personal Branding Gets Results

Ultimately, successful personal branding leads to a purchase or a decision. Dennis Rodman made movies, appeared on reality TV shows, and wrote two bestselling books. My favorite demonstration of personal brand strength is the commercial he made for milk producers. Wearing a milk mustache, and with his buff chest bared, Rodman sent a message without saying a word. Why would producers of such a wholesome product as milk hire Dennis Rodman? Because their message was clear: Even Bad Boys Drink Milk!

Use these three steps to develop your personal brand: become a leader in your industry such that you are associated with two or three words; gain visibility for your role as a leader; be consistent in your approach to the market.

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