Written on the 5 March 2015 by Rachel Quilty, Personal Brand Strategist
50 Shades of Personal Branding
By now you've heard about or watched the recently released first instalment of the Fifty Shades Trilogy - Fifty Shades of Grey? Before you read on I offer a warning with this article, some of the contents maybe a little provocative but not too x rated - read at your own risk .
A great deal of negative commentary surrounded the release of Fifty Shades of Grey, specifically about the lack lustre love scenes. Many people asked where was the erotica??
If you haven't seen the film, I am sure you'll be shocked at the volume of nudity unless you were anticipating a movie with a XXX rating rather than R.
And well, if you've read the books you'll know firstly, a lot of the expected erotica is in the next book and secondly, the book series is not all about sex. All be it, there are a number of extremely steamy scenes within the pages of the book that had over 80 million readers fanning themselves.
People are shocked when I say the Fifty Shades series is not all about sex. I think the books are about determining your personal brand values and boundaries; understanding the psychology behind a healthy self identity; and ultimately recognising we are all worthy of love. Let me know your thoughts once I've explained my rationale below.
Personal branding is about finding clarity, about and within yourself. Removing or reducing the shades of grey and becoming crystal clear about who you are and what your mission is. Fifty shades of grey is where most people dwell - unclear and unsure of who they are, what they represent and where they're going.
The fifty shades line is significant. The frustrated revelation "Because I'm fifty shades of #$@!ed-up, Anastasia" is voiced by Christian Grey. His dark desires and lifestyle stem from a broken, traumatic childhood where control becomes paramount and disturbingly confused with childhood memories and experiences.
Anastasia however, after a conscious decision to taste the temptations of the dark side, retreats from the darkness; establishes her boundaries reinforcing her values and personal limitations. These measures intrinsically force Christian to question his values, what is important to him and the future expression of his love.
"This is a man in need. His fear is naked and obvious, but he's lost. . . Somewhere in his darkness.
His eyes wide and bleak and tortured. I can soothe him. Join him briefly in the darkness and bring him into the light." Anastasia Steele E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
Each of us will be tempted, tested by trials and tribulations and forced to determine and maintain our values - what is important to us.
"We're coming near to the end of the bridge, and the road is once more bathed in the neon light of the street lamps so his face is intermittently in the light and the dark. And it's such a fitting metaphor. This man, whom I once thought of as a romantic hero, a brave shining white knightor the dark knight, as he said. He's not a hero; he's a man with serious, deep emotional flaws, and he's dragging me into the dark. Can I not guide him into the light?" Anastasia E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
This is at the heart of personal branding. Our brand is strengthened by our strong sense of self and our clear understanding of our own self identity.
Within our training series - Brand Yourself the Authority we case study the Fifty Shades Brand, so you can imagine we have a lot fun, laughs and red cheek moments (no palm-twitching pun intended). We look at the characters, the author, the brand attributes and the erotic brand empire which is Fifty Shades of Grey.
This article is not to discuss the brand attributes of Fifty Shades or the lifestyles reflected or its moral fibre but to provoke your thinking, like the book. In your life where are your Fifty Shades of Grey? Where is your area of calmity? Where is your area of clarity? What are your personal brand values? What or who may be tempting you to step away from your true self or your true calling? Where are your brand boundaries? What are your hard limits? Where have these been compromised? What can you do to move into the light?
"I don't have a philosophy as such. Maybe a guiding principle, Carnegie's A man who acquires the ability to take full possession of his own mind may take possession of anything else to which he is justly entitled.' I'm very singular, driven. I like control... of myself and those around me." "You sound like a control freak." The words are out of my mouth before I can stop them. "Oh, I exercise control in all things, Miss Steele," he says without a trace of humor in his smile." E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
I often say our spotlight is in our story, in our shame. "There's a very fine line between pleasure and pain. They are two sides of the same coin, one not existing without the other." E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey. Christian Grey's fears, subsequent lifestyle and personal journey are what rivets the audience as he struggles towards the light. While Anastasia Steele's concise conscious consideration of her choices provokes our own internal debate about saying no, resisting temptation and remaining true to ourselves. Understanding your strengths and weakness is invalable to your brand and it is often said that your greatest strength is also your greatest weakness. Case in point, Christian Grey's self control has made him financially successful while also manifesting in a darker issue, which he himself recognises and hence his comment about being fifty shades.
Finding your true self and your personal strengths is often the journey exposed as we establish and build our personal brand. Discovering and creating your personal brand is simply revisiting the foundations of your brand, your personal and professional values and establishing a blueprint for your personal brand growth.
"This is all I know, too. Perhaps together we can chart a new course." E.L. James, Fifty Shades of Grey
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The brand Fifty Shades of Grey and all quotes of EL James, Fifty Shades of Grey remain the property of EL James and associated brands.
About the Author:
Rachel Quilty is a Personal Branding Strategist. She is also known as the "Authority" on Personal Branding within Australia.
Rachel is the owner and CEO of Jump the Q Inc, a Personal Brand consulting firm with offices in Brisbane as well as in Las Vegas, in the US.
Rachel is also the Author of the book, 'Brand Yourself: How to design, build and position your personal brand' which is also now listed on Amazon.
Rachel regularly speaks on the importance of personal branding and strategic brand management. She assists her students and clients around the world to leverage their professional profile and expertise to establish their personal brand as the authority and recognised leader within their industry.
Rachel regularly speaks at seminars, conferences and workshops on personal branding, professional image and developing your signature brand. She has presented at Bond University, Gr iffith University Business School, Ernst & Young, Westfield, NSAA; conferences in Las Vegas, Hawaii, Tasmania, Gold Coast and Expos in Brisbane.
Rachel has also been featured in Australia on the Today show as well various national radio programs including 4BC & ABC. She recently featured in the Australian Institute of Management magazine and is regularly featured in popular magazines such as Cosmopolitan, Cleo, Marie Claire and national newspapers include the Courier Mail, Sun Herald and the Weekend Australian.
Rachel made a splash in the USA with a recent interview on Voice America Radio hosted by Personal Finance Guru Jordon E Goodman the author of a dozen best sellers and is a regular on CNN and The View. Rachel also recently spoke in Las Vegas at the Ultimate Joint Venture Boot Camp with some of the most prominent speakers in the world.
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