A Branding Lesson from #TraceAdkins

I was in LAX last week, heading home from IT Expo, and I saw a familiar face sitting in the waiting area at my gate.  I couldn’t place him right away, so I did not approach, hoping that eventually my Trade Show weary brain could remember who he was or from where I knew him.

Nobody bothered him or spoke to him, he was just sitting there, looking bored, or maybe waiting for someone to meet him at the gate. Then he stood up, put on his black cowboy hat and suddenly I realized I was looking at country music superstar and “All-Star Celebrity Apprentice” winner Trace Adkins. He then strolled down the concourse out of my site.

A few minutes later he came back my way, took off his hat and sat across the concourse from me at another gate. Again, no one recognized him or spoke with him. Even though he was sprawled out across three seats, someone sat right next to him. That person never looked up from their smartphone, finished their message and then walked away without a word. That is about the time I took this terrible picture of him.

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He sat there for almost 45 minutes, not speaking with anyone, until they called for boarding on his flight. He stood, put on his hat, and was immediately surrounded buy a group of fans, phones out and taking selfies.

So, there is your branding lesson for the day.

HAT ON = instant recognition.  HAT OFF = near total anonymity.

May you all find your hat.