The Day I Interviewed Michael Jackson

The Day I Interviewed Michael Jackson

 My friend Fifi, is a huge MJ fan, almost died with envy the day I told her about me interviewing MJ. She is one of his biggest fan and couldn’t believe her ears when I told about the day I interviewed The King of Pop. Well, I sort of interviewed him. Okay, okay it was only a dream. But I interviewed him in my dream.

I have been thinking a lot about the infamous King of Pop. I think MJ is someone we can all learn from, especially about marketing, branding and image. This guy knew how to sell. Forget about his sleuth of problems with the law etc. Let’s face it, we should all be so good at what we do to have people talking (and writing articles) about us for 30+ years non-stop, and around the world. Despite his sudden unexplained death, the King of Pop does live on!

In my dream, I dreamt that I interviewed MJ…… Here’s what the King of Pop had to say :

What is your basic Branding communication philosophy?

Be different! Stand Out! Make a Statement! Just, be different.

First it was my clothes, then hair, then my glove, then my skin colour and then my nose…ok, I did go a bit overboard but you get the picture, be different!

What do you think is the key to Branding success?

Well, it’s like this Leslie. You have got to make being around you a really cool and bad experience, and by bad I mean good. I mean, you must make people talk about you and what you sell. If you think about it, I got so many fans because I knew how to make the customers ecstatic. You must give the customer something so special, you under promise and over deliver and they will tell all their friends. Do you want me to sing or dance yet? (No, MJ, let’s just finish the interview first!)
What advice do you have on Branding for the newcomer to the business world?

Well, I’d have to suggest that a newcomer in the business world is communicate that “I’ll be there” be dependable and available. Always , always “Look at the Man in the Mirror” cause it starts with you, take responsibility. Know that things in this world are never just “Black & White” so learn to read people and situations, anticipate and stay ahead of the game. Get really good at what’s important or your core competence. People forget I started performing when I was 5, so my solo albums, my moonwalk etc did not get done overnight. I practiced and practiced and practiced and ok , you get the point. There is no easy road to success….you have to work at it. Just Beat It ! Branding takes time and hard work but the pay-off is great!

What’s really important in branding?
For a Pop star?

(Come on MJ, this is a serious interview, for a prestigious business magazine. Do you want me to get in trouble?)

Okay, okay. What’s really important in business is to do what I did in music. Even though I sold to millions, most people felt as if they knew me intimately. (He starts singing, “You and I must make a pact”. Most never met me but I’m sure if you asked they trusted me. So, I’d have to say that as far as selling anything goes, be it product, service or yourself …. build trust. A Brand must be trusted.
How do you build trust?

Be consistent. Be visible. Be true to who you are. Care more about them than about you. They have got to feel like you really want to ‘Heal the World’. Be sincere. Remember you are dealing with human beings, so “ The Way You Make Me Feel” is something you always need to consider, how do people feel when dealing with you. It determines your success. Think about it we buy a brand because of how it makes us feel!

What prevents people from winning in Life?
They don’t wear a sequined sliver glove!. Just kidding! Fear to try, fear of failure, a lack of belief in themselves. “ Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough.” & “ Working Day & Night”. Branding requires hard work.

What is the key to your brand and success?
I think there were 3 essential elements that anyone reading this article might relate to:
First, I got good at my craft. I studied, I practiced and I learned everything I could about the business. I investigated the winners and the losers. I was a perfectionist when it came to my delivery, my image, my performance. Others knew I was committed and professional.

Second, I got the message out in an exciting manner. People like dealing with people who are alive and enthusiastic. I’m not suggesting people bring a sequined glove or thrusts their hips upward in their next business meeting but I am suggesting being positive and alert and even adding some humor. “ The Girl is Mine” is an example of this. People laughed and thought it was cute when Paul McCartney and I sang that song. Make dealing with you exciting, unpredictable, always something different man. I told you from the start be different, unique!

Third, I strove to make the customer ecstatic. I didn’t want to simply satisfy the customers; “ I Want You Back.” I wanted them to flip out when dealing with me. “I want to Rock The World.” We want our customers to say, He was fantastic, out of this world! We want to have people go nuts because of how we treat them. Remember again, “ The Way You Make Me Feel” is a key aspect of success. In Branding remember these 3 points – 1. Your Image 2. Be Unique 3. How You make People feel.
Is there any summary advice from your music that would be helpful in branding?

Man in the Mirror: It starts with you, you have to take responsibility, where you’ll end up. It is also a matter of how you see yourself. See yourself as a success and make it happen. Have a clear vision of your brand, the image you want to create in people’s minds and hearts.

The Way You Make Me Feel: That’s the way you should treat your customers, staff, and people you deal with. People will bend over backwards, if you make them feel special, wanted, loved etc. Understanding and Treating people Right is a key element to branding success.

Man in the Mirror: Be sure to be dressed right, different, unique but admirable. This has to be applied to your profession and what is acceptable, make the right impression so look at the mirror. Whether its personal branding or product branding, same principle. ‘Package’ it Right!

One Day In My Life: Visualize what you are going to achieve.
Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough: Know what brand and Image you want to create. Be clear , be focused and go after it.

Keep the Faith: Motivation must come from within, and also sometimes in a faith that is bigger than you and Life. Know your goals and keep at it.

Fly Away: Is what you need to do, get your plan, visualize and then go for it. Branding needs momentum and a take off!

Wanna Be Starting Something : This world needs doers, people whom will put their dreams into action. Be a doer, not just a dreamer. Branding needs constant work, always looking at how you can set yourself apart.

How do you differentiate yourself in the marketplace?
Show up for your next meeting with one glove, red leather jacket and bleach your skin. (Yeah, right!) Differentiation is a good. I think that if you want to succeed, you have to be different. I had this problem when I began. There were so many singers and musicians. I needed to stand out. I think successful people need to stand out. Why should someone deal with you instead of the competition? You or your product, as a brand, must literally stand out.

How do you keep people loyal to your brand?
Give them what they want, be more concerned about them than yourself and make dealing with you an AWESOME experience. Oh, and stay in touch. The key is “The Way You Make Me Feel!” If people feel good using your brand they will keep using your product.

What is some of your favorite quotations?
~ “Products are made in the factory, but brands are created in the mind.” ~
Walter Landor

~ “A brand that captures your mind gains behavior. A brand that captures your heart gains commitment.” ~ Scott Talgo

“And I’m not an actress. I don’t think I am an actress. I think I’ve created a brand and a business.” Pamela Anderson

Regardless of age, regardless of position, regardless of the business we happen to be in, all of us need to understand the importance of branding. We are CEOs of our own companies: Me Inc. To be in business today, our most important job is to be head marketer for the brand called You.”
Tom Peters

“A great brand taps into emotions. Emotions drive most, if not all, of our decisions. A brand reaches out with a powerful connecting experience. It’s an emotional connecting point that transcends the product.”

Scott Bedbury/Nike, Starbucks
What is branding “success” in your opinion?
Branding Success means when people hear the initials ‘MJ’, they know it stands for ‘Michael Jackson’ regardless of whether it is Europe, USA, Asia or South America. I am Recognized. When they see a sequined glove, they think of me, when they hear my song, it makes them feel my message, it means it brings a positive feeling, image and experience to their hearts and minds. They may even be willing to pay a premium because it is Michael Jackson and that at the end of the day is QUALITY!

With that I woke up as I heard someone say…
“MJ has died!”

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