Last Sunday night I was fortunate enough to attend Adele’s second sold-out concert in Brisbane. It was the city’s biggest-ever concert, with more than 60,000 adoring fans packed into Brisbane’s iconic sporting stadium, The Gabba. It’s no wonder. The British superstar has sold millions of albums, won numerous Grammy awards and has one of the most powerful voices in the music industry.
Yet on stage, Adele is so down to earth. She’s funny, genuine and authentic. She’s entertainment royalty, world class, yet people can easily relate to her.
Adele has the ideal personal brand. There are so many lessons we can learn from her for our own personally branded businesses. Adele shows us that we can stand head and shoulders above the rest and still make genuine, meaningful connections with people.
But how, exactly, does she do this?
1. She’s instantly recognisable.
Central to Adele’s personal brand are her stunning eyes and trademark bold lashes. Adele likes to wear dramatic false eyelashes and thick eyeliner. At her concert, she appeared on stage with her eyes cast downwards. When the song “Hello” began, her eyes flicked open and the crowd roared with delight. It was something they immediately recognised and could connect with.
2. She shows us she’s human.
Adele has an incredible sense of humour. Her infectious laugh and ability to poke fun at herself on stage makes her so human. Despite her light-hearted persona, it’s fair to say many of her songs have a melancholy undertone. Something she addresses on stage when engaging directly with the audience. This kind of personal interaction brings her even closer to her fans. She acknowledges her dark side, but can also lighten the mood when it’s needed. Rather than automatically moving from song to song, she asks the audience questions: “How are you? Are you having a great time? Who received tickets to tonight for their birthday?” This demonstrates that she respects and cares about her fans, reinforcing her connection with them. Her comical reaction to some uninvited guests on stage, in this case Brisbane’s renowned subtropical insect life, drew many laughs from the crowd and reinforced she’s only human.
3. She shares aspects of her life, interests and vulnerability.
What really came through in Adele’s show was the love she has for her son. She talked about how he makes her world so special. She even took the time to make the children who were at the show feel included. Adele also revealed another – perhaps surprising – passion at her concert: basketball! Her own “kiss cam” – a live video feed during basketball and sporting events, where a camera scans the crowd and selects a couple who are encouraged by the audience to kiss – was a real hit. It was yet another insight into her sense of humour and “Adele the person”.
Essentially, the key to Adele’s effective personal brand is communication. It’s not all about her “genius” – her amazing singing ability. It’s also about the way she presents herself, the way she interacts with her audience and injects herself into everything she says and does. That’s what attracts people to her. She says “I’m really happy to be me, and I’d like to think people like me more because I’m happy with myself and not because I refuse to conform to anything.”
So, I encourage you to look at the way you communicate with people. How can you put more of yourself into your communications to create an authentic, engaging and relatable personal brand?
Sharing your own “genius” or expertise is important, but to draw people in, you need to share all the different elements that make you “you”. Your blogs, videos and keynotes must give people an insight you as a person – not just you as the expert. What are your unique characteristics? What makes you different to everyone else? If you can harness and share these qualities, you will be well on the way to creating a powerful personal brand.