Part 3: Watch Out for the "Pigeonhole Trap"

This is part three of our blog series entitled: Real Estate Agent Personal Branding: Learning form American Idol. It is a fun and easy way to learn the principles of personal branding. You do not have to be an Idol fan to enjoy!

In the selection process to determine the top 36 contestants for 2009 American Idol, the judges called two contestants in for a final sing off: Matt Breitzke and Michael Sarver. Why these two together? Because they are both blue collar workers, married with kids. They were “pigeonholed” in the same brand category by the judges: burly blue collar workers. From a personal branding standpoint, this is perhaps one of the most important stories to watch on the show.

Based on appearance alone, one could say that they do have similar body types. But, this competition is not about acting based on looks, it is about having a great voice. In post #1 we said, “If you have talent, you have marketability”. Both guys have talent and marketability.

In post #2 we talked about the importance of your background story as a building block of your personal brand. But, what if you have virtually the same story as your competitor like Matt and Michael? How do you stand out? How do you differentiate yourself from your competitor? This is the most important question about real estate agent personal branding!

We will answer this question of differentiation and also explain how to avoid the “pigeonhole trap” in subsequent posts in this series. But, here we look at what can happen if you fall into this trap.

In the case of Matt and Michael the judges decided to let America vote instead of picking one or the other. Both contestants went on to the top 36. The sing-off on TV essentially created a brand category by linking these two together in the minds of the voters, a brand category that may not have been formulated otherwise.

It was Michael Starver, the oil rigger, who was voted into the top 12 in the first week of audience participation. His counterpart will come up in the second week. What do you think the chances are the Matt will also make it?

Click here to view the entire American Idol- real estate agent personal branding blog series

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