Personal Branding: Do you have what it takes to become an icon?

Recently word on Facebook from my group was all about a local icon, the Pepperoni Cannoli guy. Someone spotted him and posted it on her Facebook page. Well, comments started rolling in. People said how glad they were to know he was still around and memories were shared about other sightings and personal experiences dealing with Pepperoni Cannoli – and his magic cooler.

Who is he? He’s a local Milwaukee icon. A tiny, grey-haired Italian guy, who, every night at bar time, would go from bar to bar on the East Side, carrying his cooler and yelling  to all remaining patrons, “Pepperoni? Cannoli?” Holding them up so people could get a good look at his wares.

You could count on him. You knew that if you simply waited around long enough, you could get a pepperoni or a cannoli or at least watch others take a bite. (I recommend watching…)

So, do you have what it takes to become an icon? It’s not all about the food, the thick Italian accent, or the cooler. What Pepperoni Cannoli guy has, that others can emulate, are the following very good brand attributes that make him memorable:

1. Consistency – You knew that if you stuck around until bar time, Pepperoni Cannoli guy would stop by. He was consistent. He made the rounds roughly the same time, every time. What can you do that is consistent? Have you got a newsletter that you send out when you feel like it? Put it in your calendar that you’ll now send it out every two weeks, like clockwork, like Pepperoni Cannoli guy. How’s your job search going? Were you taking the summer off? Guess what, Pepperoni Cannoli guy never skipped. Get back on track and schedule regular time in each week for your search.

2. Constant – He was everywhere, it seemed. The locals just knew it. Pepperoni Cannoli guy got around. Are you visible? If not, create a blog. Create your own Facebook Fan Page. Post on others’ blogs. Write a white-paper. Get known.

3. Recognizable Image – Pepperoni Cannoli Guy always wore the same jacket and brought along the same cooler. He was recognizable. Jackie O had the sunglasses, Pepperoni Cannoli guy has his cooler. The Situation has chiseled abs. What is your signature piece?

4. Brand statement: You knew that when you saw him holding up that cooler, he’d say, “Pepperoni? Cannoli?” And it would be loud enough for all to hear his cry. Donald Trump says, “You’re fired!” What’s your tag line? Have you got a brand statement that communicates what you offer?

5. Memorable experience: Because of the traits above, the timing (bar time), stories abound about the Pepperoni Cannoli guy. He’s memorable. People love to share stories about him and their experiences. They become his unpaid sales reps. Richard Branson has his own island where he takes VIPs. Pepperoni Cannoli guy arrives at bar time. What can you do for your business that is a memorable experience that drives your clients to tell others about you? How about your job search?

And finally, the Pepperoni Cannoli guy has his own Facebook Fan Page! Yeah, he gets with the times, no matter his age. Here it is: Frank, the Pepperoni Cannoli guy. Are you up-do-date with your skills? Time to get with it. Even Betty White landed Saturday Night Live through a Facebook campaign – and she was 88-and-a-half.

Want help with your brand? Want to be a memorable icon? Check out Rock Your Career® and give me a call.

Got your own local icon story to share? Please do!

(Note: Links about the Pepperoni Cannoli guy are to OnMilwaukee.com’s local icon article and to Pepperoni Cannoli guy’s own Facebook page. Enjoy!)

UPDATE: Frank, Milwaukee’s famous Pepperoni Cannoli guy died Feb. 2012. Here is an ode to his memory: RIP Frank “Pepperoni Cannoli” Pecoraro.

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