Build Your Brand Like a 19th-Century French Entertainer

You are probably familiar with the second noun in this title, but you likely don’t see a connection to the first, especially for how it relates to building a brand. There is one! But first, let’s cover some quick basics about branding, which are just as intriguing.

For a Financial Advisor or any other professional, branding is about showing the world who you are at a glance, including what you do and what clients can expect from you. Utilizing a sound strategy and a splash of charisma, you can persuade your audience to want to hear your message and buy what you’re selling. In many cases, your brand is YOU, so you need to:

  • articulate your value clearly and simply
  • highlight your fine points
  • hone your visual identity
  • know and understand your competition

So now let’s connect these seemingly disparate worlds. Picture in your mind Paris. Turn of the 19th century. La Belle Epoque. The streets were buzzing with life. People were enjoying some of the best art, literature, and entertainment in history. Newspapers were the most prominent form of “social media”, and a plethora of publications were competing for readers just as today’s feeds and sites try to rack up followers and revenue.

In their midst, a group of resourceful and charming French entertainers were rising through the ranks of the elite and making their mark on society. Not unlike the social influencers of the modern day, these women were carefully crafting their image and personas and finding clever ways to garner attention, and of course money. Journalists were on the hunt for headlines to grab readers’ attention, and these ladies happily obliged, in some cases making up “scandalous” stories to keep themselves in the public eye. The more exciting the stories, the more interest there was in patronage by the exceedingly wealthy and some crowned heads of Europe.

At the top of the list were Liane de Pougy and Caroline “La Belle” Otero. Otero was a celebrated singer and dancer and was the subject of countless posters, postcards, and even the inspiration for several movies. Liane de Pougy also tried her hand at dancing but found her greatest success in writing novels. These two pushed the limits of what they could do as women within the constraints of their position in society. They carved out successful lives in the most strategic ways they could think of. 



Let’s take some pointers from these entertainers and apply them to building your brand!

Articulate your value. One crucial point here is to know your strengths, whatever they might be, and capitalize on them to get where you want to be. De Pougy and Otero both knew their value and made sure the world knew it, too.

Get the word out. Clients won’t flock to your door if they don’t know who you are. Your social media presence should be strong and relevant to the audience you are trying to attract. Utilize marketing materials and communications in a targeted and consistent way. These women had mastered the art of getting attention through the media, and their likenesses were plastered on music halls and sent through the mail as correspondence!

Develop your identity and keep it consistent. Let your personality, your values, and your skills shine through. De Pougy and Otero were very stylish in their appearance and made sure what the public saw was upscale and attractive. For an advisor, this doesn’t mean wearing designer clothes! It’s more about how you want others to perceive you, partly in your appearance but more importantly in your message and the wrapper in which you deliver it, meaning your logo, tagline (if you have one), stationery, website, social media, imagery, etc.

Know your competition. De Pougy and Otero were fierce rivals. They ran in the same circles and were well aware of how their actions were perceived. We’re not implying you should pull stunts to outdo your competition, but you should be mindful of what they are doing that is getting results and what you may be doing better than they are. Symmetry’s Strategy Canvas is a valuable tool for understanding your competitive value.

With these tips in mind, you can build a solid brand that can get people talking about you more than Liane de Pougy on the Riviera and have clients singing your praises louder than Caroline Otero at the Folies Bèrgere.



Symmetry Partners, LLC, provides this communication on this site as a matter of general information. Information contained herein, including data or statistics quoted, are from sources believed to be reliable but cannot be guaranteed or warranted. Nothing on this site represents a recommendation of any particular security, strategy, or investment product. The opinions of the author are subject to change without notice. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may not be reflective of current opinions or positions. All content on this site is for educational purposes and should not be considered investment advice or an offer of any security for sale. Please be advised that Symmetry Partners does not provide tax or legal advice and nothing either stated or implied here on this site should be inferred as providing such advice. Symmetry Partners does not approve or endorse any third party communications on this site and will not be liable for any such posts.

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