Wendy Williams isn’t just a source for all things pop culture and hot topics, but she’s also a source of inspiration for any entrepreneur or brand looking to pave its own way and truly make its mark.
Starting from humble beginnings as a radio talk show host, Williams has evolved into the new queen of daytime talk, a best-selling author, reality personality, a Broadway star, Dancing with the Stars alum, and silver screen actress. I took a deep look into the trajectory of her career and extracted five key lessons you can learn from Williams to take your brand, whether its personal, product, or service, to the next level.
Lesson #1: Be authentic – stay true to who you are
Authenticity maybe a media buzzword this year, but Williams is the living and breathing example of what it means to truly embody your brand’s purpose in an authentic way.
Love her or hate her, she says exactly what’s on her mind and she isn’t afraid to alienate the Hollywood elite by staying truthful and honest with her viewers, fans, and readers. She stays true to her brand purpose of keeping her viewers informed on the latest pop culture news while giving them her unique perspective on every situation.
Key insight: Stay true to your brand’s purpose and your consumers will stay true to you.
Lesson #2: Define your brand voice and essence – keep it consistent through out the total brand experience
Williams’ signature catchphrase “How you doin’?” is infectious and symbolic of the talk show host’s brand voice and essence. She’s approachable, down-to-earth, a best friend that you want to get a glass of wine and gossip with, and she always keeps it real.
She has clearly defined what the“Wendy Williams” brand stands for and that type of clarity and transparency truly resonates with her viewers and fans. She also calls her studio audience her “co-host” which creates a feeling of partnership and investment of being loyal to watching the show.
Key insight: Ensure that the experience at every consumer touch-point is in alignment with your brand voice and essence, for a consistent and unified brand experience. This builds consumer trust and loyalty.
Lesson #3: Stay focused on you brand vision
When Williams was asked to be the “Spinderella” of Salt-N-Pepa during her radio disc jockey days, she turned down the offer in favor of staying on her path of realizing her ultimate goal of having her own television show. She had created a long-term vision for her brand and took the necessary steps in order to make that happen, including turning down short-term lucrative deals. That choice has clearly paid off in dividends.
Key insight: Set long-term, specific goals for your brand and then make decisions based on reaching those goals that are in alignment with your overall vision.
Lesson #4: Be transparent, engaging, and humble – people connect to what’s real and true
What I love even more than the celebrity insider scoop on “Hot Topics” on The Wendy Show, is her personal stories about what she cooked for her husband and son, her own celebrity encounters, her struggles with thyroid disease, how her wig is fitting that day, and so on. She has a magical way of keeping her viewers engulfed in her day-to-day stories by engaging with them on a human and personal level.
She also does a YouTube video series called “The After Show” where she answers viewer questions usually submitted through Facebook and Twitter, her own reactions to guests and gossip, and what’s shaking up in her own personal life. It’s a window into Wendy that truly creates a dialogue between her and the viewer.
Key insight: Show that your brand is real and vulnerable and people will connect with it on personal and meaningful level. This level of engagement creates customer loyalty and converts fans into brand ambassadors.
Lesson #5: Diversify in ways that are true to your brand
Williams has diversified her brand and expanded her empire in ways that stay authentic to her core brand. For example, she launched a premium wig line, she proudly wears a wig due to her thyroid disease and she gives helpful hair care tips on her show. She starred on Broadway in Chicago as Mama Morton, a strong yet playful character that was perfect for Williams. She’s also reprising her role as Gail, Kevin Hart’s character’s wife in Think Like A Man 2, but is very vocal that although she acts, she isn’t an “actor” and refuses to do sex and nude scenes or gain weight for a role. It’s doesn’t anymore authentic than that.
Key insight: Create a strong foundation for your brand and expand your offerings from there, your consumers will follow.
So whether or not you’re a fan of the daytime talk show diva, you have to respect her authenticity, transparency, humility, innovative business-savvy, and unyielding work ethic. Perhaps you could even learn a thing or two from the media maven on how to elevate your brand. How you doin’?