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Branded: I Am the Hula-Hoop Queen!

Yes, ordinary people like us can have a personal brand. I know because my father gave me my first taste of having one (along with my 15 minutes of fame!) while he was running his PR business—when he rather shamelessly exploited both my brother and me to help him promote his clients’ products.

On one occasion, Dad asked me to meet him at Toronto City Hall after school. When I arrived, I saw Dad and his photographer waiting for me with a hula hoop.

This was 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year, with the highlight of the summer being the world’s fair in Montreal. The popularity of the hula hoop had certainly dwindled since it’s heyday in the ’50s, but it was my father’s mission to stage a comeback using me as his less than enthusiastic accomplice.

“You can hula-hoop, right?” Dad asked.

“A little, but I haven’t done it in awhile,” I told him honestly.

“Doesn’t matter. Just take off your shoes and wade into the reflecting pool and fake it while we take a few pictures.”
I was now fourteen years old and my prime hula-hooping days were behind me, and so as I struggled to move my hips and keep the darn thing from falling down, I noticed a crowd was gathering.

“Keep going. You are doing great,” Dad shouted as a news photographer, then a TV camera crew, and finally an intrepid reporter took off his shoes and socks and waded over to me to ask a few embarrassing questions—
“How long have you been hula-hooping?”

“And when did you decide to hula-hoop your way to the world’s fair?”

And that’s how I found myself branded as Canada’s Hula-Hoop Queen for a summer—creating quite the buzz along with a short but successful revival of the hula hoop, much to my father’s and his client’s delight. Needless to say, my hula-hooping certainly improved.

And it was all making me think—if I could be branded for a summer with so little to go on, what kind of brand could one create based on a genuine discovery of who you are and how you are unique!
(Next time—What’s the Recipe for a Personal Brand? Your Secret Sauce?)

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