Harry Potter and Personal Branding

The Wizarding World of Harry PotterThe Wizarding World of Harry Potter opened at Universal Studios Orlando June 18 and the studio is reporting rising attendance and guest spending. This is of particular significance since Universal's theme park attendance had been hurt by the global recession and travel slowdown. The opening of the new attraction had been a long awaited event for Universal and Harry Potter fans, so the news of positive performance brings a welcome sigh of relief for the hefty $250 million bet Universal placed when they went after the Harry Potter attraction and scooped it out from under Disney who resides only a few miles away.

While all looks great with Harry Potter and the investment Universal made, the naysayers have been wondering out loud if Harry Potter will indeed have legs for years to come, after the last movie is out. After all, J.K. Rowling has said she will write no more Potter books and she certainly has enough money (Forbes estimates her net worth at more than $1 billion) to make that statement believable.

First, it will be a very long time before all of the Harry Potter fans even have an opportunity to go to the attraction. By then, many of the readers will have had more of their children come of reading age and turned into Harry Potter fans. And at some point, the books will pass down to the next generation. Additionally, just because J.K. Rowling doesn't want to write any more books, doesn't mean she won't license different forms of Harry Potter adventures, from cartoons to video games. All of this brand continuity is up to Universal, who has both the burden and the opportunity, to make the Harry Potter brand stay fresh and make its product line continue to flow.

The lesson in all of this for us is to remember that we too must be vigilant with our own brands and work to keep them fresh with new ideas and expanding products that not only grow in number, but also lead into new business verticals and opportunities. Like Universal, most of us have invested lots of time and money to build our brand and in doing so have secured a bit of intellectual property that we have that is unique. While our brand may not have the value of Harry Potter, it doesn't have to for it to be an opportunity to create more jobs, economic growth contributions, and a nice nest egg for ourselves and families. That's a bit of "Wizarding" magic in and of itself.

JW Dicks (@jwdicks) & Nick Nanton (@nicknanton) are best-selling authors that consult for small- and medium-sized businesses on how to build their business through Personality Driven Marketing, Personal Brand Positioning, Guaranteed Media, and Mining Hidden Business Assets. They offer free articles, white papers, and case studies at their Web site. Jack and Nick have been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Newsweek, FastCompany.com, and many more media outlets.

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