Fame for All: Entering the Fame Revolution

“I want to go back to when I did not have to be a movie star!”

exclaimed one of our clients. He was exasperated at the time it took to get ready for lights, camera, and action recording over Zoom. He felt the pressure when an industry association requested a video of him—a written quote was no longer enough. Accustomed to quietly running global B2B companies for over two decades, John suddenly found himself front and center. He was uncomfortable with the changes and the new challenges he faced. 

This client was experiencing what I have been observing for years.

We are now in the midst of the Fame Revolution, where everyone needs to become famous for what they do.

Fame has been democratized.

Before the Fame Revolution, achieving fame was for the few, the political leaders, actors, musicians, and artists with teams of professionals behind them, but the playing field has been leveled. Now, in the business world, it is no longer enough to let your product speak for itself. Now, you have to be known. 

Today, over 86% of the world has a smartphone and a media company in their pocket and can post a reel or TikTok and suddenly go viral. The masses have diverted away from the traditional gatekeepers and found their tribe, and this tsunami of change is like a gorilla dismantling the halls of the gatekeepers and traditional media. Interestingly, social media celebrities are now new to traditional media. The world has been turned upside down. 

Gone are the days of ample preparation time for my client. If and when he makes a television appearance, there is no full production team or studio. Now, videos are shot on smartphones, with makeshift backdrops, lighting, and limited support.

Gone are the days of prescriptive press releases and corporate communication with corporate speak; now, the spotlight demands selfies, blogs, and reels that showcase not just your product or service but who you are as a person. 

Gone are the days of being a private person with a private life. Now, we are expected to have an opinion and sometimes feel forced to be authentic when we do not want to be. 

I noticed that the way of doing business shifted with the COVID-19 pandemic and saw that the strategies once only for the few are now necessary for everyone.

I noticed a revolution in which fame has become democratized. I saw that the strategies I have used in my career to help politicians, celebrities, and musicians become famous are now necessary and useful for business. The strategy for the few—movie stars, rock stars, politicians, and presidential candidates—is now needed for everyone.

What exactly changed with the COVID-19 pandemic?

The way we connect changed. During the COVID-19 pandemic, face-to-face interaction was often restricted, many of us gravitated toward the online world to fill the gap. I connected with my friends and family, collaborated with colleagues, and even spoke at a national conference, all from behind a computer screen. In many cases, this non-optional push to online connection forced many people, me included, from behind the camera to in front of the camera. At first, it felt awkward, but we got used to it after a few tries. Even though the pandemic is over now, the normalization of video meetings has forever changed office culture, which has played a significant role in tipping us over to the Fame Economy.

You might have encountered a situation where you felt pressured to step in front of the camera at a moment’s notice to share your opinions or personal experiences. You can no longer rely on crafted corporate communication. You are expected to be more free-flowing and authentic, which can sometimes be harder for those who are used to relying on formulaic business language or talking points.

So, what should we be aiming for in this new era? 

We live in the fame revolution, where it is no longer good enough to just entertain and delight the customer. You have to stand in the limelight and take center stage to promote your product, and inform on important issues. 

You have to be different. 

You have to be authentically you. 

And be ready for lights, camera, and action at all times!

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