Space Rangers Personal Branding Adventure

Buzz Lightyear has just returned from space. No I am not kidding. Disney’s action figure literally just returned from spending more than 15 months aboard the International Space Station. Naturally, in Disney “spin”, the joint effort with them and NASA was to “encourage students to pursue studies in science and engineering”. While I am not exactly sure how sending the toy into space will provide that type of encouragement, I do know it will help get attention to the miniature astronaut’s brand as Buzz Lightyear got the same type of ticker-tape parade that real astronaut Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon, received at Walt Disney World.

Buzz Lightyear is yet another example of the continuing development of “personality branding” that Disney is so successful at. Buzz, not only has ventured into space but has his own attraction, ride and gift shop at Disney where you can buy his entire lineup of products. Surely another Buzz movie is on the way and Disney is already in discussions with the Smithsonian Institute for an exhibit at the National Air and Space Museum, which likely will be a home away from home for Buzz and company, solidifying the Buzz brand not just as a cartoon or toy figure but also as an educational product.

The lesson in all of this from a business perspective is to see how you can use your “personality” to build your brand. You can be the action hero in your own products world, and while you may not be able to give yourself a ticker-tape parade, you can participate in one. As an example, for about $2,000 you and a group of your friends can actually be in Universal Studios’ Thanksgiving Parade and hold the ropes to one of the giant balloons you see on TV. A little picture-taking of you holding a copy of your book or product, and you can produce a press release about you and your product appearing in the Universal Thanksgiving Parade. You could even join the new Buzz Lightyear promotion by buying the Buzz toy, putting him on your shoulder and taking a picture outside the Disney attraction. Your picture caption could read “Buzz welcomes you to Disney” or something fun to that effect. Or maybe take a video using a Flip HD Camera and post it on your web site or YouTube, and all of a sudden you are connecting in a new and fun way to your own customer base. Yes, publicity can be both fun and profitable…just ask Disney!