Branding Like Mike Rowe

Since you’re in construction, you probably know Mike Rowe from Dirty Jobs, but if you don’t you may recognize his voice from Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch or his face on ads for Ford Trucks and Lee Jeans. [If you need a hint, look to the right – that's Mike.]

Mike Rowe is one of my wife & my favorite TV personalities for his down-to-earth sensibility, wit, charm, and just good natured self, but I wouldn’t write a blog about that. Mike Rowe is a brand and he (and most likely his management team) understand that Mike Rowe is a brand and he knows what is brand is all about.

Mike Rowe rose to fame on Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs – profiles “People who aren’t afraid to get dirty. Hard working men & women who earn an honest living doing the kind of jobs that make civilized life possible for the rest of us.” (As per the show’s intro.) Mike Rowe is about blue collar, hard working people that are not afraid to get a little dirty. He gets that dirt and hard work is his brand and those people that appreciate hard work are his brand community.

Mike Rowe, the man, is now the official spokesman for Ford Trucks and Lee Jeans. This fits Mike Rowe, the brand, because they reflect similar qualities as his image – hard work & not afraid to get dirty. Mike is not the spokesman for BMW or Lexus, he endorses Ford. Ford Trucks to be specific – a perfect niche market for him and a big win for Ford Trucks advertising team. Lee Jeans is another no brainer for Mike Rowe. He’d look like a fish out of water and a sellout if he repped for Armani and Calvin Klein. No one would believe him if he endorsed a luxury brand, that is not Mike Rowe.

I don’t think you could find a better product for Mike Rowe to endorse other than an American truck manufacturer and a blue jean company. Maybe a brand of soap, because he likes to get dirty, or the Boy Scouts [by the way, he spoke at the Boy Scout National Jamboree & Centennial earlier in 2010 and he is indeed an Eagle Scout (no surprise really).]

Why are we talking about Mike Rowe, the man & the brand? Many times companies veer into industries that do not suit them or even sponsor events that make no sense. For my company, The Brand Constructors, it makes sense to sponsor ABC, SMPS, AIA, & AGC events (all construction industry associations) and we have done so in the past. It would not make sense for The Brand Constructors to sponsor an event for the restaurant association or a legal industry function. Another no brainer you say. You may be surprised how many companies do this. Look at your marketing budget for the past few years – do you have any expenditures that weren’t on target? [If you don't have a marketing budget, let's talk.]

When looking how to position your company, what organizations to join, and were to spend your money in sponsorships/advertising, think like Mike Rowe – know what your brand stands for and stick to your niche.

Just for fun – check out Mike Rowe’s website – www.MikeRoweWorks.com. It is the perfect culmination of his past Dirty Jobs, his brand, and his own personality on a website about hard working, dirty jobs. I took a screen shot below for those of you that are still skeptical. This man knows he is a brand.

A Construction Executive's Guide to Brand Marketing