If you think about the iconic movie director Alfred Hitchcock, the psychological movie thrillers The Birds and Psycho probably come to mind.
There’s a good reason for that. Not only were those two films made late in Hitchcock’s life (making them more recent), they also contain unforgettable scenes that will leave you riveted to your seat. Who can forget the shower scene from Pyscho?
Alfred Hitchcock had the well-deserved reputation as a master of suspense because he was also a master of branding.
If you look at how he earned his reputation, you’ll see that he did a lot of things specifically to enhance his brand. As a freelancer, there is a lot of value in examining what he did.
Here are a few branding tips that we can all learn from the “master of suspense.”
- Specialize and stick with it. Alfred Hitchcock was a master at creating movie thrillers partially because he made so many of them. During his long career, Hitchcock directed over fifty films. During that time he was able to hone and perfect has skill at building suspense. He had a specialty, and he built on it.
- Surround yourself with talent. Reading the slate of actors who starred in Hitchcock films is like reading a “Who’s Who” list of Hollywood stars in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Hitchcock films featured such luminaries as Cary Grant, Grace Kelly, Gregory Peck, and Ingrid Bergman (to name just a few). Branding by association is a great way to get your name known.
- Know your audience. Hitchcock cleverly let his viewers fill in the details of many of his most effective films. He understood well how the imagination worked and how his plots and special effects would impact his audiences. He understood who he was writing for and crafted his films accordingly.
- Take credit for your work. Alfred Hitchcock was not shy about his work. He was famous for having a cameo appearance in each of his movies. He also hosted the television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents, which subsequently became one of the most popular shows ever aired and contributed greatly to making his name a household world.
- Let other promote you, but don’t be afraid to promote yourself. Hitchcock was a favorite of the critics. Although he never received an Academy Award for best director, he was the recipient of many other types of recognition. Queen Elizabeth also recognized him as a Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire.
Effectively developing your brand takes a combination of skill and persistence. It can also be hard work. Name recognition doesn’t come over night (or even very quickly) but for those who possess the right mix of talent and determination, it will come.