Source: Rolling Stone

What Your Business Can Learn from Ellen DeGeneres’s Story

Defining a brand identity is always considered as the most fundamental issue, you need to be more than likeable to sell a product, also, the crisis management, individuals are respected over goods. Ellen DeGeneres, as a leader, did well on both things
By Abigail Vo | 8 min read
on February 10, 2021
Source: Rolling Stone

Being a daytime TV show host can be seen as second to the guys who rule late times, but in fact, there's probably less to swear! Ellen DeGeneres was one of the most famous and wealthiest TV show hosts today.

Beside working as a celebrity, she also manages her own American lifestyle brand, ED Ellen DeGeneres. In 2020, DeGeneres made $84 million, retaining the No. 12 spot on Forbes’ list of the highest-paid celebrities in the world.

Despite being a celebrity, there some useful thing that many entrepreneurs can learn from her. Before delving into how she can manage all her jobs, let’s read on to understand more about her insights.

The Story Behind a Household Name - Ellen DeGeneres

Ellen DeGeneres was born January 26, 1958, in Metairie, Louisiana. She is an American comedian, television host, actress, writer, and producer.

There are two key moments of DeGeneres' career beyond her successful shifts from stand-up comedian to talk show host.

The first one was her 1986 performance on "The Tonight Show". Johnny Carson invited her to sit beside him after her set. To all comedians and the film community, this was a typical indication that Johnny felt this individual was something special. Ellen becomes the first woman comedian to receive the award to be invited over.

The second came when she revealed her homosexuality openly. She did so on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" and "The Puppy Episode" in her comedy "Ellen." Which involved a revolutionary kiss between her character, Ellen, and Laura Dern's character. Ellen's coming-out was one of 1997's biggest headlines which made "Ellen" featuring an openly gay main character the first prime-time broadcast.

She has been an activist in the LGTBQ culture since coming out as gay in 1997, endorsing the Trevor Movement, the Equal Rights Initiative and GLAADD.

In 2003, with her self-titled (syndicated) talk show, The Ellen DeGeneres Show, Ellen DeGeneres became a big hit with daytime audiences. The program has received a slew of awards since its inception, including more than 20 Daytime Emmy Awards in its first five seasons.

In 2018, DeGeneres made history as the first woman to receive $20 million for a Netflix stand-up special.

She has authored four books and started her own record company, Eleveneleven, as well as a production company, A Very Good Production. She also launched a lifestyle brand, ED Ellen DeGeneres, which comprises a collection of apparel, accessories, home, baby, and pet items.

In 2021, Ellen DeGeneres' net worth is approximately $490 million.

How Ellen DeGeneres’ Business Was Going

ED Ellen DeGeneres ecommerce website homepage
Courtesy: ED Ellen DeGeneres

You know Ellen DeGeneres as a comedian, daytime television host and an actor. But did you know she’s also an entrepreneur who’s into designing furniture and pet products?

ED is the American lifestyle brand of Ellen DeGeneres, influenced by its emblematic theme, ideals, and personality. ED was founded in 2015 as a strategic venture between Ellen DeGeneres and Christopher Burch, CEO of Burch Creative Capital. With a passion for interior design, architecture and beauty, Ellen brings her vision to this business which provides women's clothes, jewelry, shoes, baby, and pet items, as well as home furnishings and furniture.

It cannot be denied that her entrepreneurship background can even bring takeaways to any small company owner. One is to be true to yourself when it comes to creating items that bear your signature. “ED is an extension of my lifestyle and is inspired by who I am as a person,” says Ellen on her company’s website.

Another lesson is to pick a business plan that is of long-term importance. You are less likely to lose steam when the startup reaches a hard patch (which it will).

“I’ve loved home design for as long as I can remember." “I know what I like, so designing it made sense for me.”

“My goal is that people can have a beautiful house, a really comfortable house, without only being able to afford [very expensive] things,” said DeGeneres in a prepared statement. “'[The] price point will be mid-level. As far as who it’s for, I think it’s for anyone,” Ellen DeGeneres said.

Moreover, you need to be more than likeable to sell a product. A great celebrity brand extension works because the celebrity and his/her products mirror one another and resonate as authentic.

In an interview, DeGeneres let it slip that she's taking the "go big or go home" approach to creating her lifestyle brand. "I'm not trying to get a little boutique off the ground," she said in her interview. Her ambition, it seems, is to be able to play Martha Stewart from the outset, and since she's Ellen DeGeneres, it should not be too hard. Why?

Since this famous comedian has already created a worldwide brand of her own. Identified as #5 in Forbes' Top 100 Celebrities list and #46 in the Top 100 Most Influential Women list, DeGeneres is reportedly earning around $70 million a year. She even has production pilots for three different networks, has been retweeted more times than President Obama, has a work shop for HGTV, is a spokesperson for Cover Girl makeup, and has also been named Daytime's most likeable TV personality.

So how did she get here? What can you learn from her success?

How to Build your Mega-Brand: Lessons from Ellen DeGeneres

ED Ellen DeGeneres furniture brand
Courtesy: ED Ellen DeGeneres

Don’t Forget that You Are Human

And if you are trying to develop a brand based on a business, the customers of that brand would want to know the people who conceived and developed it. If it is in her standup comedy specials, her books, and interviews or even on her daily show, what Ellen DeGeneres has done, repeatedly, shows us that she is a human being. She lets her audience see her stumble and is not afraid to put on show her own awkwardness. The market climate has shifted and the 'guy' behind the brand needs to be known to clients. I always enjoy this because creating such 'real' relationships gives my company so much pleasure, and it is what life really is all about.

Ask for Help

At the amount of popularity, it now receives, DeGeneres's show did not debut. In order to show her how to maintain an audience from day to day, she had some bumps on the track and had to focus on a team of daytime television pros. She was not scared of professionals studying new things, and neither are you. That's why getting a business mentor that's been there and done that can seriously be the difference between only making it in your company, or really prospering. Find someone who knows how to do what you want to do and learn from that person for everything you can!

Take Some Risks

People compared DeGeneres' sitcom to Seinfeld at the beginning. However, she veered off after a few seasons and headed her own way. They're not joking when people say that DeGeneres smashed boundaries with her sitcom. DeGeneres was not also the first sitcom star to be openly gay. Her show was the first to feature an openly gay character played by DeGeneres herself, who through her character on the show came out to the public. We take sexual diversity for granted on modern prime-time shows, but sitcom actors were 100 percent straight before DeGeneres came out (at least, according to their stories). How distinct are you? What is it that stands out for you above the competition? It's time to underscore that!

The Biggest Lessons Are in the Failures

DeGeneres attributed her own mistakes in an interview during an interview. With her greatest life experiences, losing her sitcom is still a big one she thinks about. She also suggests that it's easier to learn from your mistakes at the beginning—especially in terms of marketing and creating your brand—than to conceal them. We can definitely conclude that owning her mistakes and failures has led to her accomplishment, not just because those failures occurred and held her humble, but because she developed something solid from the lessons taught her by those failures.

When doing business, you must understand that loss is inevitable. Sometimes it takes a sledgehammer to be pounded over the head to know something is just 'not' working. These are the mistakes that you can never forgive, and these blunders have always resulted in the most positive success in my companies. At every move, whether good or bad, you keep the momentum going.

3 Digital Marketing Lessons from Ellen DeGeneres Oscars Selfie

In 2014, Ellen DeGeneres received a selfie at the Academy Awards with Jennifer Lawrence, Angelina Jolie, Bradley Cooper, Kevin Spacey, Jared Leto, Meryl Streep, Julia Roberts, Lupita Nyong'o and Brad Pitt. The incredible tweet by Ellen DeGeneres - who allegedly took Twitter down for a few minutes- to be the most retweeted tweet ever could have some lessons for the effectiveness of digital marketing.

#1 – Be Human

Ellen DeGeneres took Twitter by surprise after her selfie posted the most Retweeted Tweet of all time caught more exposure than President Barack Obama's photo since being re-elected to the White House in 2012. During the program, the Ellen Show arranged a real-time star-studded selfie, with everyone randomly laughing.

If you want to learn social media, forget about resources and be a person, just place it at the top of your mind that you're struggling with human hormones, and the more you humanize your presence in social media. All your buyers now know that there's a person behind the screen, the more your fans and supporters will trust in your brand.

#2 - Refine the User Experience

Although the anticipated shared images for the Academy Awards are either a photo on the red carpet of the dress design or a photo on the podium of the gold #Oscar statue, Ellen DeGeneres cracked the usual expected material and ended up with [awkward] selfie tweeted.

Social Media is a modern science, you can buy all the books and then don't get enough information. Still make space for new experience. Don't copy and paste a famous brand model because it would never guarantee your success. Make sure you don't sound a tweeting computer human and conversational!

#3 – Newsjacking

While #Oscars was on Twitter at the time, it was necessary to strike when the iron was heavy, if Ellen hesitated to post the photo when she got home, she would have lost the chance to set a new world record.

Base the marketing efforts on big global events via social media website accounts. This is the perfect time to connect users with important news and content. Immediately touch the iron and join the latest patterns!

You can't compete if you won’t take effort to keep up with your website, your marketing methods. Develop a roadmap for [Always-on] new media optimization and optimized user service.

Ellen DeGeneres Is the New-Era Example Business Leaders Can Learn From

Ellen DeGeneres in talk show
Source: Easy 95.1FM

In a story in Buzzfeed during the summer of 2020, several employees of The Ellen DeGeneres Show reported that they had been exposed to abuse, bullying and bigotry while on the spot, sparking an internal investigation. News of poisonous backstage atmosphere stood in stark contrast to the climate that DeGeneres had vowed to build and its image as a promoter of inclusiveness and dignity.

Since the Buzzfeed story came out, the comedian and presenter sent an internal message to the team, rededicating themselves to oversee a work place where "everyone would be treated with respect." Also, most of the audience wondered: how she had been so careless with her own mantra to "be kind"

On Monday, DeGeneres reacted boldly by leading off the 18th season of the show with a public apology that simultaneously begged forgiveness and took possession of all misconduct and instability. "I have learned that things have happened here that should never have happened," she said. "I take that very seriously, and I want to say that I am so sorry for the people who have been affected."

The fortitude and accountability of DeGeneres should serve as a model for finding the right way out of controversy and unrest. It takes a great deal of emotional intelligence for a leader to determine that their workplace does not allow people and innovation to thrive. In this scenario, DeGeneres showed versatility and willingness to adapt, a keen sense of fact testing the situation in front of her and, in her sorrow, an insight into how the situations hurt her crew and her brand.

This sort of public-faced statement is a testament of a leader who wishes to change; holding a stake in the ground to show his staff that he is committed to positive intentions. With current behaviors and standards codified, the rest of the team will now be up to the level. This would involve the whole team to watch each other so that they and DeGeneres will feel physically secure.

In the broader picture, the apology from DeGeneres comes at a moment when everybody is beginning a new story. This involves businesses such as Riot and Ubisoft, where for years there had been a reality void or optimism prejudice clouding what was going on within their organizations. The reset of her show further illustrates how working-from-home patterns have leveled the playing field internationally, and at a time when disadvantaged and under-represented groups are seeking equality.

The Ellen DeGeneres story offers some key lessons for celebrities and brands in terms of crisis management

#1 - Be Authentic to Your Brand

Ellen DeGeneres had a long reputation among the public for being funny, kind, and compassionate. She was described as a 'wake' star before people spoke about being 'up.' This accusation, especially in this environment, shattered the reputation and went against all that people believed about her name.

#2 - Offer a Sincere Apology that Takes Responsibility

Ellen apologized last week. Yet the apology was seen as moving the responsibility for what had happened to senior employees. She never took the blame for anything. Many people interpreted that as a non-apology, an apology. People were looking to see her take responsibility and give clear measures to move on. Rather, it was seen as evasive and actually generated more controversy and scrutiny.

#3 - Have Defenders Ready to Come to Your Defense

What is surprising so far is the utter silence of Ellen's various A-list celebrities on these claims. Indeed, the number of actors and actresses, along with other stars, who have come forward to confirm the accusations and denounce Ellen, has been the most noteworthy. The lack of funding has always been an ominous warning.

#4 - Have a Strategy for Moving Forward

It seems like Ellen and her staff had no plan for how to step forward and change the story. Rather, she's been a persistent back and forth of would, or she's not going to leave the show. Now is the time to chart a path for the future.

#5 - Have a Media Mindset Strategy

Media analysis and evaluation, a crucial method in PR crisis management, will assess the efficacy of the crisis management plan. A sophisticated tracking service will report general sentiment to the TV host and figure out what strategies need to be changed.

Beyond the allegations against her and her management, most of the damage being done to Ellen is occurring on social media. So far, her team has not been proactive in dealing with this. Failure to address social media is fatal during a crisis.

Bottom Lines

In this modern age, leaders must create fundamentally emotionally aware workplaces—where individuals are respected over goods, where the earth is valued over income, and where partners and teammates are united behind a desire to make a positive impact on the environment. For DeGeneres, her heartfelt and very public apology was a perfect place to begin with.

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