If you know anything about modern pop culture, you’re very familiar with Cardi B.
Her genuine rags to riches story is an inspiration to nearly anyone who hears it, but how did Cardi get where she is today? Like many other successful people, her path was far from straight-forward.
If we look at her history in fast forward, Cardi went from an NYC stripper to an Instagram sensation, to being a reality television star, and finally, a hit rapper.
Cardi’s path is rare.
In fact, her path is so rare that there is no way in hell that this all happened thanks to luck and being funny. I wholeheartedly believe that she would not be where she is today without purposely being Cardi B, the “personal brand” that everyone loves.
The way she talks, cracks jokes, and her overall approach to life is something most people aspire to be more like every day. But what makes her so alluring, there must be something that makes people want to be like Cardi…
She’s aspirational by design…
I’ve been watching a new Netflix show called Rhythm & Flow.
Rhythm & Flow is a series about Chance The Rapper, TI & Cardi B herself searching the nation for the world’s next hit rap artist.
While watching episode 1, Cardi made a simple yet powerful point. Although I’m paraphrasing here, she said that one of the main factors she was looking for was someone who others aspire to be like, someone who people want to be like in some specific and special way.
Although still a heavily debated topic, I’ve always thought that Cardi is much more calculated than most people tend to give her credit for. However, I’ve never seen many pieces of proof of a larger thought/strategy to what she’s doing until I heard her make this point about being someone who others want to be like.
DJ Sparkx met Cardi B at Perfections Gentlemen’s Club in 2013 and was quoted saying “She knew what she wanted, as far as branding herself,” “She knew that she had to stop dancing to grow her brand.”
Although one quote isn’t solid proof of the truth, I think it’s safe to say that she had some sort of plan and forward motion that kept her progressively moving forward
I wanna be like Mike (or like Cardi) !!
Whatever they do, they have millions of eyes watching.
Sure, music artists almost have to make people want to be like them. What’s a music artist with no fans? Better yet, what’s a music artist with no STANS. It’s a requirement to keep drawing people into the overall brand of the artist.
I know, I know, I can hear you now: But ‘rouk, we’re not all music artists…
You’re right, we’re not all music artists, but does that mean that we can’t aim to connect with people in an authentic way? In a way that they don’t want to completely be like us, but a piece of us?
We all have more to give than we think.
Our upbringing, the places we grew up, the places we’ve visited, our family, the friends we’ve chosen, etc. We all have such drastically different lives, that you must be able to bring something to the table, even if you’re overlooking it.
The main personal branding lesson that everyone should learn from Cardi B is to be authentic in some way that means authenticity to you. You don’t have to share your entire life, you don’t have to be the music artist, but how are you connecting with the people you want to in an authentic way?
But of course, being authentic isn’t the only thing that got Cardi B where she is today. There are plenty of people who are labeled authentic but don’t make as much of a “splash”.
Cardi B wouldn’t be anywhere if she stopped
It’s a popular movie theme to see someone rise up through the ranks and finally accomplish their goal.
- We saw Tony Montana become Scarface
- We saw Arya kill the Night King (!!)
- We saw Ace Boogie & Money Makin’ Mitch run Harlem
We’ve seen this story play out in movies thousands of times, and I’m sure you’ve noticed the pattern by now. The character starts with absolutely nothing but manages to fight through the ranks and end up on top, or finally acquiring that goal they set out to do.
But what do these movies have in common? Perseverance.
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To go from stripping, to Instagram fame, to TV and finally being a grammy-winning music artist? Yeah, you can bet Cardi had her eyes on the prize for years.
In fact, Patientce Foster who is the founder of Cream PR and Cardi B’s former publicist said that it wasn’t easy to sell Cardi B at first. She was quoted saying “It was hard to get brands to work with her in the beginning.”
But that stopped nothing.
Cardi B is someone who’s from New York City, the city of big money and big dreams, so it’s safe to assume that she had to know what to turn down along the way in order to get to the final stop on her journey.
Next time you’re trying to think of fresh ways to grow your brand, ask yourself (with caution), what would Cardi B do?
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Written by ‘rouk