Pirates Relied On Personal Brand Development Strategies
I am preparing my entire family for a trip to one of my favorite vacation destinations, Cape Hatteras located in the Outer Banks of North Carolina. Since I have two children, I can’t wait to visit Ocracoke Island again to take a closer look at the area that proved the demised of Blackbeard the pirate. Pirates relied on personal brand development strategies (even though they didn’t call it that). These practices remain important today when setting the tone or differentiating yourself from the crowd. Let’s take a closer look at how exactly his personal authentic self permeated the personal “brand” of the pirate Blackbeard…… ARGH!
Okay so Blackbeard was just an ordinary man right; Edward Teach a privateer for the British army getting paid to rob private merchant ships. But after the war, Teach turned to piracy and used the unusual name ‘Blackbeard’ which was his first ingenious, strategic move. His mission was to intimidate and commit horrifying atrocities to humans while stealing all of their valuables. He supported this alarming image by wearing two sets of gun belts across his chest with six pistols. He also changed the way he dressed to support his new image and it is said that he used his beard and hair to intimidate others by wrapping slow-burning lighted coils in his long, black hair and beard. His cutthroat style of torturing others also reinforced his intent and brand message.
Pirates also sustained their brands with symbolic gestures like the names of their ships (Queen Anne’s Revenge) and the famous flags they used to distinguish their ships. The symbols and graphics they chose for their flags served as visual reminders of the ghastly things they would do if you crossed their path. People who would see the flags in the distance would immediately get their message. Blackbeard’s flag incorporated a heart dripping blood symbol while a skeleton held an hourglass and spear. These brand messages were designed to strike fear in the hearts of his victims. You knew death was possible and you would not only lose your valuables or things, you might quite possibly lose your life as well.
Blackbeard is a great illustration of how our business mindset, gestures (the things we do) and symbols (visual graphics) we use can create a persona to deliver a message about how you or your business is unique and different.
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Image Credit [Blackbeard’s Pirate Flag]