Justin Timberlake Personal Branding

Let Justin Timberlake Show You A Few Things … About Personal Branding

By Staff Writer
In April 18, 2013

In 2006, he brought sexy back with his chart-topping album, FutureSex/LoveSounds.

Nearly seven years later, America’s beloved boy band heartthrob is bringing a much more refined sexy back. He’s redefined his persona to a sophisticated gentleman with a much anticipated third solo album.

The 20/20 Experience sold 968,000 copies in its first week out, according to Nielsen SoundScan. Only 18 other albums in the last two decades have surpassed the 900,000 sale benchmark in the first week.

Critics have given mixed reviews about the album itself, but fans and media outlets can’t get enough of it, or him for that matter. I sat back and asked myself what made this particular album launch so successful. Then I realized that Justin Timberlake is executing one of the most brilliant personal branding campaigns I’ve ever seen come from an entertainer. After watching his comeback launch very carefully, I gathered some key takeaways on how to master personal branding like a boss.

Do whatever you do well

Justin Timberlake has far from fallen off the radar during his musical hiatus. He expanded his creative portfolio by branching out into acting, live comedy on Saturday Night Live and collaborating with other musical artists from making guest cameos to producing. Justin is a good entertainer and he knows it. Even if he took a break from music, he stuck to entertainment, an art he’s confident with, and made a name for himself on television and the Big Screen. After all, NBC doesn’t let just anybody host SNL for a fifth time.


When Justin decided to announce his comeback to his fans, he wanted the news to come from him. He made sure to do it well before news releases and radio promotions came out to give fans a sense he was speaking directly to them. On January 10, 2013, he personalized his announcement with a YouTube video and an open letter to his fans explaining his hiatus from music.

Then, he tweeted the following message:

And within an hour, Justin Timberlake was trending on Twitter.


Once Justin announced his comeback, he made sure you could not ignore it whether you liked it or not. The barrage of media surrounding the launch was everywhere people looked, from commercials for Bud Light Platinum and Target, to his promoted performance at the Grammys. iTunes streamed the album before its release, fueling large numbers of advance sales. And don’t forget his performances around the Super Bowl and South by Southwest, his fifth time hosting SNL and a full week as a guest on “Late Night With Jimmy Fallon.” He was showing up as far as the pop culture eye could see.

Collaborate Wisely

Justin aligned himself with the right people and the right brands to help him promote his launch. Who better to feature on your first single when you’re trying to promote a high-end vibe than Jay Z whose personal brand personifies power and luxury? He also solidified strategic brand partnerships with Budweiser and Target, featuring both his music and persona.

Tell a story or sell an experience

Justin Timberlake isn’t just selling an album. He’s selling an experience. I’ll be the first to admit that his first single, Suit and Tie, had to grow on me. But after experiencing the media blitz and marketing strategy around his entire image, I love it. Every time I hear it, I want to hit the town dressed to the nines and sip on a top shelf cocktail. The vibe of the song is sophisticated and sexy, but more importantly, he wants to make fans feel sophisticated and sexy when they listen to it. Sometimes, the selling point is more than the product. It’s what the product does. It’s the experience.

Creating and building a personal brand is no easy task. But to reinvent it after a seven year hiatus and pull it off impeccably, that’s a good mix of creativity and strategy that only comes around a few times in a generation of entertainers.

Who do you think has built a remarkable personal branding strategy for themselves in the entertainment world?

Staff Writer

So who is this mysterious staff writer? Could be anyone really, as long as they meet our very strict criteria. 1) Worked with us in one capacity or another. 2) Have something pretty interesting to say. 3) Want to use our blog to say it. See? Told ya they were strict!