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Martha and Luda: (Inter) Personal Brands

I am fascinated with Martha Stewart’s love of rap in general and Ludacris specifically. I first discovered Martha’s passion while watching her daytime show last year; her guest of honor was none other than the famous performer Ludacris. Yes, Martha does host a variety of guests but the rapport which she shared with Ludacris astounded me!

I had forgotten the titillating episode until a few weeks ago when Martha was playing a rap video clip for herĀ  audience. Listening to the TV casually from the next room, I recognized Ludacris’s voice immediately and ran into the living room. And there they were, happy as clams, with Luda flirting demurely with the Craft Queen. They discussed his upcoming album over a glass of his new cognac, Conjure!

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I think what makes the pairing so intriguing is their distinctively different personal brands — and I mean distinct. There are a few brief definitions of personal branding on wikipedia. My favorite defines it as “the creation of an asset that pertains to a particular person or individual [that] includes but is not limited to the body, clothing, appearance and knowledge contained within, leading to an indelible impression that is uniquely distinguishable.”

Martha’s personal brand can clearly be defined by the “knowledge contained within” her. Whether it’s how to cook a complete Thanksgiving dinner, fold those tricky fitted sheets, or how and what color to paint your boudoir, Martha’s your girl. She has a line of crafting tools and materials sold in Wal-Mart that is branded simply as “Martha Stewart.” Her name alone is enough to convey quality to her customers. Her personal brand gives you a warm, fuzzy, grandmotherly, traditional feeling, which is why her affinity for rap and Ludacris is so scintillating!

Ludacris, on the other hand, is known for his raunchy (but hilarious) lyrics that describe his love of women. By appearing on Martha Stewart’s show, Ludacris has the opportunity, helped by Martha’s “endorsement,” to reach a new market of women — women who might have the impression that the rapper’s lyrics are disparaging to, rather than celebrating, women. I hope to see him again soon with the Domestic Diva!