Get A Rock-Solid Personal Brand By Using “High Concept”.

I read this article yesterday about the race to become the “Chipotle of Pizza”.

If you have never heard of Chipotle, that probably doesn’t mean anything to you.

But for people (for instance those living in the US) who have heard of Chipotle, it makes perfect sense.

Becoming the “Chipotle of Pizza” is about creating a pizzeria where you can choose your own toppings and sauces, but still get a good tasting pizza served to you extremely quickly.

Describe the movie “Alien” in 3 words

Using “The Chipotle of Pizza” to describe a new type of pizzeria is an example of high concept.

It’s a term often used in Hollywood, for pitching movies. High concept is about how you can describe a movie in a few quick words.

The classic example is the movie “Alien”.

The high concept pitch for that was “Jaws in Space”.

You don’t need a lengthy explanation if you hear a high concept pitch.

But high concept is not just for movies.

In start-ups, high concept is a handy way of conveying your business idea in a quick and memorable way.

A few years ago, everyone wanted to be “The Apple of [insert industry name here]”

Nowadays it’s very common for businesses to pitch themselves as “The Uber of [insert industry name here]”

So you can see how “The Chipotle of Pizza” is a compelling shorthand, that otherwise would take a lot of boring explanation to capture.

High Concept for Your Personal Brand

But you don’t need to be pitching a Hollywood blockbuster or the next Uber to use high concept.

For personal branding, high concept can be a very useful approach.

For example, let’s say you’re CEO of a small company.

You might decide to think of yourself as “The Roger Federer of CEOs” meaning that you will be highly skilled but a nice, approachable guy.

This isn’t something you have to tell others, but it serves as an inner guide.

By using high concept, you can gain clarity on your personal brand and this can help you to be more consistent in your behavior.

For example:

  • Would the “Roger Federer of CEOs” donate to charity? Yes, probably.
  • Would he be extra nice to all of his employees? Yes.
  • Would he dump toxic waste in a lake? Probably not.



    A high concept personal brand can be your compass, giving you clarity about what you would or wouldn’t do.

    Action Step

    Think of a few people who you admire, especially in a work or social context.

    Consider whether they would be a good role model for basing your personal brand on.

    Once you’ve decided, start to look at every decision you make and ask “If I’m the [name of role model] of [my industry] would I do this?”