How to Build Your Empire: What You Can Learn from Wendy Williams


Candy WashingtonOne of my personal icons and true empire builder is Wendy Williams. She’s conquered almost every form of media from radio, television, film, books, to theatre and she does it her way. I wrote an article on 5 Lessons You Can Learn from Wendy Williams and wanted to share the top lessons and insights with you all.

Lesson #1: Be authentic – stay true to who you are

Authenticity maybe a media buzzword this year, but Williams is the living and breathing example of what it means to truly embody your brand’s purpose in an authentic way.

Love her or hate her, she says exactly what’s on her mind and she isn’t afraid to alienate the Hollywood elite by staying truthful and honest with her viewers, fans, and readers. She stays true to her brand purpose of keeping her viewers informed on the latest pop culture news while giving them her unique perspective on every situation.

Key insight: Stay true to your brand’s purpose and your consumers will stay true to you.

Lesson #2: Define your brand voice and essence – keep it consistent throughout the total brand experience

Williams’ signature catchphrase “How you doin’?” is infectious and symbolic of the talk show host’s brand voice and essence. She’s approachable, down-to-earth, a best friend that you want to get a glass of wine and gossip with, and she always keeps it real.

She has clearly defined what the “Wendy Williams” brand stands for and that type of clarity and transparency truly resonates with her viewers and fans. She also calls her studio audience her “co-host” which creates a feeling of partnership and investment of being loyal to watching the show.

Key insight: Ensure that the experience at every consumer touch-point is in alignment with your brand voice and essence, for a consistent and unified brand experience. This builds consumer trust and loyalty.

Lesson #3: Stay focused on you brand vision

When Williams was asked to be the “Spinderella” of Salt-N-Pepa during her radio disc jockey days, she turned down the offer in favor of staying on her path of realizing her ultimate goal of having her own television show. She had created a long-term vision for her brand and took the necessary steps in order to make that happen, including turning down short-term lucrative deals. That choice has clearly paid off in dividends.

Key insight: Set long-term, specific goals for your brand and then make decisions based on reaching those goals that are in alignment with your overall vision. 

Lesson #4: Be transparent, engaging, and humble – people connect to what’s real and true

What I love even more than the celebrity insider scoop on  “Hot Topics” on The Wendy Show, is her personal stories about what she cooked for her husband and son, her own celebrity encounters, her struggles with thyroid disease, how her wig is fitting that day, and so on. She has a magical way of keeping her viewers engulfed in her day-to-day stories by engaging with them on a human and personal level.

She also does a YouTube video series called “The After Show” where she answers viewer questions usually submitted through Facebook and Twitter, her own reactions to guests and gossip, and what’s shaking up in her own personal life. It’s a window into Wendy that truly creates a dialogue between her and the viewer.

Key insight: Show that your brand is real and vulnerable and people will connect with it on personal and meaningful level. This level of engagement creates customer loyalty and converts fans into brand ambassadors.

Lesson #5: Diversify in ways that are true to your brand

Williams has diversified her brand and expanded her empire in ways that stay authentic to her core brand. For example, she launched a premium wig line, she proudly wears a wig due to her thyroid disease and she gives helpful hair care tips on her show. She starred on Broadway in Chicago as Mama Morton, a strong yet playful character that was perfect for Williams. She’s also reprising her role as Gail, Kevin Hart’s character’s wife in Think Like A Man 2, but is very vocal that although she acts, she isn’t an “actor” and refuses to do sex and nude scenes or gain weight for a role. It’s doesn’t get any more authentic than that.

Key insight: Create a strong foundation for your brand and expand your offerings from there, your consumers will follow.

Learn a lesson that you can start using toward living the life of your dreams? Share this article with a friend, tweet @candywashington, or comment below! How are you going to start doing it your way?