Gabriel Iglesias recently appeared on an episode of Marc Maron’s WTF podcast where he discussed the evolution of his career and how he’s grown into one of the biggest headliners in the country.
But most importantly for up and coming comics, he explained how he approaches marketing and branding himself in a way that has helped separate him from the rest of the crowd.
You can listen to the full episode here, or read up on some of the highlights below.
1. Be Easy To Remember – And Consistent
At around the 17-minute mark, Iglesias explains that he embraced the nickname “Fluffy” early on because he realized that nobody that saw him was remembering his name. So, he decided to incorporate the nickname Fluffy into his act and into everything he did from a marketing perspective, recognizing that it was more memorable than his name. “It branded me,” he says.
Iglesias’ branding didn’t stop with his nickname. Early on he also made a conscious decision to maintain a consistent look – in his case it involved shorts and a Hawaiian shirt. He explains that it’s tough enough for people to remember specific comics in general, but comics who constantly change their look only make it harder on themselves.
2. If You’re Likeable, Be Likeable
At around the 40-minute mark, Iglesias shares what he calls the best piece of advice he’s ever received. While early on some of his material included profanity, he was advised to take the profanity out of his act because it was interfering with his biggest strength – he was a very likeable guy on stage.
He embraced that likeability factor and even though he has nothing against profanity, removed it from his act and concentrated on ensuring that everything he did played off of the likeability of his persona.
3. You Can Learn A Lot From A “Day Job”
When it comes to marketing and branding, Iglesias clearly knew more than the average comic when he started out- that’s because of his day job.
Around the 46-minute mark, he talks about how early in his career he worked at a Robinsons-May department store. While it may not have been his ideal job, he saw an opportunity to learn things that could help his comedy career. He didn’t work in the marketing department, but he befriended some guys who did and says he learned a ton from them about how to market and brand products.
He then took what he was learning and applied it to his comedy career.
4. Be Willing To Step Backwards To Move Forward
At around the 51-minute mark, Iglesias reveals that a couple years into his career he came to a bit of a crossroads – he had built a strong following among Latino audiences and in certain parts of the country, but was a virtual unknown elsewhere. He could have gone on to have a successful career just focusing on the audience he had, but instead decided that he wanted to push to reach a broader audience.
In order to do that, he had to be willing to abandon the theaters he had been playing and go back to playing smaller venues in front of tiny crowds who didn’t know who he was. And even worse, he discovered that much of the material he had developed didn’t play well with more mainstream crowds so he essentially had to reconstruct his entire act for those crowds.
But ultimately, that decision and his willingness to essentially start over in a mainstream world is what allowed him to improve and reach the level of success he’s at today.
5. You Can Learn From Wrestling
At around the 59-minute mark, Iglesias mentions that some of the most important things he’s learned about showmanship, marketing, and especially merchandising, he actually learned from pro wrestling. He explains that he studies wrestling and recognized how they merchandise their acts as well as how they add rock show elements to their matches.
And just like he did with the Robinsons-May marketing guys, he has adapted what he’s learned into his own comedy career.
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