Starting a Small Business? Learn from Johnny Depp

johnny depp
Johnny Depp as Jack Sparrow - image:

Wouldn’t we all just LOVE to be Johnny Depp? Well not really, the hair and the makeup must take hours. However, Johnny can teach the rest of us a lot about marketing a small business and self-promotion. Johnny Depp and other stars all have three things in common:

  • They are Unique
  • They are Focused
  • They are Everywhere

Find a Niche and Create a Unique Product

Johnny Depp was just another actor that wanted to make it big along with 10,000 other young actors. However, he noticed an empty niche in the bland “Tom Cruise is Our Man” Hollywood film industry. This provided him with the perfect niche and timing to create his own fan base. Depp realized there was a large group of teenagers in black that needed a hero like him. Johnny Depp noticed the niche, played into it and then had the intelligence to uniquely take this branding anywhere he wanted it to go. Doing things differently and separating your new business from the pack is often a key to success.

Apple Computer also does a fabulous job of taking unique and turning it into cash. Apple decided to make machines in metal cases and in white plastic. Furthermore, Apple decided to sell their products directly in retail stores located in shopping malls. They started online infomercials that people actually wanted to watch. Steve Jobs was one of the first to make plain sweatshirts trendy. In the case of both Depp and Apple Computer: Unique=Cool.

Focus on Your Core Business

Johnny Depp is also doggedly focused on his business. His business IS his image and he works at it 24/7, movie after movie. Every photo that is leaked to the press captures Depp the way he wants to be seen. Outrageous, yes, sexy, yes; tired or normal, no. There simply aren’t any images of Depp on the web that don’t reinforce the marketing of his product, himself. Unlike some other actors, Depp has rarely taken a role that does not suit him during his entire career. His focus is razor sharp and his planning looks almost like a Lean Six Sigma business plan. Stay focused in your own business; be obsessive, weird and fun- but stay focused!

Large businesses like Xerox can afford to expand and take on businesses that seemingly have little to do with their core business strategy. Did you know they design, install and maintain traffic-light ticket cameras? Once your small business is as established and well known as Xerox- you too can diversify.

Get The Message Out There

Johnny Depp was also everywhere when he was establishing his acting career. It was impossible to turn on any kind of media and miss him. Even in the land of wholesomeness, Disneyland, Depp managed to create a niche: the pirate. He was so successful that Pirates of the Caribbean now IS Johnny Depp for millions of people.

No matter what your business, publicize it using every form of media and self-promotional material available. Soon enough your efforts will start to pay off. It may take time before Disney will be calling but who knows, with new social networks anything is possible. Don’t worry when the avalanche of fame; be prepared with some new shades of eye shadow!

About the Author: Craig Calvin is Brand Manager for, leading online six sigma training website.