The “Brand of the Month” goes to…

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Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world an interesting and distinctive brand. My latest personal brand of the month goes to…

Mary Berry

Here’s why…
Mary Berry, CBE, has built an impressive career, spanning radio, television and writing. Her brand reached new heights with the Great British Bake Off. Today she continues writing books and filming television series for the BBC from her home in Buckinghamshire. But still…. there’s something about Mary. What has made her such a British household name?

Find it here:

She is extremely prolific
At 81, Mary remains impressively prolific. Her first television series aired in the early
1970s, after which she steadily built her brand. She has now written more than 80 cookbooks, the majority of which features her picture on the cover (a great personal branding move!).

Her website is an open book to her world, complete with her diary for upcoming events, favourite recipes and a baking tips section where she posts frequently asked questions.

Throughout her various creative channels, Mary’s mission is clear: To get everyone baking!

She knows how to brand (and co-brand) products
In the mid ’90s, Mary and her daughter Annabel launched her own line of Salad Dressings, Sauces and Chutneys:

Mary has also launched a range of kitchenware for Sainsbury’s and also has an exclusive line for Lakeland. And then there’s the lovely Mary Berry Collection for Meldhome Homeware Design.

One thing I love in particular is her logo, which includes her own portrait and sometimes a quote or signature. You can’t get any more reflective of your personal brand than that!

She is all about family
To many in Britain, Mary has become known as “the nation’s granny”.  Mary herself views her cookbooks and baking books not as conventional instruction manuals, but as a means of bringing family together.

She attributes the success of the Great British Bake Off to being family entertainment, and it fit beautifully with her personal brand. She explained: “There aren’t many programmes where all ages can sit and watch from beginning to end.”

She speaks openly about her family tragedy
As Mary told The Telegraph: it is “tragedy as well as celebration keep my family glued together”; Mary’s son William was killed in a car accident in 1989, at the age of 20. She openly talks about this painful chapter in a mission to help others. “The one thing is not to be silent. You can always help people by getting them to talk to you.”

The tragedy led Mary to become a patron of Child Bereavement UK. “When our William was killed, there wasn’t a child bereavement charity,” explains Mary. “When something like that happens you go into a shell, but on the other hand it’s a really good thing to talk it over and say how you feel. If you could meet someone who is in the same situation as you, which you can through Child Bereavement UK, you feel as though you are not alone.”

She has a strong outer brand

Mary’s snappy personal style has inspired women old and young. She has differentiated herself by wearing bright, “historically” youthful looks, such as the Marks & Spencer stork print jacket below, and a floral bomber jacket from Zara (right), which sold out instantly in stores at £29.99 (some were even sold on eBay for up to £200). Mary’s personal style also predated a recent fashion trend seen at at Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Vetements in the past couple of seasons, heritage florals and souvenir jackets. There’s also Mary’s nifty way of creating a scarf knot!

Another part of outer branding in which Mary excels is communication style and personal presence. She has in particular become known for her cheeky innuendos on Bake Off.  Only she could talk about “nice and moist cracks” and “soggy bottoms” with a straight face.


She stands by what she believes in
After Great British Bake Off’s controversial move from BBC to Channel 4, Mary decided to jump ship, along with co-presenters Mel Giedroyc and Sue Perkins, with talk of a new BBC cookery competition.

As Mary explained,  “My decision to stay with the BBC is out of loyalty to them, as they have nurtured me, and the show, that was a unique and brilliant format from day one. I am just sad for the audience who may not be ready for change, I hope they understand my decision.”

She added, “I am so very sad not to be a part of it. Farewell to soggy bottoms.”


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