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The Legendary Guide to Personal Branding with Barney Stinson of ‘How I Met Your Mother’

If there is one man that has personal branding down to a science, it’s Barney Stinson from CBS’ How I Met Your Mother. Played by Neil Patrick Harris, Barney Stinson is an opportunistic womanizer (with a penchant for laser tag) who has made it his goal to be awesome, epic, and all the synonyms in between.

Even if your personal branding goals don’t align with sleeping with every single girl in New York, we can still break down the Barney Stinson model to make your personal brand absolutely legendary.

Rock a signature style.

barney stinson suit

Nothing suits Barney like a suit. And we agree.

Barney Stinson is pretty epic on the inside, but he also reflects it on the outside. The soul of his character, and an essential part of his wardrobe, is suits. This man always wears suits, unabashedly rocks silk suit pajamas, and has even composed songs about suits.

Our personal brands must be that: personal. Truly unique. You must stand out and claim something as your own. This can come in the form of an awesome logo, killer color scheme, or interesting website design. There must be something intrinsically “you” about the presentation of your output.

Create a truly epic catchphrase.

Even casual viewers of How I Met Your Mother have heard Barney cry out “Legen – wait for it – dary!” or some variation of his popular catchphrase. Even others that utter the line end up talking about Barney.

What are you about? What inspires you? If you really want to sell yourself as one creative, smart, and awesome individual, you should have a tagline that defines you. A perfect example is Marcus Sheridan’s “Empowering People Through the Power of Community.”

Challenge yourself to be better.

barney stinson overalls

One challenge sends Barney into overalls.

Barney Stinson is also fiercely competitive and stubborn. If one of his friends proposes a seemingly impossible task, he’s quick to chime in with a “Challenge accepted!” And then he goes to complete said challenge no matter how long it takes.

Once you’re awesome, you need to continue to be awesome. Unfortunately, being awesome doesn’t come to those that sit at home and eat potato chips; awesome comes to those that try to make their business smarter, increase the value of their networking relationships, or better themselves.

Give yourself an association.

Barney is awesome; awesome is Barney. Through relentless tries to achieve awesomeness, mastering the usage of every synonym of “awesome,” and countless high fives, Barney has made it his mission to be the most awesome dude alive. He’s quick to add some “epic” to his conversations and freely offers advice about how to achieve such greatness.

You must also find an association. Michael Jordan has basketball, Starbucks has coffee, and you too have a definitive niche. Think of what you’re passionate about, or what you want to sell as an end product, and establish your authority. If your passion is staplers, then strive (through blogs, social media, business) to make your name an association with staplers.

Hold yourself accountable.

bro code barney stinson

The bro code should never be broken...

For Barney, no word is more sacred than the text of the Bro Code. Most of the actions that he takes are determined by what the Bro Code says. If he breaks any of these rules at any time, he will punish himself accordingly.

Similarly, you have to take responsibility for your actions. Celebrate your accomplishments, but own up to your mistakes. If you acknowledge a break down and rectify it, people will find you more credible than someone who has never made a mistake.

Help out your friends.

“Have you met my friend, Ted?” might be a simple question, but it is the cornerstone of Barney’s playbook for being an excellent wingman. Barney goes out of his way to set up his friend Ted with women, and is essential in bringing the show’s power couple, Marshall and Lily, back together in the second season. Barney is generally self-serving with these gestures, but it still affects positive results for his friends.

There’s nothing more awesome than helping out your friends. The relationships that you make and keep also influence your personal brand. For people to sing your praises to their own network, you have to show them that you’re a person worth knowing. Share their content, comment on their work, and offer them part of your services or products for free. These small actions now will be worth their weight in gold later.

Stay open to change.

barney stinson nora how i met your mother

Barney takes a break from womanizing to date Nora.

Even though Barney is generally a womanizing cad, he’s had a handful of girlfriends during the course of the show. Relationships are not something he pursues, but when thrust into his life, he decides to give them a try.

No matter how fine-tuned your business, website, or life is right now, there’s always the possibility of something changing. Whether it’s an up-and-coming social network or new competitor, you’ll have to be ready to adapt. Even if the conflict seems terrifying, you may emerge on the other side better than ever.

Sustain your enthusiasm.

Barney is the king of keeping a party going and the optimism booming. His personal playlist contains only upbeat and catchy rock songs. Even if everything is going terribly wrong, he always wants to press on.

There will be terrible days. There will be days when your lead generation is sitting at zero. There will be days will you publish a Pultizer-worthy blog post and nobody comments. The important thing is to shrug it off, find your happy place, and keep going. Without risks, there will be no rewards.

So are you ready to be awesome? By following these tips you will be well on your way to a personal brand that not even Barney Stinson could touch.

It’s time to make yourself legendary.

Anything else we can learn from Barney? Any other ways you’re building your personal brand? What’s your favorite Barney moment or catchphrase? If you’re feeling extra awesome, hit one of those social buttons to share this post with all of your favorite bros.

IMAGE CREDIT TO WATCHWITHKRISTIN AND FALHAKAFALLIN. ALL OTHER IMAGES LOW-RESOLUTION SCREEN SHOTS FROM CBS’ “HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER.” THIS SHOW IS A COPYRIGHT OF CBS INTERACTIVE AND 20TH CENTURY FOX TELEVISION. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.


Mandy Kilinskis

Mandy is proud to be a part of QLP’s content team. A self-professed nerd, her interests include video games, sitcoms, superhero movies, iPods and iPhones but never Macs, and shockingly, writing. Her claims to fame are: owning over forty pairs of Chuck Taylor All Stars, offering spot-on coffee advice, and knowing an unbelievable amount of Disney Princess facts. You can connect with Mandy on

Comments

  1. Amy Swanson

    Oh my goodness I can’t even type how much I loved this blog, Mandy!

    My favorite takeaway is: “Once you’re awesome, you need to continue to be awesome. Unfortunately, being awesome doesn’t come to those that sit at home and eat potato chips”. I feel like I need to write that down and pin it somewhere I’ll always see it. Nothing comes to people who just sit and wait, you gotta get up and make things happen!

    I think you could write an entire post on his positivity. Even if he doesn’t get the girl, he doesn’t get down and out and mopey about it. He brushes himself off and tries again… again… again… and again ;)

    • Jaimie Smith

      Amy that was my favorite too! It is so true. People that do not try to succeed in life cannot expect to get anywhere. You have to put yourself out there and try new things, and not give up. Mystakes may happen, but you have to gain things from mystakes as opposed to giving up because of them.
      This was such an awesome post, Mandy!

      • Mandy Kilinskis

        It’s true, mistakes happen. And as I said, in general, consumers have more confidence with a brand that made a mistake and owned up to it, instead of a brand that never made a mistake.

        People understand that you’re human, you have to try!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Amy! It was definitely one of my favorites to write!

      I think we should make that quote into some word art and then put it on Pinterest. I smell a viral pin in the making…

      And Barney’s positivity is really awesome. He is pretty relentless, too — especially lately when he’s been going after girls that he actually likes. It’s great that Barney’s enthusiasm will end up rubbing off on his friends, too. :)

  2. Jill Tooley

    I really need to watch this show! Barney sounds like a stand-up guy (and you can’t go wrong with Neil Patrick Harris).

    Even though I haven’t seen any episodes of this yet, I can relate to Barney’s personal branding skillz. “Hold Yourself Accountable” and “Help Out Your Friends” are the two that stuck out most for some reason. Accountability is vital, especially in today’s world when brands/people make mistakes and then either A) deny them, or B) refuse to acknowledge them in the first place. And helping out your friends…well, that should be a given no matter what!

    Awesome post, Mandy! NPH would be proud! :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Well… I don’t know if I’d say a “stand-up guy.” He does lie to women to get them into bed. But “powerhouse character” or “personal branding master” are definitely accurate! ;)

      Denying or refusing to acknowledge your mistakes is the best thing to do if you want to completely trash your brand image. Shipments can be misplaced, products get damaged; a swift apology and rectifying action will probably grow strong brand advocates!

  3. Jenna Markowski

    I can’t believe we didn’t come up this idea for a blog post until now! This post rules! :D

    Related to sustaining enthusiasm (which is something I should probably keep in mind), one of my favorite Barney quotes is, “When I’m sad, I stop being sad and be awesome instead.” I think everyone would do well to take a few pages from Barney’s book.

    Excellent post, Mandy. :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Jenna! It took a while, but I’m glad that it came to fruition! :D

      I love that Barney quote. Wallowing definitely feels good at the moment, but it won’t bring you new clients, write your blog posts, or make you an influencer. But going back to being awesome? That’ll get a whole lot done for you.

  4. Rachel

    Great post, Mandy! I like your point about giving yourself an association. It’s not something I had really thought about before, but it’s absolutely important. If people think of your name first when they need a certain skill or product, that’ll definitely help your bottom line. AND it’ll make you awesome! :)

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Precisely! If you want to sell a whole lot of flowers, you’re going to want to establish yourself as the leading thought leader of floral arrangements. Having an association that helps your bottom line is definitely awesome. :)

  5. Alex Brodsky

    This post is as legen-wait for it-DARY as that time Lily kicked Korean Elvis in the nards.

    But don’t forget the tip: ALWAYS HAVE A PLAN. Barney has done this with his “Playbook.” Due to his forethought, he was able to pull off even the most intricate of pick-up moves: The Scuba Diver!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      The Scuba Diver was very impressive, to say the least!

      And you make a great point. You should always have a plan – whether it’s your personal brand plan or a plan for your business, you’re definitely going to need one to succeed so spectacularly!!

  6. Roxanne Krause

    II friggin LOVED this!! I have watched back to back episodes of HIMYM over the last 4 weeks (Season 1 through 5), how did I miss out on all this awesomeness over the years!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      Thanks, Roxanne! I didn’t pick up HIMYM until the fifth season, but I am so glad that I did – it’s so great!

      And the fact that we can learn business tips from it? Even better! :)

  7. Jeff Porretto

    I tried to like this show, but after 5-6 it just wouldn’t stick. I’m shocked I never heard the legen… wait for it… dary thing in those episodes though. Maybe I’d have stuck around.

    Excellent points though!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      I’m surprised that you didn’t, either. Barney said it almost every episode during seasons 1 and 2. They gave him a little bit of a break in the later seasons, which was not only a relief for the audience, but also let his character grow.

      And thanks!

  8. Zac Parsons

    I would wager a slap-bet that this was a freaking fun article for you to write. And I REALLY enjoyed reading it as well. Even with the humor and innuendos, it really does tap into something true about how we should all hope to brand ourselves. When it’s time to suit up, you suit up. Know thyself, right?

    This hit the spot for me today. Thank you for creating and sharing!

    • Mandy Kilinskis

      You would win that slap-bet that this was super fun to write! And I’m glad that you enjoyed reading it – after all, you can enjoy writing something, but then you have even more fun when others read it! If I ever have even half the level of personal branding that Barney Stinson has, I will consider myself a lucky girl.

      Thanks for popping over, reading, and leaving a comment, Zac! :)

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