What’s Your Superhero Costume?

In his book, “Superhero: The Secret Origins of a Genre,” Peter Coogan discusses the definition of a superhero and how superheroes have evolved over time.

By the way, I’m assuming you can see the connection between superheroes and Thought Leaders. If you’re not getting it, you probably aren’t going to be successful as a Thought Leader without some instruction and assistance. I can help you with that.

One of the primary conventions of a superhero, Coogan writes, is a costume. Superheroes have costumes. Initially, the costume was to obscure the identity of the superhero. It was a disguise.

But the creators of Superman changed everything when they made his costume an expression of his identity. The big “S” chevron on his chest and the colors of his costume all told you, “this is Superman.” Batman had the same thing going on — his costume with the bat logo proclaimed him as being Batman.

Coogan says, and I’m quoting here, “The superhero costume removes the specific details of a character’s ordinary appearance, leaving only a simplified idea that is represented in the colors and design of the costume. The chevron especially emphasizes the character’s codename and is itself a simplified statement of that identity.”

I told you all that to tell you this: your costume — how you appear in public to your followers and customers — needs to proclaim your identity as a Thought Leader. What does your costume say about you? What message does it send?

I’m thinking of Kevin O’Leary on Shark Tank. He’s always in that black undertaker suit and wearing a fancy watch with a red band. That’s his look, and it’s part of his branding as the whole “Mr. Wonderful” persona. Yes, you can find him on social media wearing lots of other kinds of clothing, but when he’s working and there to do business, he’s always dressed the same way. 

You don’t need a uniform like that, like the black turtleneck and jeans that Steve Jobs often appeared in, but you do need to put some thought into how your personal appearance sends a specific and intentional message about who you are and what you can do.

And of course, the same thing could be said for the branding of your business, but that’s another discussion for another day.

My followers and I have these discussions every day, and you can be a part of them by signing up for my free daily emails at You Can Be A Thought Leader.