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What can you learn from Oprah? Plenty

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Centerpiece,Leaders & Managers

After 4,560 shows, Oprah Winfrey stepped down as a queen of daytime TV. Her last moments on television drew more than 18 million viewers, which leads one to reflect: How do you build a brand like Oprah?

1. Give back to your fans. Make them feel valued.

Example: During her shows, Winfrey gave away everything from croissants to cars. Those unexpected surprises delighted fans and forged their loyalty to the brand.

2. Take risks. Get attention.

Example: In 1988, Winfrey invited a group of neo-Nazis to appear on her show. It was a controversial decision, and Winfrey later said she regretted it. Fans, though, liked the risky topics and the move put her into the national spotlight.

3. Reveal your personal story. Some leaders prefer to hide behind the brand. Not Winfrey.

Example: Winfrey once told her audience that she’d been sexually assaulted when she was age 9. That’s an extreme leadership example, but her instinct to create transparency between herself and her audience created trust.

4. Become an influencer.

How big is Winfrey’s influence? Huge, according to Craig Garthwaite, a professor at Northwestern University and an Oprah expert.

He tells Time magazine, “For example, the novel Anna Karenina sold 11,648 units in the 12 weeks before inclusion in the Book Club. In the 12 weeks following inclusion, Anna Karenina sold 643,122 units.”

— Adapted from “7 Tips Your Business Can Learn From Oprah,” Eric Markowitz, Inc.

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