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Take Notes from the Personal Branding of Robert Downey Jr.
By: Cindy Wendland
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Facebook is great for catching up with friends’ lives and posting pics of our kids’ last day of school. It can also be inspiring and a great lesson in personal branding. A celebrity can elevate a cause because of their reach. Robert Downey Jr. did that for Albert Manero, OneNote, and #CollectiveProject.

Albert Manero is a student who is donating artificial limbs he makes on a 3D printer to children who need them. He is part of Limbitless (nice name), a student-run nonprofit at the University of Central Florida. They don’t want families to be in debt over the cost of a prosthetic arm. They have many inspiring stories of how they are changing lives with these donated limbs. The technology is amazing and they were able to print one boy’s arm for $350, although they did donate it to the child. What a great use of 3D printing technology.

Limbitless doesn't miss a detail in the presentation. They turn a missing arm into an event tailored to the child’s interests. The Blue Man Group presented a robotic arm to a boy named Wyatt who was a big fan. His arm was blue with paint splatters. How perfect. Another little boy, Alex, loves superheroes. His robotic arm looks like Iron Man, and Iron Man presented it to him.

It may seem like a small thing for a celebrity to do, but imagine all the requests they get. Robert Downey Jr. took his position as Iron Man to make a time in a child’s life memorable and meaningful. He downplayed his robotic arm, talked about how Alex’s new arm was better, and made the child feel incredible. It’s a generous project all around, and even if you aren’t a celebrity you can donate and make a difference. That’s a personal branding lesson for all of us. 

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About the Author
Cindy Wendland has a background in marketing and finance. She is the creative director for an online men's health magazine, BrainBrawnBody.com, and she gets to write their leisure/travel blog. She is also a web designer helping her clients with online community engagement, websitesbywendland.com. Prior to her web years, she worked in pharmacy consulting.
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