Steve McQueen; The Master of Self-Promotion

‘I live for myself and I answer to nobody’

– Steve McQueen

It’s a fine, fine line between arrogance and self-confidence; where does one end the other begin? Steve McQueen had it down to an art form, and it got him far in life, landing him dream roles in iconic Hollywood films that have outlasted the ages and then some. Self-promotion has become almost synonymous with Mr. McQueen for his unwavering commitment which got him the roles that made him a household name; ‘Vin Tanner’ in ‘The Magnificent Seven’, ‘Hilts’ in ‘The Great Escape’ and plenty more.

Disregard the fact that as children, the idea of speaking about your accomplishments and talents is generally perceived as bragging or show-boating and try re-framing that to something more positive. Self-promotion is a skill in itself because of the level of emotional intelligence attached to doing it well. Understanding why it’s necessary to highlight your capabilities to the right audience, consciously maintaining your integrity but still getting noticed and demonstrating authenticity are all foundational aspects of self-promotion.

These same principles could be applied to marketing in the 21st-century. Of course, every business wants to steal the show and be the centre of every consumer’s attention, but how does a company cut through the noise and steal the show? Admittedly, Mr. McQueen may have pushed a little too far by getting on the bad side of his colleagues toward the end of his career, but there are ways to achieve the same level of confidence and positioning without making a (bad) name for your business along the way.


Whether it was stealing the show in The Magnificent Seven when the camera wasn’t on him by taking off his hat, playing with his gun, or checking his bullets, Mr McQueen owned what he did. This is what made him the stylish, high-maintenance, and iconic movie star, we all know. Your unique selling proposition should be the one thing that separates your product/service from the rest of the world is the thing you need to hold onto closely. This USP is the underlying theme that needs to be reflected in the work, employees, and any customer touchpoint.


The identity of Steve McQueen being ‘The King of Cool’ was never a publicity stunt or an ‘image’; it was always authentic and effortless. It was also something that radiated from him in every role he accepted. Whether you sell toilet brushes or multi-million dollar homes, giving your business a personality through content marketing across social media and the likes is one of the most effective ways to build an engaged audience. Using strategic narratives like stories and articles makes a brand authentic and gives people something to connect with, which, in turn, builds loyalty and authority.


Well-known for breaking the rules, speaking up when someone who was more polite may have refrained, Steve McQueen never questioned his identity, his opinions, or his talent and he made damn sure everyone around him knew about it. These days, it’s about more than competitive pricing and quality products now more than ever. With the complexity attached to omnichannel customer journeys, customers will see your business’ messaging across a variety of platforms, so give them something to talk about! Move away from cheesy hard-sell ads and instead, dive into a deeper form of brand marketing that makes an impact and resonates with people.


Although Steve McQueen upset a few people on his journey to the top, he got there nonetheless and with a legacy that will roll on for many years to come. No doubt, there will be challenges, and there will be times when it may seem as though nothing is working. However, there are methods used in marketing to help make the process streamlined and effective over the long-run.

Here at Ronin, our team is equipped to help build a long-standing reputation and optimise your online presence to cut through the noise. We know first-hand what it takes to create an engaging and cohesive messaging strategy, so reach out today and find out how.

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