How to Avoid a Personal Branding Implosion

Brand Implosion

I’m watching The Today Show and a series of stories fly by:

  1. Oscar Pistorious
  2. Mark Sanford
  3. Tiger Woods

Read carefully and you’ll note that all of these stories carry a unifying personal theme. Each celebrity here has committed behavior inconsistent with their brand DNA; it was unexpected and caused a brand implosion. Here is the explosive formula:

Brand ImplosionOf course, we can argue that some athletes such as Lance, Oscar and Tiger were built into mythic legends and they had no place to go but down. But, the reality is that even mere mortals such as Mark Sanford, Anthony Weiner, Prince Harry, Kate Moss, Mel Gibson, or Tom Cruise had meltdown episodes. How do you protect your brand?

  1.  Remember that Big Cameras are Everywhere – You and I may have committed folly (or inhaled) in our youth, but it wasn’t caught on video and it wasn’t posted to Facebook. Remember that every outing is a chance for an unfortunate outing.
  2. Be Authentic – Charlie Sheen doesn’t have a branding problem because he is exactly who he portrays. Even in his new movie, A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III, his character is just a bigger version of himself.
  3. Monitor Your Brand – Put Google alerts on you; read what is being posted and reviewed. Most importantly, be ready with a plan.
  4. Engage with Social Media – Fully 50% of my audiences wish that Twitter would just fade away, but I always argue that the chatter is going to take place anyway. If you join the conversation, you can shape, change, and shift perception with your interaction. Many unhappy customers take to social media for help or an apology. They just want to be heard! Isn’t it time you listen?

Please share your stories me in the comments below.

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