The “media machine” of today creates overnight successes and failures in one fail swoop. Just ask Sarah Palin. Media outlets are a big part of creating the perceptions that depict celebrities as darling or demon. And it is no secret that the more successful one is, the more enemies he/she finds.
This brings me to today’s topic GUARDING YOUR BRAND. With the news about Plaxico Burress it was high time I addressed how bad press effects the value of a brand. One incident turned an athlete from Super Bowl hero to thug literally overnight. A PR nightmare that could easily take years to reverse.
From Hero to Inmate
As stated earlier, Plaxico was recently released and was interviewed by reporter Shannon Lanier on BlackEnterprise.com. (Click the image to the left to see the video clip). See the athlete’s response when Lanier asks him about his brand.
We all know that celebrities are unfairly scrutinized, but who ever said ‘life is fair’? The trade off for success these days is being subjected to public opinion (positive or negative). The result is a NEED for more sound decisions. Notice I did not say less controversial decisions. The masses are less rigid than judgmental.
Float Like a Butterfly; Brand Like Ali
So let’s get to the branding side of this business. For a celeb, their brand is more valuable than all of other tangible assests combined. Take Muhammad Ali for example. He is long past his prime and has not set foot in the ring as a professional fighter for decades. Yet he still demands top dollar for the use of his image, voice or video footage. Even as the visible effects of his illness consumed his body, the vision of Ali lighting the torch in the 1996 Olympics is still one of the most purchased images of all time. Talk about branding!
I subscribe to the philosphy that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. As a Branding professional it is my job to educate up and coming celebrities on the pitfalls of poor decision making. Once you have taken the time to craft an authentic, powerful brand then you must guard it with solid life style practices.
Celebrity Brand Strategy Team
In order to create a brand that sustains a celebrity needs a team of strategic advisors. That team should consist of:
- a legal advisor and/or agent
- a financial advisor
- a brand mananger
- a life coach
- a solid mentor
The key to the success of a celebrity branding team is to work as one cohesive unit in the best interest of the brand. They should all work from the perspective of long term success over the life time of the brand. Moreover, they should not be mere employees, but open, honest advisors that practice measurements of accountabilty for professional and personal growth of their client.
Happy Branding Everyone…
This article was originally posted November 2, 2009. Since Plaxico Burress was later released, we have revised and re-distributed it.