January 23, 2013
Celebrities are under continuous scrutiny from the paparazzi, their fans and the media, sometimes it’s difficult to separate the idealized version of these people to the reality of their true lives. Fans want to see heroes and these expectations in some ways shroud the reality of one’s true character. In some cases, celebrities work hard to control their image and will go to great lengths to protect that.
The recent Lance Armstrong case shows us how one man went to an extreme to protect his image, and when his real image came forward, there wasn’t much he could do to salvage it. Appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN), Lance Armstrong only exacerbated his tarnished image causing more questions than solving them. It was his latest attempt to yet again control his image, but in the end, the only way for him to redeem his image will be to perform honest acts with integrity. There is a long road ahead for Lance Armstrong. One can only hope that he will see, that appearances on shows such as Oprah are just that, appearances. What really changes an image and a brand are actions. As the old phrase says, “Actions speak louder than words.”
Communication Powerhouse Tip of the Week: Review your actions and how these reflect on your brand. Lance Armstrong fought tooth and nail to protect his personal brand and his “Livestrong” brand by controlling every aspect of these. He went on the attack for anyone who would attempt to diminish these brands. When the Sunday Times of London accused Lance Armstrong of using illegal performance enhancement drugs, rather than considering a humble approach, he went on the attack and sued the newspaper for libel. Winning was so important to Lance Armstrong, he cheated in the sport and was so self-centered, he couldn’t believe that anyone should try to tarnish that image. He event stated in his interview with Oprah that in his mind “cheating” was just having a “competitive edge.” He was able to justify his own actions, and went through deliberate actions to protect his secrets.
Simple acts can either support or detract from your brand. 1000 Cranes, is a brand based on the legend of folding 1000 origami paper cranes to achieve your most desired wish. It is a sign of perseverance and a sign of community building which permeates the company’s image. I have personally folded far more than 1000 Cranes, and people see congruence and credibility because of that action. I wasn’t required to fold these cranes, and the company had received contracts and business prior to that action. However, since folding the cranes, and giving these out freely as gifts at events, the brand image is uplifted. The brand is valuable, and the brand needs to be managed as a asset worth protecting. Whether developing a new brand or maintaining an existing one, look at your actions (both from a personal and business lens) and ensure these are congruent. By doing so, your image will grow with your customer base, and people and clients will know you for your personal integrity.
- What brand do you represent with your business?
- How do people see you in the public eye? Does this resonate with your business?
- If you are not congruent with your brand, what can you do to remedy that?
I look forward to hearing your thoughts by commenting below.