Posted by: brandextenders | October 14, 2013

Are These Personal Brands Savvy or Stupid?

What do Alec Baldwin, Lindsay Lohan, Anthony Weiner, Miley Cyrus and Congress/the President all have in common? They all have a personal brand, which helps us understand who they are and gives us reason to like them or not.

In its simplest form, a personal brand is your personality and how you are perceived online and off. How do your friends and family perceive you, your co-workers and those you meet in your day-to-day interactions? How do you distinguish yourself from others in the crowd and then how do you leverage that differentiation consistently and across a variety of platforms?

In the case of the above, all their personal brands have had issues of late, some more than others, but has this hurt them or helped them? Let’s take a look:

  • Alec Baldwin: Just when I start to like him again he does something really Baldwin - Copystupid and I go back to despising the man. He rants on Twitter, gets kicked off airplanes, calls his daughter a little pig in a voice mail and directs anti-gay slurs at a reporter on Twitter…twice. Despite all this, the Alex Baldwin “brand” seems to be hotter than ever.  Capital One, the credit card company, has given no indication they will dump Baldwin for his stupidity and MSNBC has hired him for a once a week show called “Up Late with Alec Baldwin.” His movie characters have typically been jerks (i.e. Blake in Glengarry Glen Ross) as was the TV character her played on “30 Rock” for seven years so it makes sense his personal brand is the same. The public loves to hate him and he’s laughing all the way to the bank.
  • Miley Cyrus: Artist or tramp? That seems to be the two options these
    Yum...what's for dessert?

    Yum…what’s for dessert?

    days of the former Hannah Montana turned sexually provocative singer. Her recent gift to us was “twerking” (who’d ever heard of that until a few weeks ago?) on the VMA awards with Robin Thicke. Or how about her new music video where she licks a hammer or posing naked for the cover of Rolling Stone (anyone remember the Dr. Hook song?). Are these random acts or premeditated and meant to completely stomp her Disneyeque persona? Given her wealth, estimated at $150 million (she’s 20 years old for goodness sake) she probably doesn’t care what anyone thinks although complacency has been known to destroy careers.

  • Lindsay Lohan: What can you say about someone who has been in
    Not the most flattering photo!

    Not the most flattering photo!

    rehab more often than most people visit the grocery store? At 27 she has made a complete mess of her life and doesn’t seem to care. Her net worth is calculated at $500,000 which means she’s wasted millions over the years. Her party at all costs image has made her personal brand worthless and employment in the entertainment industry hard to find. Is she the next Janis Joplin (at least Joplin had talent) or can she pull herself together and turn her career and brand around. Only time will tell.

  • Anthony Weiner (a.k.a. Carlos Danger): What can you say about this former politician who won just 4.9% of the vote in the recent New York City Mayoral democratic primary? He put the word “sexting” on everyone’s lips after sending photos of his “junk” and naked torso to women half his age and resigning in disgrace from Congress in 2011. As the infomercials say, but wait, there’s more! He did the exact same thing again a
    Really?

    Really?

    year later prior to announcing his candidacy for mayor, but refused to withdraw from the race and voters had sense enough to let him self-destruct. His personal brand is down for the count, but people, especially voters, have short memories and it’s possible he could one day be running for President.

  • Congress/the President: Recent polls show the approval rating of Congress at between 5% & 7% which is not much better than the mayoral results for Weiner. Other recent polls have shown Congress as a whole is less popular than hemorrhoids, dog poop or toenail fungus. The
    Adults or whiny babies?

    Adults or whiny babies?

    President’s approval rating stands at 37% and after a recent press conference on the budget standoff the foreign press chided him as a petulant bully. Despite the way most American’s feel about Congress’ overall brand representation or the President’s, it doesn’t matter since voters tend to keep re-electing their Congressperson thinking they’re not the problem; it’s everyone else’s bum who needs to be replaced.

While it may not matter to these superstars and politicians how good or bad their personal brand is; we need to care about ours. Potential employers, customers, prospects, love interests and colleges are looking at the brand that is you and if they don’t like what they see if could cost you that job offer, a big sale, the love of your life or getting into the college you’ve dreamed of. It’s why I continue to tell my kids not to post stupid photos (falling down drunk and throwing up for instance) or comments that could come back to haunt them. Social media can be a game changer, but it cuts both ways. Keep in mind your smartphone is only as smart as the person using it.

Next time we’ll look at a few people who have created excellent personal brands and what we can learn from them.

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