William’s Words: Authenticity and Branding

William ArrudaWilliam’s Words
By William Arruda

A note from the Founder of Reach Personal Branding.

Authenticity and Branding

When Martha Stewart went to jail in 2004 for lying to investigators about insider trading, many said the Martha Stewart brand was finished. Yet, she emerged from prison even stronger than ever. That’s because we don’t look to Martha Stewart as the most ethical stock trader. She is the Domestic Diva. We equate her with all things ‘home.’ Her legal issues – although highly publicized and widely discussed among her fans and detractors – didn’t permanently tarnish her brand. If we had learned, however, that she didn’t create her own recipes or that she couldn’t make paper mache snowflakes, it would be extremely hard for her to recover!

Lance Armstrong, on the other hand, has directly violated what his brand is all about. We saw him as the perfect sports star – someone who overcame a major health crisis and through hard work, discipline and commitment became one of the world’s most impressive and revered athletes. Now, with the ongoing news stories about alleged doping, the Lance Armstrong brand is in crisis. It will be extremely hard for him to recover because it seems he is not who we thought he was. Nike and other former supporters and sponsors see this and have severed ties with him. His story is an important one. It highlights the importance of being true to yourself and honest with those around you.

Branding isn’t about creating an image for the outside world. It’s not about trying to fool people. It’s based in authenticity.

Are you being true to your brand?


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