Real Time Personal Branding Case Study – Kenneth Cole

Bad Idea

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If you’re following Kenneth Cole’s “Brand Suicide”…

Hat Tip to our pal Shelly Kramer for her analysis of the Kenneth Cole Twitter Issue. You can read her take here: Kenneth Cole Brand Suicide.

Let’s take a look at another aspect of this situation: The Perils of the Personal Brand.

Or, maybe, more accurately, The Perils of the Eponymous Brand.

Kenneth Cole – person, shoe brand, both – may well weather this storm. Maybe they’ll sell some shoes. Maybe Kenneth himself will make a public apology, allow us to bask in the glow.

But when YOU are the brand – Kenneth Cole, Martha Stewart, John Smith Company – what do you do to get out of a situation like this?

If you’re running an Eponymous Brand – if the company is named after you – do your cohorts live the vision?

Can they say stuff on your behalf – like on Twitter – so that this sort of thing doesn’t happen? Can they talk you out of the really bad ideas – like borrowing from a real life-and-death crisis to try to sell your spring collection?

Have you come up with a strategy behind your communications? Or are you throwing proverbial spaghetti against the wall?

If you work for a Personal Brand – do you feel empowered?

Martha Stewart has survived numerous crises – probably because (like, say, Oprah) she’s got the right deputies everywhere – and she set out to build something larger than herself.

But are you in a position where you can tell the boss, “hey, this is a bad idea?”

What do you think? Is building a Personal Brand a bad idea – and an Eponymous Brand an even worse one?

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