Real Time Personal Branding Case Study – Kenneth Cole

Bad Idea

Image courtesy bigsoccer.com

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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