Another week of charting the ups and downs of celebrity, first in the Guardian, discussing the rise, fall and rapid rise again of Russell Brand, who has risen phoenix-like out of the ashes of Sachsgate to find himself on the verge of international stardom. You can read the full article here, but here’s my note of caution:
“But will he stay the course? ‘Very difficult to predict,’ says the publicist and historian of celebrity Mark Borkowski. ‘He’s had a huge amount of American fame in a very short space of time. But standup comics from the UK don’t have a good track record – not many succeed. And tucked away somewhere on his torso is a self-destruct button. America is still very small-c conservative. There is,’ Borkowski adds, ‘still time for him to mess it up.’
Talking of messing things up, I was asked to comment the effect of Tiger Woods’ meltdown on the brands that have supported him over the years. According to Paul J Davies’s article, When star power finds the rough (Financial Times, April 7th): “…the stock market value of all the companies endorsed by Mr Woods collectively lost $5bn-$12bn by the middle of December [last year].”
The article discusses the need to protect against reputation meltdown. My take on this was to point out that companies needed to be prepared to combat reputation meltdown effectively and well. Here’s an extract: “When Kate Moss, the supermodel, was caught taking cocaine in 2005, many of the brands she then represented, such as H&M, the retailer, ran a mile – but other, differently positioned names, such as Sir Philip Green’s Top Shop, soon took her on.
“’Kate Moss is an interesting example,’ says Mark Borkowski, who runs an eponymous public relations agency. ‘The teenage brands fell apart, but Virgin and some other edgier brands moved straight in.’
“Companies are increasingly recognising that reputation is an important and valuable asset that is vulnerable and volatile…
“’In the digital world, everyone can comment on your product or brand immediately and you have to be aware of what people are saying about your brand,’ says Mr Borkowski. ‘There will be a time when Twitter gets a billion followers [and] that’s a huge conversation. As a company you have to have the resources to monitor and respond to that – and quickly.’”
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