Donald Trump and Charlie Sheen – Personal Branding Winner and Loser

"The Donald"

You know that you’ve made it in the world of personal branding when you have a highly-recognized nickname and just the thought of you running for President of the United States creates a national buzz. Having a well-known tagline and distinguishing characteristics can also play an important role in attracting attention and followers.

My personal branding winner is Donald Trump…yes, “The Donald.”  Mr. Trump is considering running for President and is making some good points and some controversial ones along the way. Is this a “PR ploy” or is he serious?  No stranger to media stunts and controversy, Trump says he will give us his decision in June. From a publicity perspective, “The Donald” is handling this “campaign” with confidence and making his case on major media programs. Each appearance also provides opportunities for his businesses and TV shows to get extra plugs and promotion. Trump is no stranger to personal branding, from his shoot-from-the-hip persona and signature “hairstyle” to his many skyscrapers, casinos and other ventures that bear his name. Love him or hate him, “The Donald” is a personal branding winner.

Charlie Sheen

Sheen Video Rant

Speaking of “winning,” our personal branding loser of the week is Charlie Sheen.  It is almost impossible to avoid talking about Charlie Sheen, seeing him on TV and the web or reading about him. The enormity of Sheen’s media coverage is staggering, but personal branding is not all about getting the ink, airtime or Twitter followers. Media coverage for the wrong reasons does not help to grow a well-regarded brand. While having a tagline or catch phrase is great, when it is distorted or misunderstood it hurts a brand. Charlie’s “winning” and other wacky quips face such mockery that they point to a losing strategy.

With a career that spans from a brilliant performance in Platoon to recently being booed and jeered on stages from Detroit to New York, Charlie Sheen has seen many ups and downs. He may want to take a cue from fellow “Brat Packer” Rob Lowe who eased his own career roller-coaster ride after a sex tape scandal by keeping a low profile, refraining from reactive commentary and owning up to his mistakes. Lowe put his past behind him and maintained his career and the favor of the Hollywood elite.

I say “sorry Charlie,” because his confused, disturbing and even jarringly incoherent messages and rants make him a personal branding loser. However, based on Sheen’s resilient career, I would not be surprised if he transforms to become one of my “winners” in the future.

Who would you nominate as your personal branding winner and loser?

Personal Branding Winner and Loser – March – Chris Brown and Ralph Macchio

Bill Corbett’s Personal Branding Winner and Loser – March

Periodically I am going to include personal brand winners and losers on my blog. Two individuals stood out to me last month.

Video - Chris Brown on Good Morning America

For his Good Morning America (GMA) rant and chair-throwing incident Chris Brown is our personal branding loser of the week. We all heard about Mr. Brown’s antics following his interview with GMA’s Robin Roberts. Although Roberts clearly pushed the issue regarding Brown’s legal woes and tangles with former girlfriend Rihanna, Brown should have kept his cool. When trying to rehab a personal brand it is important to convey that the behaviors and issues in question have been resolved. In other interviews and statements Chris Brown has apologized and said that he will not behave “badly.” However, it is clear that following his GMA interview to promote his new album there continue to be issues he needs to overcome. From a personal branding perspective his behaviors last week place him in our loser category. Ironic as it seems, the latest upsurge in notoriety (even infamy) and expanded name recognition will probably enhance Brown’s album sales due to the massive media coverage that helped him regain a larger piece of America’s mindshare. We are happy that Brown apologized for his behavior because this is the first and most important step in personal brand rehab.

Our winner of the week is Ralph Macchio. Yes, the “Karate Kid” himself returned to the spotlight and captured the attention of millions. Ralph is competing on the popular television program “Dancing with the Stars.” Matched with professional dancer Karina Smirnoff, Ralph showed his dancing skills and charisma and wowed the judges and viewers. His first performance received the highest scores of the night proving that — just like his character “Danny” in the Karate Kid trilogy (yes, there were three films) — Ralph himself rises to the occasion. Ralph is our winner this week not only because he became a popular figure in the media, but because he resurrected his personal brand in a positive way. Fans, young and old, have been captivated by his return and are rooting for him. This

Video - Ralph Macchio and Karina Smirnof

demonstrates that while Macchio experienced relative obscurity from the spotlight for many years, his fan base and personal brand remain strong. All of us on Long Island, where Ralph hails from, wish “Daniel son” the best as the competition continues. We hope that the fanfare around his new kicks and moves — this time on the dance floor instead of the gym floor — will help to reinvigorate his career.

Do you have a personal brand winner or loser to nominate? Let me know.

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