Celebrity & CEO Reputation

July 11, 2009

Celebrity & CEO Reputation

   I have been thinking a lot about celebrity lately. Perhaps all the media coverage on Michael Jackson has got me thinking about how different today is from the early days when Michael Jackson started his stardom. Today everyone is a brand and has their 15 minutes of fame.
There used to just be entertainment celebrities and sports celebrities. Then came the celebrity CEOs along with the dot com era.  There was always a handful of political celebrities like the Clintons and Kennedys.  Now there are celebrity journalists, bloggers, twitterers, political leaders, scientists, authors, late night TV hosts, comics, governors mommies, and dog whisperers.

The reason that there are so many celebrities today is that every thing is being marketed and every one is marketable. The Internet has allowed most anyone the ability to market themselves on Facebook, YouTube or Twitter.  When I wrote my books, the lesson learned in terms of success was that it was not the book’s content that mattered as much as how well  it was marketed.  Marketing made the difference between being known and unknown.  When  I wrote my first book, CEO Capital, I attended a seminar of well-known writers. One writer said that the hardest part was not the book writing but the marketing afterwards – the interviews, book tours, websites, editorials, and all the media.  He found it very distasteful.  Unfortunately, a book does not go far without marketing dollars. For that reason, there are many book publicists for hire.

I am pleased to see that there are not as many CEO celebrities as there once was. It is easy to see that it would be hard to do so considering the economic woes brought on by the misguided judgement of a few CEOs.  As seen in our research, the reputation of CEOs could not be lower. Why would anyone want to raise their hand in this environment?  In fact, a majority of CEOs are not superstars and do not even want to be. CEOs are leaving the pop idol acclaim to political leaders such as the Obama. The celebrity angel dust is luckily spreading elsewhere.

The good news is that reputation is not built on celebrity. Reputation is enduring and lasting; celebrity is fleeting and superficial.

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Leslie Gaines-Ross
Leslie Gaines-Ross

As Weber Shandwick’s Chief Reputation Strategist, I focus on the ever changing world of reputation. For the past 25 years, I have relentlessly observed, researched and commented on the rise and fall of reputations.

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