All hail the queen: Why we respect the brand that is Beyonce

Before I get into this post, let it be known that I am a Beyonce fan. That being said, let’s jump in!

As CNN correspondent Anderson Cooper stated, “It’s Beyonce’s world, and we are just living in it.” Over the past several weeks we have heard her sing (yes, sing) with her track at the inauguration of President Barack Obama, heard her sing the the national anthem live at a press conference, and watched her deliver a stellar, so-hot-the-lights-blew-out performance at the Super Bowl. Critics have tried their hardest to prove how inauthentic she is. I’m not buying it. Throughout her career she has built and protected her brand like nobody’s business. For the most part her personal life has been literally, nobody’s business! Yet, she is open enough so that her fans still feel connected. Even through the ups and downs of the music business, Beyonce still manages to do everything right.

Here are three things that Beyonce says without saying:

1. I’m humbled, but I’m not afraid of you.

A prime example of this is when she sang the national anthem a capella at the Super Bowl press conference and ended with, “Any questions?” Perfect way to begin the press conference and still remind people that she can indeed sing live. People can say what they want about her. She will chuckle, throw in a politely sarcastic comment and move on.

2. “You must not know ’bout me!”

If anyone was not familiar with Beyonce’s work ethic, they were introduced to it at the Super Bowl. Any doubters should have been put to shame that night. She sings and dances like there is no tomorrow and can still hit every note without sounding out of breath. She doesn’t miss a beat, riff, or run. Perfect pitch, perfect form, and lovely cascading ad libs for your listening pleasure.  I will admit I didn’t become a true Beyonce fan until the BDay album came out. After watching her live performances at home on DVD or online, there was no question in my mind about how great the halftime show would be.

3. I let my work and my fans do most of the talking.

If actions speak louder than words, then Lady Bey has made her point. She puts her all (and more) into what she does. I think it’s safe to say that this post is an example of how her fans will jump to her defense at any moment. Of course everyone is entitled to his or her own opinion. Everyone has his or her own music preferences. I’m just saying, the tribes of fans also known as the BeyHive have been known to uphold her name and brand at any cost. Anyone who misspeaks or “mistweets” about her may have an “Oops!” moment, once word gets out.

That is all for now. Some of us are awaiting ticket prices for the Mrs. Carter tour! Check out beyonce.com for more details.

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Oops! Just kidding…

Image taken from thegrio.com

***Update*** 11/20/12Yesterday TMZ reported that Kevin Clash’s accuser, now identified as Sheldon Stephens, was paid off to recant his original statement. (So, I guess now he is recanting his recant *blank stare*) My feelings about the topic remain the same at this point. Carry on. ***

This may go down as a classic case of “When Accusers Attack” … attack reputation that is. The sticky situation surrounding Elmo puppeteer, Kevin Clash has come to an end. Clash took a leave of absence from Sesame Street after being accused of having sexual relations with a sixteen-year-old boy seven years ago. The accuser, now 23 years old, recanted his statements. Today his lawyers stated, “He wants it to be known that his sexual relationship with Mr. Clash was an adult consensual relationship.”

Some of us knew that things weren’t adding up from the beginning. While both parties may have done wrong in one way or another, let’s analyze the situation from a crisis communicator’s perspective.

Here’s what was all wrong:

1. The accuser said sexual relations with Clash occurred when he was sixteen. He made claims seven years later. Why would anyone wait that long? Maybe we could have assumed that he was bribed into a relationship with Clash if the allegations were true. Maybe. We now know that is not the case.

2. According to HLN the accuser did not file a police report, but instead informed the Sesame Workshop. This makes it seem as if the man wanted some sort of revenge on Clash, or as if he was just out to tarnish his reputation.

3. The accuser lied. No explanation needed there.

Here’s what was done right:

1. Sesame Street responded quickly.

“We met with the accuser twice and had repeated communications with him. We met with Kevin, who denied the accusation. We also conducted a thorough investigation and found the allegation of underage conduct to be unsubstantiated. Our investigation did reveal that Kevin exercised poor judgment and violated company policy regarding internet usage and he was disciplined.”

2. Clash responded to the allegations quickly.

“I am a gay man,” Clash said. “I have never been ashamed of this or tried to hide it, but felt it was a personal and private matter.

3. Clash told the truth.

“I had a relationship with the accuser. It was between two consenting adults and I am deeply saddened that he is trying to characterize it as something other than what it was,” Clash said. 

It seems as though the accuser thought that hiring Andreozzi and Associates as his legal representation would make his story look legit. Instead, it turned out to be a tall tale. Although these accusations have been put to rest, Clash’s personal life may be a little turbulent. However, the news may die down soon now that the truth has been revealed.

How well do you think the situation was handled? 


Feel free to be yourself, but…

“You’re only sixteen. You don’t have a rep yet!”

Feel free to be yourself, but protect your rep!

In life you may have heard teachers, parents, mentors or even friends talk to you about protecting your reputation. I’m sure some of you know of the reputations of the celebrities featured on this blog.

How does one form a reputation? Does changing a reputation change who a person really is?

The PR industry is very competitive, fast-paced and cutthroat. Professional crisis managers are trained to prepare for the worst at any time. They also have strategies in mind to protect the reputation of the client or company they work for. This business can be very frustrating for the professional and the client. Entertainers, businesses and PR practitioners depend on audience feedback in order to sell products. When your work is based on public opinion, you have to learn to watch your step! Any wrong move can cause people to turn their back on you. This leads me to the next question: Is it really safe to be yourself?

As a student studying public relations I have gone back and forth in my mind about the issue of transparency. People want to know all about your work, but they also want to see some of your personal side, too. Thinking about the expectations can be exhausting. Cater to your audience’s specific needs, worry about how people perceive your brand, but don’t lose yourself in the process. (No pressure!) These practices almost seem unrealistic when you think about it. However, they are attainable through balance. We’re human. We make mistakes. That is why crisis managers have jobs.  The key is to learn how to deal with what you can control. Here are some tips on how to protect your rep online.

1. Post what you don’t mind people knowing about. This seems like common sense, but sometimes we forget that other people are watching what we post online.  It’s easy to get caught up typing away as if Twitter (or Facebook) is our online journal. It’s not. If you don’t mind what people see on your page, don’t worry about it. If you do mind, use pen and paper like the good old days.

2. Be smart, be positive. Don’t post anything that you know will get you in trouble. Follow the rules. Play nice.

3. Go ahead, be yourself! Don’t get so caught up in what people think that you change your style just to be liked. If it’s not breaking the law, breaking any social media policies, or harming anyone, go ahead and post. Entertainers and artists are creative people. Yes, they sell their work to the public and yes, they may have to make compromises or adjustments to increase sales. However, their personalities are what make them unique. Their flavor is what attracts a loyal following. When you have a keen knowledge about who you are and what your purpose is, you don’t have to worry as much about who’s offended by your message. At that point, the pride in your work will outweigh negative judgment.

What are your rules for protecting your rep?

Image credit: bellcurves.com


Lance Armstrong: A Fallen Hero?

The former Tour de France star, Lance Armstrong, has been in the news this past week for the pages of evidence that the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency drafted regarding his suspected drug use. Teammates have come out and admitted their use, and they have also accused Armstrong of distributing and using performance enhancing drugs. Armstrong fought the accusations until the summer of this year when the USADA revoked his awards and banned him from cycling.

Armstrong remained silent when the recent allegations came out. As of today he is no longer chairman of LIVESTRONG. In a statement, Armstrong said that he was stepping down from his position.

“This organization, its mission and its supporters are incredibly dear to my heart,” Armstrong said. “Today therefore, to spare the foundation any negative effects as a result of controversy surrounding my cycling career, I will conclude my chairmanship.”  (Source: AP)

Nike has even ended its contract with Armstrong because of the scandal.

“Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him,” Nike said, in a statement. “Nike does not condone the use of illegal performance enhancing drugs in any manner. Nike plans to continue support of the Livestrong initiatives created to unite, inspire and empower people affected by cancer.” (via ESPN)

Before today, many questioned if Armstrong’s silence despite the accusations would affect the LIVESTRONG movement.

Some said yes. Critics argued that the consumption of performance enhancing drugs is against what the foundation stands for. The act is misleading and as a misrepresentation of the U.S. Postal Service Team, the foundation, and several endorsements.

Some said no. He has gained a huge following by being an inspiration to those who have been touched by cancer. The Lance Armstrong foundation has done a great deal for individuals and families fighting the disease. Although the USADA took away his physical accomplishments, no one could take away the impact that Armstrong and the foundation had on people who were affected.

Now it seems to be the end of the road for the former cyclist. Those who once defended him may be inclined to toss their LIVESTRONG bracelets aside.

According to the website the Lance Armstrong Foundation just celebrated fifteen years of service to people fighting cancer. The foundation planned a series of events to begin Thursday, October 18.

Will Armstrong’s decision to step down cause supporters to doubt the foundation? Was his good work done in vain? How would the situation be different had he made a statement before all the news blew up?

 

Image credit: The Telegraph


Rihanna and Chris Brown: It is what it is?

Chris Brown and Rihanna at Barclays Center

In case you missed it, Chris Brown publicly announced his breakup with then girlfriend, Karrueche Tran, last week because of his “friendship” with Rihanna. Tweets between Chris and Karrueche alluded to the event. News about Rihanna and Chris being seen together at Jay-Z’s concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, came out shortly after.

In a statement Chris Brown said, “I have decided to be single and focus on my career. I love Karrueche very much, but I don’t want to see her hurt over my friendship with Rihanna. I’d rather be single allowing us to both be happy in our lives.”  (via Clutch)

Sure. Makes sense, right?

On October 4th he released a video on Twitter entitled “The Real Chris Brown” where he drunkenly asks if it is possible to be in love with two people.

Chris and Rihanna seem to have had a  back-and-forth reconciliation stage amid all of the drama. MTV posted a timeline of events that led to their reunion this year. I guess among the Twitter beef, the song collaborations, subliminal greetings and private meetups, it was just bound to happen. Over the years fans have taken sides and made comments about what their actions say about them as individuals.

Maybe like Rihanna’s hit song says, they found love in a hopeless place. If the two decide to be together, let’s wish them love in a hopeful future. Both Rihanna and Chris are very outspoken when it comes to expressing their feelings. Rihanna just debuted the cover art to her seventh studio album, Unapologeticwhich will be released November 19. The title seems to reflect her attitude toward life at this point. Some celebrities have shared their opinion on the so-called rekindled relationship.

Oprah interviewed Rihanna in Barbados in August. They discussed her feelings toward Chris Brown at that time. Here is Oprah’s reaction to the recent rumors:

Actress Rosario Dawson has recently partnered with the Allstate Foundation to fight domestic violence. She also made a statement in Rihanna’s defense.

“Had Rihanna not been a victim of domestic violence we probably wouldn’t be holding her feet to the fire to stand up for it. Support is the critical part of it, not giving criticism, not being judgmental toward people. I’m not going to blame the victim in this situation and say you should be doing something. I’m sure being berated for not doing something is not necessarily going to make it happen better or more. It prevents other people in the future who might be publicly exposed for being in a domestic violence situation — that’s going to prevent them from stepping up as well.” (via freesworld.com)

Is it acceptable for the two to be together now? Should we still care? Do you wish them the best?

Image credit: http://www.eurweb.com/2012/10/chris-brown-rihanna-follow-club-kiss-with-jay-z-concert-pic/chris-rihanna-barclays/


Was Bobby Valentine a bad choice for the Red Sox?

The Boston Red Sox fired Bobby Valentine as manager on Thursday after a losing season. Red Sox president/CEO, Larry Lucchino, and general manager, Ben Cherington, were very tactful when answering questions about the decision in an ESPN interview. It seems as though they were trying not to bash Valentine’s character while attempting to uphold the pride of the team. When asked what attributes they may look for in a new manager that Valentine did not possess, Lucchino chose the high road.

“I’m not comfortable addressing that because it sounds too much like an analysis of Bobby Valentine’s shortcomings, and we’re not going to get into that,” Lucchino said. “We thought we needed to press a reset button because of the dismal performance of the club, and we all share a responsibility for that.”

Sports analysts have said that hiring Valentine was a big mistake from the beginning. It has also been said that even some of the players did not want him as a manager. Valentine’s run-ins with players during spring training was a red flag for most. ESPN writer Buster Olney said if the Red Sox kept Valentine the team would have fallen apart.

“I think if ownership decided to keep Bobby you would have had players in that organization basically say, ‘If he’s going to stay, I want out.’ That’s how bad it was,” Olney said.

Reports show that Valentine felt the coaches undermined him. At a press conference Valentine mentioned that he felt he and the coaches “weren’t on the same page.”

This short clip shows a very vague response to the question. He said his comments regarding his relationships with the coaches were based on feelings, not facts. “It didn’t have anything to do with anything,” Valentine said. What does this attitude say about his relationship with the team? It’s clear that at this point no one wants to throw anyone under the bus or point the finger by being specific. However, although neither party is being direct, there is definitely some tension. It could be based on lack of communication or a misunderstanding. It could be bitterness from the unfortunate season. It could be because of unresolved issues that no one bothered to discuss. Why wasn’t Valentine a good fit?

Why did Red Sox think hiring Bobby Valentine was a good idea to begin with?

Was the team’s losing season a reflection of poor management?

Can a team or a business function properly under bad leadership?

What do you all think?

 

Image credit: http://tracking.si.com/2012/09/27/red-sox-gm-alludes-to-bobby-valentine-out-as-manager-mlb/


Scandal is back!

Hello Scandal watchers! (Or as Kerry Washington might say, Hey Gladiators!)

As some of you may know, Thursday night marked the second season’s premiere of ABC’s Scandal. The show is based on expert crisis manager, Judy Smith. Smith is known for advising celebrity clients such as Monica Lewinsky and Michael Vick. Of course Scandal is much more dramatic compared to Smith’s average day, however, according to her website the show “revolves around the life and work of a professional fixer.”

Judy Smith

Smith is also author of the book, Good Self, Bad Self: Transforming Your Worst Qualities Into Your Biggest Assets. In the book she describes seven characteristics that are recognized at the core of a crisis. They are:

  1. Ego
  2. Denial
  3. Fear
  4. Ambition
  5. Accomodation
  6. Patience
  7. Indulgence

I am interested to see how these traits relate to an emergency situation. I am also looking forward to another intense season of the show, which airs Thursdays at 10 p.m. on ABC.

What did you think of the first episode?

Watch it here –> Scandal Season 2 Premiere