Do we hold leaders and celebrities in too high esteem to speak out about bad behavior? It would seem so, or we’d be marching on Washington, or Penn State, or Steubenville, Ohio. Such places have witnessed recent actions that are repulsive, morally wrong or illegal. Yet we blithely let it slide by, thinking the ‘perpetrator’ is now in jail. But shouldn’t we examine a culture that permits such actions to occur over time? What exactly is the brand represented by such acts? What kind of a culture allows a person to cause abuse and shame over years of time going largely unnoticed and unsuspected? What kind of a culture can take pleasure in sexually assaulting a woman who is unconscious, and not even a passerby takes action? Have we lost our ability to feel, to empathize with another’s pain? Finally, what about a government so politically divided and consumed with ambition that it will hurt the majority of American citizens before settling on a bipartisan compromise? It is not a brand I want to stand behind.
In the U.S. today, we have a culture that puts celebrities on a pedestal as some kind of idol, a false one. Someone has a reality show that makes a lot of money, so we should listen to them, their ideas, their philosophies which produce nothing but revenue for themselves. Do these endless shows contribute to society in any meaningful way? What do we get out of the culture of celebrity? We get nothing, really except a lot of bad behavior that we choose not to emulate. We do not revere anyone for their good actions, for the gift they give to society just by being who they are. We have so few people in that category. While we condemn terrorists for demeaning the value of human life, how different is it from a group of young men attacking an unconscious woman? When we talk about respecting life, how about the lives of the young men victimized by a football coach?
The brand portrayed in the U.S. media is self-serving, money-oriented. If I were to watch these shows and describe the brand, it would not be one that I could relate to, or believe in. The lessons to be learned in respect to our own personal brand are to ask ourselves some tough questions. What do I stand for? Is that clearly articulated as a part of my brand? More and more, we need to more precisely define who we are by the actions we take. We may need some tough minded thinking to better define ourselves and our brand, to make sure it’s something we can believe in. More importantly, our brand should represent a standard of behavior that we commit to.