When children are asked what they want to be when they grow up, a popular new answer is: “famous.” Honey Boo Boo is famous – famous enough for People magazine to sponsor a lookalike contest. Parents actually entered their kids’ photos in hopes of winning. You think your senior high school picture was your worst moment? How about forever being tagged as a doppelganger for Honey Boo Boo?
Today, famous is as famous does. In fact, most of us watch a lot of extreme behavior from a lot of unexceptional people. Is that personal branding at its best? When there is no “there, there” but the person can generate an audience? Eyeballs are a gold mine. Not a gold mind.
Is famous the end goal of your personal brand? Is that a goal worth pursuing? After all, famous people are simply newsmakers. And really often, it’s not good news they are making.
You don’t have to be talented, smart, or hard-working to be famous.
That’s become a problem for those of us in even the most mundane occupations, with relatively normal lives. This new notion of famous has brought about a prevailing meme that anything goes, anywhere, anytime by anyone, to anyone.
Raunchy is the new racy.
Any way you want to dress, any thing you want to say, any quality of work or art, any time you care to do it, and anyone you want to address about anything, on any public media form – anything goes.
It’s so common to watch these famous people do things of such low character, that you may not realize how offensive real life has become.
If I get one more LinkedIn message from an overly familiar, complete stranger who expresses his irritation that I haven’t responded to his other messages about how his product is going to make my company more profitable – without his even knowing what business I’m in? I may scream. And, I can scream because screaming in public is now the norm, especially when people greet each other in restaurants and anywhere they’re on the phone.
If I see one more Facebook post that declares this woman’s God is the only God and the rest of us are going to perish, I’ll scream (why not?). Or, the man-hater rants, or the President of the United States-hater rants, or more photos of salad (thank you Prince for jumping on that trend, which jumped the shark a couple years back, eh?).
This has happened in part because we see people rising to the top of high profile professions – including politics as well as entertainment – making terrible decisions about what they say and how they act. Of course, we’re enabled by social networks and civilian media, much less those supposedly meant-just-for-you texts that wind up viral on Twitter, Facebook, TMZ and major media (depending on how famous you are at the moment).
Think about the real equity of your personal brand and how you’re spending it. Think about the patience of those around you, for the problems you might be bringing to them. Lamar Odom is yet another cautionary tale. From a source quoted by People magazine:
“‘There’s an old saying in the NBA: Are you more valuable than your problems? And it’s just reached the point with Lamar where he is not more valuable than his problems,’ the insider said. ‘Up until about two years ago, Lamar Odom was averaging about 15 points and eight rebounds a game and you know what? You deal with his off-court problems for that. When Lamar Odom averages four points a game, he’s not worth the problems.’”
Talent is no excuse. Neither is the lack of it.
Personal brands: get dressed, get organized, get your work done, get it right, say it right, and work on being great! Bring back famous as a positive meme.