With over 39 acts of fraud charges (accounting for over $5 million), Joe and Teresa joined the Real Housewives of NJ, where they continued to live luxuriously, even under continous spotlight. Despite these charges, fans felt sorry for the couple, especially near the end of this past season. By focusing on the importance of family, Joe and Teresa focused on family and directed the audience's attention away from their own wrongdoings, allowing them to 'save' their images even in such a critical situation. Although I remain unbiased and indifferent to the situation, the article (below) will show you how you can save your personal brand even in the most desperate situations by skewing the focus and changing the receivers' lens.
On the last episode of the season, Joe and Teresa threw a huge party for their entire extended family during which Joe made a speech dedicated to the importance of family and togetherness. Everyone toasted as he nodded his head from the stairs above, grabbing the attention of the crowd and allowing them to (quite literally) see him on the higher-level in which they had percieved him for so long.
After making sure that everyone was watching (including the cameras), Joe toasted about how his family was always there for him, 'no matter what', which allowed us to further attend to the strong family dynamic at play. Not only was Joe complimenting his family, but his compliments seemed...well, expected. After a big applause, he smiled and headed downstairs, were Gia greeted him, only to (moments later) cry on daddy's shoulder. The latter was a key ingredient as it and allowed us to see Joe as a caring father and further identify with Gia, change our perspective and sympathize with Joe (and his family).
Although what may have been a rather awkward father-daughter conversation manifested into a larger family ordeal that involved Joe's father and Gia. Seeing the perspective of these key family members (Joe's dad and daughter) caused the audience to further sympathize with not only Joe, but his family as well. When it comes to passion and love, family seems to be a pretty generic and relatable topic area that was a really easily key to play here, especially during a season in which we questioned Joe's loyalty to his wife and Terea's hatred towards her brother (and his wife).After a quick embrace that seems to somewhat dissolve quickly due to a lack of hugging in the past, the group splits, only to place words on the screen that dedicate the show to Joe's father*, who died a couple of weeks after the show.
During the After Show, Teresa redeemed her image by further discussing her relationship with her brother and her childhood. By shifting the focus to her childhood self, the audience was able to see her for who she was; rather than who she is. Teresa related her childhood to that of her children's today, stating that she always tells her children that she loves them (since her parents did not do so when she was a kid). She continues to explain how her parents were rough, Italian parents that kissed their children when they were sleeping, to show authority and conjure respect from the children. Stating that she had to be tough, otherwise her family would fall apart also shifts the focus from her prision sentence to her children who will be alone at home without a mother. By allowing the audience to participate in this emotional battle that she experiences on the show, Teresa is able to skew their focus from her wrongdoings to what was done wrong to her.
For those wondering how you can use this in your everyday and/or in less serious situations that you were unfortunately involved, remember that skewing the focus (even in everyday mistakes) can help you be identified in a slightly better light -- and the only way to do that today is through preparation. For example, an everyday example of saving your personal brand could be writing an email and spelling someone's name wrong. Instead of sending an email cancellation for these seemingly tedious (but very important!) details, keep a list of saved quick parts for when these situations happen.