Gaga Falls

My friends know I’m a Gaga fan. And so they forward me articles that they see about her. Last week there was a story about how she fell off her high shoes in an airport.  The week before stories about her behavior at our local baseball games were all over the news.

Gaga walks a very fine line. Outrageous but not crass. Wearing a Yankee’s jersey over black lace undies was outrageous. Flipping the bird to cameras at a game was crass. Her very high shoes are outrageous. But when she can’t balance on them, then she has pushed her own envelope too far.

Brands used to be made of more solid stuff. They could withstand an occasional gaffe because the media was not so ubiquitous. I recall my days in PR when clients were concerned that the entire world was reading some bad press about them. We would conduct market research and show them that only a very small proportion of the population was even aware of their bad news.

That was 15 years ago. Today those numbers would be much higher. The internet has changed everything. Everything that happens is everywhere. Instantaneously. And so there is no hiding from bad press. Brands today, especially human brands, must be much more careful of their image, of the impression they are trying to create, because everything is out there for the world to see.

Gaga is, of course, so theatrical that any bit of humanity…like falling or cussing…does harm to her image. In fact, I cannot think of another branded human besides Gaga who has so little humanity in her brand. We are all human. We all make mistakes. And while Gaga may forgive herself for her missteps, I’m afraid her fans, who are in love her brand image and not necessarily her, won’t.

Humanity and authenticity are the traits of the people I do business with. Be authentically, humanly you in your dealings with others.  If you make a mistake, your human brand can absorb it.

P.S.  For those of you who care about these things, a Facebook update:  Justin, my parrot, who is authentically bird, now has 403 Facebook friends. Way to go, Justin!!!!

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