Wednesday, January 10, 2007

How believing in a brand can keep the paparazzi from your doorstep.

This is a story about Miss U.S.A., Rosie and Donald Trump. Stay with me here, there is a brand lesson.

Recently Miss U.S.A. made a few bad choices in the New York City bar scene. So much so, that it came to the attention of Donald Trump. The Donald, being a part owner in the Miss U.S.A. pageant, had to make a judgment call, which he did. He reviewed the allegations, interviewed the reigning Miss U.S.A. and decided she deserved a second chance. Great.

Rosie, star of…well…I’m not sure, pops off with this salvo: “Who is Donald Trump to be the moral compass of this young girl?”

The Donald reacts instinctively and goes on the attack. A nasty war is played out in the media.

Seems to me, if the Donald truly understood that he owned The Miss U.S.A. brand and what the brand means to so many, his instinctive reaction would have been different. Perhaps something like this:

“….I am the guardian of a time honored institution—Miss U.S.A. Out of respect for all those who have competed in the past and will compete in the future, it’s important to hold all Miss U.S.A.’s to a high standard. That’s why I reviewed this case with particular interest and have determined that she deserves a second chance.”

If the Donald truly understood that this was a brand with deep roots-- not a dormant, non-dimensional asset to be bought and sold, he may have given an answer that put Rosie in her place and elevated the brand.

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