Brand Bombers Beware
The world of celebrity is definitely not all it’s cracked up to be.
Don’t get me wrong: the fortune side of it would be pretty welcome. I’m just not sure I’d want to entertain the fame side of it.
The problem is, following a celebrity ‘brand’ is about as much of an emotive user experience as there is. Followers get to see it all: the highs, the lows and the relationship woes.
Sure, people adore you. Even worship you in some cases.
You make them smile and laugh and they can’t wait to welcome you into their lives.
They love to read about you in the papers and celebrate your triumphs with you.
Unfortunately, people quite often relish in your downfall too.
Worse still, you often have no choice but to make all your faux pas in public, because nothing you do is sacred when you have an army or fans watching your every move.
Airing your dirty laundry in public
I am not sure whether or not celebrities have more demons than your average Joe. A lot of it is probably just down to the public nature of the lives of famous people.
A non-celebrity doesn’t become press fodder if they fall prey to alcohol or drug dependency. A famous person doesn’t really get a say in the matter.
Plus, affluence offers greater access to a lot of addictive substances and there is, doubtlessly, a connection between accessibility and addiction.
Some people would say that addicts have a choice.
But there is talk that there is a very dark side to the excess that accompanies fame and fortune.
Some believe that those who are attracted to thrilling jobs – in films, TV, music, race car driving etc – are more predisposed to addiction.
It’s apparently an issue of genetics: thrill-seekers are biologically more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol.
Relapse, recovery, repeat
Celebrities also are more likely to relapse. They often feel invincible and, because they have very little humility, they tend to expect special treatment – and forgiveness – and are less likely to take responsibility for their actions.
Throw in the ready availability of the substances the rich and famous abuse and the stress of media scrutiny… Well, it really is no wonder they fall off the wagon time and again.
A doctor or airline pilot would likely lose their license.
Robert Downey Jr was offered new acting rolls almost immediately when released from prison after serving two years on drugs charges.
The latest celebrity to face public scrutiny for his addiction is Ant McPartlin. He is half of the longstanding tv presenting duo Ant and Dec.
Apparently, Ant first hit the slippery slope when a knee injury left him, in his own words, ‘necking tramadol to the point of psychosis.’
His 2-month stint in rehab for his addiction to prescription painkillers – which he would wash down with alcohol – was clearly just the beginning…
Earlier this month, he was arrested following a drink driving incident. He has taken time out of his schedule to return to rehab.
Brand bubble burst?
It remains to be seen whether Ant will come out of the other end of this. He has always appeared to and present a family-friendly, squeaky clean image.
He doesn’t have the grit of the likes of Downey, so there is a chance that he will fall out of favour with the public.
The problem is, it’s possibly not just his career that he will be taking down if it does all go pear-shaped.
Partner Declan Donnelly is likely to suffer too. The two of them have always been a double act. Will the user experience be the same for the public if Dec becomes a one-man band?
They have always been a well-respected brand and a great draw for ITV. The public love them.
But if a supposedly whiter than white presenter – whose face has been on our screen since his childhood (does anyone else remember Byker Grove?!) – can go off the rails, how does that impact on the public?
What does it mean for all those impressionable children that watch Saturday Night Takeaway?
Customer satisfaction is of paramount importance to TV stations. And I am not sure consumer feedback would sing ITV’s praises if they allowed an addict to entertain the nation’s families on the weekend.
The same goes for any brand and there is a lesson in this for any business. You don’t even have to be in the public eye or media based to get bitten.
You are only as good as your people. Particularly those who are the public face of your business, such as your sales reps, customer service professionals and ‘front of house’ employees.
Do you really think you’d get away scot-free if your leading sales rep was spotted by a customer whilst causing havoc on a Saturday drink-fuelled rampage? I don’t.
There would definitely be a black mark against your reputation on your copy book.
Similarly, an employee who connected to customers on social media can cause problems by speaking out of turn or uncouthly on a social media platform. Even if it isn’t business related.
For your customers to have faith in your brand, you need to have faith in and believe in your people. They are your brand ambassadors.
Your business’ consumer satisfaction levels and, in turn, customer loyalty, depends on public perception.
To see your business from the perspective of your consumers, talk to us here at The Monachie Project about user experience monitoring and research.