Choose your icons carefully

Two media items caught my eye and made me reflect upon the person as brand model (as opposed to the brand as person model). Some attributes, physical or acquired, become iconic. The physical ones we are usually stuck with the acquired ones are items of choice… or more likely we become prisoners of the associations, such as Churchill’s cigar, Castro’s beard, Maggie Tatcher’s handbag or Hank Marvin’s glasses. Unlike the rest of us, Castro can never look in the mirror and think, “Beards are a bit dated, think I’ll shave it off”.

The two media items were poles apart – the first was watching a clip of Ted Kennedy’s birthday bash and noting he still has the same iconic flowing hairstyle from the 1960’s, albeit a patrician silver now. The other was seeing Francis Rossi of Status Quo cut off the pony tail he has had from the same era. He reluctantly admitted to no longer having enough hair to make a decent pony tail.  I think his brand is probably well enough established to deal with this, but it may be a salutary notice to be sensitive of what brand assets you become associated with – whether you are a potential celebrity or a company.

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