Your Image Means Business
By Kim LaFleur
When it comes to celebrities, the public is hungry for gossip, and the media makes sure to fill that demand. Juicy scandals may sell magazines and air-time, but they have the potential to derail careers and companies, making image management a key public relations tool to ensure an organization’s marketability and overall success. Examining how celebrities, like Angelina Jolie, shape their public image provides observers with examples, both good and bad, of how public image directly relates to business success.
Jolie has made headlines in the past for some unconventional behavior – for instance, romantically kissing her brother on the red carpet or wearing a vial of blood around her neck from then-husband, Billy Bob Thornton. For years, Jolie was known as Hollywood’s bad girl, but she has since reshaped her public image and now, headlines about Jolie almost always are linked to her charitable efforts.
Jolie has always been media savvy, but recently her skill has come to the forefront. Jolie has transformed herself from Hollywood’s bad girl to the worldwide spokesperson for humanitarian aid. Jolie has consistently communicated a single message that has clearly come through all messaging mediums. She deeply cares for her family and is truly committed to helping those in impoverished areas. She has taken control of her image by constantly refocusing press coverage from her personal and professional life to the causes she holds dear.
Whether she’s choosing a specific location to shoot her latest movie, running away to Africa to await the birth of her baby, or even contemplating from what country to adopt her next child, Jolie has successfully manipulated the media to constantly portray herself as a caring and credible individual, committed to improving the lives of those in need. She has worked with the established media and created staged photo and programming opportunities to help deliver her message, while taking great care of her image to ensure her appeal. With Jolie, it seems that no matter what obstacle or scandal presents itself, if she is able to stick to her message, her public image won’t suffer any long-term effects – thereby successfully maintaining her high box office marketability.
This is an important lesson, because far too often, companies, like celebrities, try to shape their images in ways that aren’t congruent with their beliefs and values. They end up presenting images to the public that are lacking in sincerity and credibility – decisions that could ultimately do more harm than good. That’s why it is vital that organizations take the time to establish a credible message. That is key to building a positive public image and sustaining high marketability.
Establishing a message and evaluating appropriate media opportunities can go a long way toward creating a viable and life-long brand. Believing in and acting on that message will take you much farther.
author: Kim LaFleur
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