What Can We Learn About Personal Branding from Reece Witherspoon’s Arrest?


Hopefully, you know Reese Witherspoon.  She is a lovely, bubbly actress who has starred in numerous films, like “Legally Blonde”.  Her off-screen persona is that of a smart, strong and fairly virtuous woman.  She has clearly defined a good, clear Personal Brand.  Yet, this weekend her brand was damaged by her arrest, along with her husband.  He, for DUI and her for mouthing off to the arresting officer.  It had to be pretty bad to get cuffed and booked.

This is not the Personal Brand she wanted to portray.  Of course, the media is having a great time, as we love to kick people when they’re down.  Nothing better than a squeaky clean image tarnished by a mug shot and lots of fun at her expense.

Our Personal Brand is a delicate thing.  It takes deliberate, consistent messaging and behavior to build.  It also takes just one bad choice to significantly damage.  To restore the Personal Brand after such an incident can be difficult, but not impossible.  I think it’s important to look at this occurrence to see what we can learn and apply to our own situation.

Lesson #1  Your Personal Brand can change in a New York minute.  Never underestimate how just one thing can completely change the way people perceive you….and Personal Branding is all about other people’s perception of you.

Lesson #2  Your Personal Brand is always showing.  Deliberate choices or not, your behavior defines your Personal Brand.

Lesson #3  People talk about your Personal Brand.  We don’t like to think we are judgmental, but we are.  It’s how we survive; so judgment is taking place all the time. How people talk about you is your Personal Brand.

Lesson #4  Own your screw ups.  Reese immediately made a public apology and owned her bad choices.  We love humble people.  We love honest people who recognize what they did wrong.  This ownership goes a long way in restoration of your Personal Brand.  In fact, sometimes it can create even higher regard for your character.

Lesson #5  Managing your Personal Brand is important.  It would be great if we could all remain conscious of our brand 24×7, but that’s hard to do.  You can, however, pay attention to it regularly and try to build an awareness of your actions to ensure they are consistent with your brand.

Lesson #6  Consistency is important.  When you are consistent with your behavior, over time people will come to know your Personal Brand.  When it’s not, no one knows what to make of you.  Reese will now need to resume her previous behavior and be consistent for some period of time in order for people to forget what just happened.  AND, they can forget.  One incident doesn’t have to define you.

It will be interesting to watch what Reese will do over the time following what happened.  Based on what she has done so far, I’m guessing it will take no time at all for this to pass and for her to enjoy her previous public persona.  If she can do it, we all can.

For more career tips and advice – FREE newsletter and eworkbook: http://CareerMakeoverToolKitShouldIstayorShouldIGo.com/  From Dorothy Tannahill-Moran – Your Career Change Agent from www.nextchapternewlife.com and www.mbahighway.com

Dorothy Tannahill-Moran is a certified life and career coach. She works with aspiring professionals who are looking for career growth, advancement and entry into the “C” suite. As well, she works with people to overcome the sometimes daunting task of changing careers. With over 21 years in management, Dorothy has coached, trained and guided other professionals who have gone on to impressive and fulfilling careers. Her personal philosophy about careers is: “It’s not JUST a job; it’s half your life – so love your career”. You can check out her resources, blog and services at Next Chapter New Life and MBA Highway.

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