Media Make-over #1 Malcolm Gladwell: Tipped: Bad Hair, Bad Branding
When I see Malcolm Gladwell all I can think about is his bad hair. I know he's come up with thought provoking concepts. But all those go out the window in a haze of hair.
Several clients have written or called me mystified. "The books 'Blink' and 'The Tipping Point' were so fascinating, but then I heard Gladwell speak...."
Oops. Incongruity. Gladwell's ideas and stories are solid to a point, but his oral delivery is about as interesting as watching a leaf grow.
The errant hair and dull stories he tells don't match the cutting edge nature of the information Gladwell uncovers for his books. When you add up these inconsistencies they equal bad branding.
If I were to media coach Malcolm Gladwell to develop a consistent brand I'd focus on three things.
1. Tighten the Stories.
Most of us have finished your book so we don't want you to rehash the stories we've just read. If you have to tell us those stories, give us the haiku version please. I know you've got more stories in you and I'd like to hear them--if you deliver them with a tone that hints at your enthusiasm. Trim off all those inessential details and get to the meat of the matter--in 30 seconds or less. Imagine that your New Yorker editor is a little angel sitting on your shoulder during your media appearances. He would never let you get away with writing the way you speak. Edit, edit, edit.
2. Give Us the Insider's View.
Tell us about your process. Take us behind the scenes. How did you get your stories? Who were the runners up? The ones who didn't make it in your book, but were the "almosts." Give us a taste of your life. We want to know.
3. Lose the Hair.
All of it. Shave it all off. You have lovely eyes. Show them off. A little goatee might be nice to give some angularity to your face. You might think the long hair is rad, but it doesn't suit you. Face it, you're a good boy. It's not for you. Let your brilliance shine through those eyes. And perk up a bit, would you?
Post your requests for the next media make-over. What expert, author, celebrity or star should I attend to and why?