Ryan Lochte and The One Stupid Thing You Won’t Do

[Cache #248]

By Andris Pone – President, Coin Branding

Last night was the first this summer that I couldn’t sit in shorts on my balcony.  Because it was too cold.

In the heat of July and August, it is possible to fantasize it is impossible the cold will return.  Even during yesterday’s daytime, there was no hint of a chill in the air.

But in the end it was here today, gone tonight.  Makes me think of Ryan Lochte’s brand – which I avoided commenting on when his story broke, much to the surprise of some readers.  I didn’t think I could possibly add anything of value to a story that had no nuances or conflicting points of view.  Lochte did something unequivocally stupid, and his brand value sank like a stone.  The end.

But the suddenness of the night chill manifested the following angle. 

There are certain things, over which you have no control, which may cause the value of your brand to diminish.  Like the weather or the economy or Donald Trump getting elected, you can wear a sweater or hoard cash or build a bomb shelter, but you ultimately cannot control them.

ryan lochte jimmy fallon

Then, in contrast, are the things most definitely inside your ability to control.  Chief among these things are stupid things.  It’s like the so-called Obama Doctrine: “Don’t do stupid sh*t.”

It should be noted that even this seemingly obvious statement could be controversial.  Obama, angered by Hillary Clinton’s argument that “’Don’t do stupid sh*t’ is not an organizing principle,” was said to wonder “Who exactly is in the stupid sh*t caucus?  Who is pro-stupid sh*t?”

Ryan Lochte, apparently.

Fortunately, we don’t have to join him in the pool.  We simply have to contemplate our own weaknesses and draft a list of stupid things – things that would seriously damage our brands – we won’t do.

For simplicity, and because pride and time pressure compels me not to share my complete list of foibles with you, let’s just think of one.  Mine:  Be anything less than fully prepared for a meeting.  Have any of my potential and actual clients ever realized I was in this state?  Probably.  But I may never know, and neither may you.

What’s yours?

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