What Ryan Braun Can Teach Us About Personal Branding

What Ryan Braun Can Teach Us About Personal Branding

Ryan Braun Swings and Misses

photo credit: Steve Paluch via photopin cc

In case you missed it, Milwaukee Brewers baseball superstar Ryan Braun was suspended for the remainder of the 2013 MLB season for his involvement with a clinic that provided performance enhancing drugs to star athletes. The fact that he didn't appeal the suspension speaks volumes as to whether or not he cheated. And his apology sounded very contrived. In this post, I'm going to detail three things he's teaching us about personal branding.

Ryan Braun and Personal Branding

Your Word is Your Bond

Ryan Braun was very vocal in defending a failed drug test in 2011, going so far to question the integrity of the man responsible for collecting the sample. When he won his appeal, he felt vindicated and was happy to reiterate his innocence. We had to take him at his word that he wasn't illegally enhancing his performance. It's kind of like being innocent until proven guilty. Sure charges can be levied, but until they're proven, you have a right to innocence. Braun told everyone that he was innocent and we took him at his word.

Personally or professionally, if you make a promise or agree to something, you have to do your best to live up to what you've agreed to or promised.

Reputation is Everything

Because Braun is a superstar, people of all ages admired him. Because he was perceived to be innocent, he had a strong and valuable reputation. As many of us took him at his word and believed what he said, we assumed that his word was his bond. But now that he's been suspended, and he provided a meek apology, he has no credibility and his positive reputation is damaged beyond repair.

As a business or an individual it's important to protect your positive reputation. When you do things that are detrimental to your identity, you'll have to live with whatever consequences come as a result. If you have the ability to strengthen or improve your reputation, you need to do whatever it takes to do so. Once you've established a negative reputation, it is extremely difficult to overcome such perceptions.

You Are Your Identity

How do people identify you or what you stand for? Ryan Braun used to be a symbol of hard work, dedication, and humility. Now he's only going to be remembered for being a PED user, as someone who is dishonest, uncaring, and concerned only for his bottom line. How do you want to be identified and more importantly remembered?

Ryan Braun is set for life. He's already signed his longterm contract and will be making millions for years to come, so the hit to his identity may not matter to him. But for the rest of us, his suspension is serving as a valuable object lesson for those of us interested in personal branding. The takeaways are as follows: Fulfilling agreements is important. A stellar reputation is paramount. Your reputation and integrity help to define your identity.

Now what say you? Any other lessons this fiasco is teaching us?

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