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What Private Patient Advocates Can Learn from Paula Deen*
Hey y’all! If someone had asked you on the June 20, 2013 to describe Paula Deen, you might have described her as a bubbly, vivacious, popular Food Network star, author, well-merchandised cook or chef. Whether or not you liked her, and no matter what you thought of her approach to food, you at least had to admire her empire and popularity. Over the next week, her empire collapsed, seemingly because she fessed up to using the N-word during a lawsuit deposition.* The bigger they are, the harder they fall. It makes no difference whether or not Deen’s fall was fair or right. It happened. It remains to be seen whether she can recapture what she had. We can think of other well-known people who have “fallen” too. Tiger Woods, OJ Simpson, even Martha Stewart and Bill Clinton. With varying success they have come back to their original popularity, although for the rest of their lives, their names will always be accompanied by an asterisk. Do you see any patterns? Except that they were all “big” – until they weren’t – it seems their only similarity is that each made a misstep, even though their missteps were entirely different. But let’s look at the bigger picture here, because it’s through the bigger picture that you’ll see why this point is important to you and your patient advocacy practice. In all cases, the person they were the day before their demise, vs the day after, is exactly the same. Paula Deen is not a different person today, but she’s not as popular as she was. That’s true with every other name in this post. The difference is that they have all tarnished their brands. Paula Deen didn’t change because she used the N-word. Her brand did. OJ Simpson was the same person the day before his wife died as he was the day after. But his brand was destroyed. Tiger Woods, nor Martha Stewart changed – but both their brands did. Each of us has a brand. I’m not talking about an icon you burn into the backside of a steer. I’m…