The Scoop @ MSCO

Celebrity Branding

Mark Stevens Weighs in on Redskins Controversy

In the latest news from CommPRO.biz, which provides the daily scoop for media and communications professionals, MSCO CEO Mark Stevens gives his opinion on the recent trademark ruling regarding the Washington Redskins team name.

In the article, Mark goes against the consensus by saying that Dan Snyder needs to go on the offensive and stop playing defense regarding the topic, citing the myriad of other quasi offensive team sports names. There’s a slippery slope that we don’t want to start down, or at least try to slow as goes the argument.

What do you think? Should the name change or should Snyder stick to his guns like Mark says? Read the article here and weigh in with your opinion in the comments.

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The Worst Man In America

Sometimes, the power of marketing is a curse. A plague. A near sin.

Why do I say that?

Can you say the words “Harry Reid?”

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Overdosed On Oprah

There is one perfect person in the world. At least that’s the way Ms. Oprah Winfrey sees it every time she looks in the mirror.

What she may not know is that zillions of us are so overdosed on her that the situation is becoming toxic. Perhaps fatal.

I know, I know, Ms. Oprah is a talented woman, a world-class entrepreneur. But she always positions herself as angelic, saintly, a kingmaker, an all knowing, and all encompassing model of perfection.
I wonder if she knows of Ludwig Mies van de Rohe, the iconic architect best known for the minimalist “less is more” style and philosophy. If Winfrey is familiar with Mies, she clearly does not ascribe to his world view. When it comes to Oprah, Ms. Perfect believes that more is clearly more. That our lives are surely incomplete unless we are constantly bombarded by her image, her message, her uber worldly magnificence.

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Mark discusses the Tiger Woods brand on FOX Business

All The King's Sycophants

The other day I listened to a journalist, of sorts, bragging that he played golf recently with the President of the United States.

Wonderful for the reporter’s ego. Terrible for journalism.

Of course, favored journalists have always enjoyed special access to US Presidents, but that doesn’t mean the problem is any less of a threat to media independence simply because it has always been a fact of political life.

But it’s not only political life that is at the heart of this issue. Powerful people, whether they hold forth in the White House or the boardroom, attract worshipers. And that is where the system, any system, breaks down.

Carl Icahn always liked to tell me that major corporate CEOs like to have lieutenants who are several levels down the IQ charts from themselves. And that after awhile, this leads to having a moron at the top.

An exaggeration? Of course, but

  • Why did GM allow the Japanese to “outcar” them for decades?
  • How did Citi’s board permit management to wreck the business with thousands of reckless investment decisions?
  • For what reason did Nixon’s palace guard accede to their boss’s call to create an Enemies List in the greatest democracy in the world?
  • How come congressional leaders of both parties proclaim bold-faced lies only to have their press secretaries stand in front of the cameras and swear it’s the truth?

It’s all due to the Cancer Of Power. Take someone, nearly anyone, and put them on a throne, and those who pass by will tell you they are a genius. How many men and women worship every word Prince Charles utters even though this man, this entire family, its centuries of power notwithstanding, has never accomplished a single thing.

Charles is famously mediocre. Or worse. But his entourage will tell you that this is a man of the ages.

Something happens when people rise to fame. An aura surrounds them, one that is so bright, so neon, so celestial, that it blinds otherwise intelligent people to the pablum of who they are and what they have to say.

Which is, not much of anything.

How many people within Jamie Diamond’s inner circle actually tell the CEO when he makes a dumb move? How many even believe he can or does EVER make a dumb move? There is no doubt that Diamond is a truly gifted businessman, one I met when my firm worked for Smith Barney.

But gifted people need gifted critics more than anyone else. It keeps them from floating away into a place that is so far removed from the reality that they need to keep them grounded.

The problem is, kings don’t want to be grounded. And sycophants are too dazzled to remove them, even for a moment, from the Sudan chair in which they are lifted above the crowds.

And in every single case, this worship is why once great companies fail and once extraordinary nations collapse into Banana Republics.

Mark Stevens

CEO

Images courtesy: 1

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