Lisa Merriam

Michael Vick’s Potential as a Personal Brand: Lessons from Martha Stewart and Tiger Woods

With Michael Vick stepping back into the role of spokesperson, an old blog post “When a Brand Is a Person” is newly relevant.  That post was written while Martha Stewart was rebuilding her personal brand. Now, years later, we can look back and consider what drove her successful comeback. We can also look at the subsequent implosion of the Tiger Woods brand last year. Both brands can tell us about the ultimate success of the Michael Vick brand.


The Martha Stewart Personal Brand Comeback

Martha is back, bigger than ever before. Deals with Macy’s, Pet Smart, Home Depot, Michael’s, and a potential cosmetics line,  make the Martha Stewart merchandise business highly profitable. The Martha Stewart brand brings in $7.3 million in operating profit, more than making up for the company’s $800,000 publishing deficit. The Martha Stewart brand benefits from the fact that Martha’s securities fraud was not the least bit relevant to her cooking, crafts, and homemaking brand. The design and presentation savvy behind her success never flagged.

The Tiger Woods Brand Is Still in the Rough

While the Tiger Woods scandal is still fresh, the outlook for a brand comeback is not positive. Unlike Martha Stewart’s brand, the damage to Tiger Woods is fundamental to his brand positioning. Tiger Woods once stood for integrity. No more. Dishonesty to his wife and many girlfriends was one thing. His self-centeredness and lack of self-control did more damage. Finally, his cynical attempts at damage control finished off the Tiger Woods brand. Some estimate Tiger lost $40 million in sponsorship income. Much of that income is probably lost for good. And Tiger isn’t helping himself much by losing tournaments and losing his temper.

Prospects for the Michael Vick Brand

Michael Vick has an excellent shot at restoring his value as a brand. His prospects are mor