Arruda: What Ryan Lochte Can Teach Us About Personal Branding.


Has Ryan Lochte owned his mistakes?


“On August 14, 2016, Lochte and fellow Olympian Jimmy Feigen claimed that they and their fellow U.S. swimmers Gunnar Bentz and Jack Conger were robbed at gunpoint… we later learned … that Lochte’s story was fabricated (or, as he claims, “over-exaggerated”).”

We all make mistakes.  Whether or not we own those mistakes can make the difference between recovering or tanking our personal brand.

Read William Arruda’s “What Ryan Lochte Can Teach Us about Personal Branding. “

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8 thoughts on “Arruda: What Ryan Lochte Can Teach Us About Personal Branding.

  1. I think this article is very important for us and our own personal branding. I think what happened to Ryan Lochte is similar to what happened to Tiger Woods a few years ago. In 2010, Tiger Woods was the best player in the world and was also considered the greatest of all times. Everybody liked him, he had millions of dollars coming in from sponsorships and it seemed that he was going to pass Nicklaus’ record of majors. However, his affair cost him millions of dollars in sponsorship, his marriage and maybe even his career since after that he was never able to win another major.

    I think that even though we are not famous as these examples, our personal brand could also affect us considerably. Our inner circle, our professional brand and reputation could be detrimental if we did not follow moral/ethical standards. I believe that abiding by these rules becomes more important as we grow and have more responsibility.

    This site shows how Tiger lost everything after his affair was revealed.

  2. There are two major points being made in this article. The first is the affect on personal brand based on a bad decision. Lochte was a well known American athlete compared often to Michael Phelps and a poster boy for multiple brands. Yet, with this bad publicity (lying about an interaction with security guards over drunken vandalism), Lochte is now associated with bad behavior and a poor representation of a top Olympic athlete.

    The next part that’s important is what you do to fix the brand. Lochte’s handling of it made him look insincere and not serious; rather, Robert Downey Jr., an actor with a rough past, has worked over time to fix his brand image and is well respected. If a personal brand is damaged, fixing it to keep ones self in the best light is of the utmost importance.

    Having brand tarnishing things happen, but it’s the way that an individual moves forward with their immediate response and following actions that will set the tone of their brand can be recovered or if it’s permanently ruined.

  3. As a Marketing major, I took Lochte case purely as a bad celebrity endorsement example and I paid more attention to companies that dropped their sponsorship. Now that the article has pointed it out, I think I need to have a closer look.
    In my opinion, Ryan Lochte would not recover his personal brand any time soon. As noted in the article, he failed all the tips provided, and that would just hurt him than what he did to himself. A recovery like Robert Downey Jr.’s is hard to achieve. Robert has his superhero role that he was born to, and people lost their mind about it. That isn’t likely to happen to Lochte, unless he manages to secure the only gold medal for the U.S. As long as Phelp is still out there, it is not going to happen.
    It takes time to see how his situation turn out, yet I believe it would not be a great outcome. After all, his case can teach us something.

  4. When I first hear this story about Ryan Lochte and the other USA swimmers involved in this incident, I felt bad for them. I felt sympathy for what I thought were athletes competing for their country and got themselves in a terrible situation. I was even more shocked when reports came out that Lochte’s story was fabricated, and that what happened was “over exaggerated,” my feelings changed towards Ryan Lochte.

    Before, I saw Ryan Lochte as an olympic hero, outstanding swimmer, and a celebrity. The article even points out how he made cameos on Saturday Night Live and was one of the faces of Ralph Lauren. Now, the first thing I think about when Ryan Lochte’s name comes up is “liar”.

    While this was a terrible mistake by Lochte, I believe that it can be a teaching point for many Americans to see someone who was on top of the world all of the sudden hit a low point like Lochte did. Lochte made a public apology to try and get past this situation, and I think he put this incident in the rearview mirror.

    Going forward, people need to take some time and think about how they want others to think about them. Thinking about my personal brand is important at this stage of my life as I am going through the recruiting process. That is why I try to lay low on social media and try to build my personal brand around personal experiences and talking with people face to face rather than through a Facebook page or Snapchat story.

    Like I said earlier, Ryan Lochte’s situation can serve as a teaching point for many Americans today and if we think about how we want people to view us, we can crete a personal brand that we are content with and we can be happy with ourselves each and every day.

  5. At the time, Ryan Lochte’s story was major news and overshadowed the ending of the Olympic Games. Obviously, Lochte made a poor decision that affected him in more ways than he could’ve imagined at the time.

    One of the most important characteristics anyone can have is integrity. When you lie, especially publicly, it causes people to question your integrity. Once integrity is lost, it is a hard thing to gain back. By making a poor decision, Lochte severely damaged his brand. He lost many endorsements, as his sponsors began to look at him as “damaged goods”. When someone makes a poor decision, a company cannot associate themselves with that person, as their decision reflects back on the company.

  6. I believe Ryan Lochte’s story can be a great teaching point for those trying to build their personal brand. Being truthful is probably the most important aspect of building a strong personal brand. When the news broke that Lochte had fabricated his story, his integrity was immediately blemished forever.

    The thing about today’s society is that there is very little room for error. Many people try to project an image that is not an accurate representation of themselves. With so much technology, it is nearly impossible to build a brand based off of falsehoods. Eventually, the truth will come out and the correct image will be portrayed. Being truthful from the beginning is crucial because any slip-up that is later identified completely erases any sense of integrity.

  7. I remember watching the Olympics and thinking about how stupid Ryan Lochte was and how he completely sabotaged himself, as well as disgraced the US Olympic team. Although I did feel sorry for him, because we all know people in our personal lives who like to make exaggerated lies and get away with it. Since they are not famous, they do not have a lot to lose, and the pressure of being a celebrity means that ordinary mistakes or habits can do much more damage. As an athlete and a celebrity, he should have known better, and so should have his PR team. There are millions of young swimmers who look up to him, and to present himself in such an immature and unprofessional manner.

    Even if he displays stellar athleticism, society values a man of god character above all else. If her were to win the US 16 more gold medals, I’m sure stories of the type of person he is would still be relevant, and media will not let him live this down.

    His competitor, Michael Phelps, almost had his career ruined when a picture of him smoking weed was discovered. I believe that he saved his image by becoming a significant philanthropist and an amazing father, all which helped cushion the blow of that picture. However, for a brief moment, the legend Michael Phelps also had his character called into question.

    More on that situation here:

  8. Ryan Lochte is a perfect example of how a great personal brand can be quickly tarnished. In his case, the whole world was there to see it due to the peak timing and popularity of the Rio Olympics.

    A great point from this article is that personal brands are rooted in authenticity. They’re the summation of each interaction you have with a person, and when someone isn’t genuine, it hurts their brand value. In Ryan Lochte’s case, he behaved completely inauthentically– fabricating a story and lacking to issue a formal press conference apology.

    In many cases, brands can be rebuilt. Unfortunately in Ryan Lochte’s situation, it’s unsure weather he will have the same publicity platform again to rebuild as he may not qualify for the Tokyo Olympics in 2020.

    One of the best noted personal brands would be Ellen Degeneres, who is noted for her compassion for others. That’s why her net worth exceeds $77 Million.

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