Michael Jackson's Broken Brand
Topic Introduction to Marketing
Key Words Brand, image, public relations
InfoTrac Reference CJ133230289
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News Story 

Twelve jurors in a California courtroom may have exonerated Michael Jackson, but the pop star now faces the enormously difficult task of restoring his image in the eyes of the public. The legendary singer hasn't produced a hit song in years and, despite the not-guilty verdicts on 10 felony counts, including charges of child molestation, many observers believe Jackson's image is damaged permanently.

Since the release of Thriller in 1982, Jackson has made a career out of pushing the boundaries of behavior and style. The recent three-month courtroom drama cemented the pop icon's eccentric image and split audiences into camps of defenders and detractors. And while Jackson's rapport with the public is bad, his financials are even worse. A forensic accountant at the trial testified that Jackson is spending as much as $30 million more per year than he earns.

Yet some PR consultants believe Jackson can take steps to improve his public image and escape his deep financial woes. The pop star isn't the first person to create a public relations nightmare: Many politicians, celebrities, and religious figures have fallen from grace and worked their way back into favor with the public. So a professional comeback is possible, even if a turnaround won't come easy. As image-management experts point out, the King of Pop can't simply moonwalk his way back to success. The rehabilitation of the Jackson brand will require real behavioral change that includes the building blocks of truthfulness, accountability, transparency, and consistency.

Questions
1.

According to the article, what must Michael Jackson do to rehabilitate his tarnished reputation and image? Do you think a turnaround is possible for the disgraced pop star? Why or why not?

Source Daniel B. Wood, "The trial's over, but the image work remains; Despite acquittal, legal cases such as Michael Jackson's can leave lingering damage in public opinion," The Christian Science Monitor, June 15, 2005 p02.
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