Supermodel Kate Moss is in hot water after being escorted off of a plane in Europe last weekend for "disruptive behavior." While this is a short-term hit to her reputation, it could be a winner in the long run if she plays her cards right. A personal brand is a fragile thing and it can turn on a dime, but the good news is that it can turn in any direction. And while we might not have the public platform that Moss has, we still can learn a lot from her blunder and potential recovery. Here are four-and-a-half ways Moss can save her personal brand:
1. Get ahead of the story. Like passing gas on an elevator, the worst thing Moss can do is let it linger. She should take every interview opportunity, and take them as soon as possible. Believe it or not, we can use a similar strategy at work. If we mess up (which I know you don't, but let's say you did), at the next team huddle or meeting with the boss, address your blunder before being asked about it.
2. Be honest. The worst thing Moss can do now is hide behind the phrase, "It was a misunderstanding." While it very well might be true, that non-answer reeks like the elevator mentioned in point No. 1. The world has changed and transparency is respected now more than ever.
3. Make fun of yourself. Some of the world's best screw-ups are great at this. The recent roast of Justin Bieber comes to mind. He took hard punches from some feisty comics, and when it was his turn on the mic, he roasted himself as well. This self-deprecation had even the harshest of Bieber-haters thinking for a brief moment, "You know, that Bieber is an alright guy." When we screw up at work, we can use the same tactic. Making fun of yourself with a little humor can diffuse a lot of tension.
4. Be "one of us." While I wouldn't categorize Moss' beauty as a major life handicap, in this situation, being a supermodel does hurt her. Being a few pounds overweight myself, I smirk at the thought of a perfect supermodel's not-so-perfect side! But this is an opportunity for Moss to be a regular Jane. We might also smirk when our boss messes something up. The lesson: Don't run from your mistakes. We all make them and your personal brand can be helped by being a bit more human.
And finally four-and-a-half: Find your inner-Alec Baldwin -- the master of brand recovery. Be it a run-in with the paparazzi, a scathing voicemail for his own daughter, or getting kicked off a plane himself, he always wins in the end with brand management. How? He'll go on "Saturday Night Live" to get ahead of the story (#1) in an honest way (#2), and when he makes fun of himself (#3), it feels like he's "one of us" (#4). And usually in a 72-hour news cycle, his personal brand mastery takes us from thinking, "Alec Baldwin is an idiot," to laughing along with him while saying, "Alec Baldwin is a genius!"
Jack Stahlmann is a corporate speaker and writer. Find more of his writings at www.dontflinchguy/blog