05 Feb 2009

Phelps has fallen? No surprise here…

So America’s golden boy, Michael Phelps, has fallen from the good graces of the public. I am not surprised. The man is 23 years old and for all his life has been living under the scrutiny of public life. Not to mention the scrutiny of an American athlete. No wonder he wants to blow off some steam. The problem: he got caught.

Although he has made a mistake and it cost him dearly, he is handling this with professionalism and surprising maturity. Either he is very smart or his publicist is on top of things. I am guessing the latter.  His personal brand has been tarnished. This is an enormous issue since the majority of his income is based on his brand. Sponsorship deals are making him a multi-millionaire. How should you handle a mistake? Exactly how Phelps handled it. He immediately admitted his mistake and apologized for it.
We should all follow this example, not only in our personal lives, but in our professional lives as well. When your product or service has failed someone’s expectations, admit that you did wrong. No one person/company/product/service is perfect and the ball will be dropped sooner or later. What matters is how you handle the situation when it does. Be honest. Ask for forgiveness. And make moves to ensure the issue doesn’t happen again. People are surprisingly forgiving when you address problems like that. They are less forgiving when they know you are lying or pointing fingers somewhere else.So, it comes down to this: Phelps’ lucrative sponsorship deals are in jeopardy. Rosetta Stone has not renewed his contract, but it had expired prior to the release of the picture. Omega and Speedo have stuck by him. A few other sponsors have dropped him, but that is going to happen.Phelps will be ok. America will forgive him and he will be pulling in more gold metals in 2012. Let’s just hope he doesn’t test positive for steroids. Then it would get serious. See: A-Rod



Adam is a graduate of Colorado State University (bachelor’s degree in marketing), and he has experience on both the client and agency side of the marketing world. These experiences led him to come up with a unique, more efficient business model, which he’s incorporated into Encite Marketing. Adam sets the strategic direction for all Encite projects, developing integrated marketing campaigns that bring results. He takes a consultative approach with clients, educating them about how the process works, and keeping them in the loop about end goals, steps, and tasks.


  1. I guess my initial reaction is that he didn’t really make any mistake at all. But then I guess after you get caught is not really the time to argue about the drug laws. So I guess it comes down to two types of mistakes. There are personal mistakes and professional mistakes.

    Personally, I don’t see this being a big issue. I mean, the guy just took a bong rip, and we aren’t even sure of that! Maybe he was just admiring it? But professionally, he did make a big mistake. As you say, his image is his brand. You don’t make a lot of money for winning races in a pool, and so if he ruins his image, he ruins his professional career, even if he can keep on swimming and winning races.

    But is he going to keep on swimming? He was recently quoted as saying he was going to take some time off and decide whether or not he was going to race in London. Now I think this sets up an interesting topic. If he races and doesn’t win, people will be saying it was because of all the drugs (because we know marijuana is a gateway drug!). If he races and wins… do people even talk about it? This is, by all accounts, one of the greatest athletes of all time! Maybe the marijuana is just so that the races are more competitive.

  2. Good job! …You did it!

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