For a guy like Stern, it wasn't enough to be an enterprising reporter (or, well, an ethical reporter). A reporter just grubs around for facts, but a reportorial "brand" -- an instantly recognizable man-about-town dandy who wears a "trademark" fedora, as Stern does -- well, a brand can do business with a billionaire! A brand can be a "media consultant" (Stern's other dubious claim to Burkle's money). A brand can have a clothing line! The key thing is just to be a brand -- a brand that people are buzzing about!
Of course, brand stewards tend to become convinced of their own invincibility, until one day when they wake up and find that what once was, say, The World's Most Powerful Gossip Brand is now The World's Most Unintentionally Hilarious Gossip Brand. (It's now impossible to read nice "Page Six" items without snickering and wondering: How much did that cost?)
on the one hand I want to say "owch!" but on the other, I have to agree with Dumenco. Everybody's out to make themselves into a brand. Quite frankly, I ditched the domme-esque photo of me in the police hat *because* someone said the hat was a way of "branding" myself. argh! Being tethered to a really uncomfortable policeman's hat was NOT what I had in mind when I set out to build a reputation...but apparently nowadays the idea of reputation is tied into the idea of brand.
Seems kinda strange to me...then again, consider Stern...
Next I'll have to have a tm symbol after my name. Sheesh! It's a lot of madness, and I'd like to say "stop the madness!" but Susan Powter beat me to that one years ago. . .