...goes a long way, especially when I'm thinking about brands, brand management and the power of brands to build successful organizations and careers.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Teddy Roosevelt was a poseur?

In another post, I mentioned the book Denison, Iowa. In the pages of that story about secrets was another that gave me reason to pause. Author Dale Maharidge, in a passage describing Teddy Roosevelt, writes: "Roosevelt owned a ranch in North Dakota and by many accounts was a poseur: he wore ornate cowboy costumes and buckskins that no real rancher would ever by caught in.” Later, he tells the reader that Roosevelt designed his own uniform…the one he wore while riding up San Juan Hill!

I was (sort of) crushed. That was such a great story…Teddy and the Roughriders, all that leather fringe in those old photographs. And it was fake. I’ll never be able to hear the name “Teddy Roosevelt” again without questioning whatever comes after it.

His brand will forever suffer in my eyes because it’s not truthful. How sad.

That's a huge problem for all brands. One of the key attributes for a successful brand is its truthfulness. How many organizations are fooling themselves about their brand.

  • How many employees think they are about "quality," but take short cuts all the time in the name of saving money or speeding production or making the boss happy?
  • How many owners think they are about "customer service" yet have store hours that are convenient for them, not their customer?
  • How many organizations think they are about integrity yet are known by their suppliers for unethical dealings?

How many brands are poseurs? Is your brand one of them?


Blogger Olivier Blanchard said...

BAM! It's scary how many business wannabe-leaders are like this. (I've even worked for a few.)

Denial and delusions of grandeur are the two most common traits of poor "leaders".

*sigh* Business schools need to start addressing this.

11:47 PM

Anonymous bburnett said...

I agree that truthfulness is critical for a brand, but if you take the idea of a person being their own personal brand it seems to give quite a bit of latitude regarding what is really true.

It's not like Teddy wasn't truthfully representing "the cowboys company".

If "different" and "yours" are also important parts of branding and if that is what Teddy set out to be, than it seems he was truthful.

I have "The River of Doubt - Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey" on my to-read list. He seems to have been daring guy in various arenas.

5:19 PM

Blogger Mark true said...


You've made a good point...Ol' Teddy might have remade himself from an easterner into a westerner. The goofy uniform was not the best manifestation of that brand...certainly not as good as the actions he took to preserve much of the natural heritage of this county. THAT was definately truthful about who he had become.

10:30 PM


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home