I have to admit I've been slow to embrace Justin Bieber. Justin is the teenage pop-singing sensation who just released a new movie and made a much-anticipated appearance on this year's Grammys, where he was the odds-on favorite to win the "Best New Artist" award. I let my prejudices get in the way—not gonna lie. I figured what could this kid know? He's 15! How good could he possibly be?
Pretty good, it turns out. In watching him embrace his sudden fame, I've been very impressed. Not with his talent so much, though I do think he's got something there (check out his performance on Letterman; that boy can beat a drum!). Nope, I'm floored by his media savvy.
Justin is a media darling because he does the following things very well...
- Presentation: He seems to like and appreciate his fans and shows it. He is always friendly to them, generously spending his time signing autographs and posing for photos with them.
- Humility: Bieber doesn't seem taken with himself. He comes across as grounded and reality-based. He seems to recognize his position on the pedestal is tenuous and uncertain.
- Sense of humor: Especially about himself, which is the best kind! He doesn't seem to take any of it very seriously.
- Graciousness: Justin did not win the "Best New Artist" award. In an upset, that went to Esperanza Spalding. But Bieber handled his loss with grace and poise, expressing happiness for her and wishing her well. That was not so for many of his fans, who threw an online hissy fit. They should take a page from their icon and emulate him.
This type of behavior makes people like him—especially people who were too quick to write him off—like yours truly. It has played a big part in enabling him to maintain his superstar status and keep it growing.
And it exemplifies the type of public image that anyone in any business should strive for and master. It's not necessarily about the immense fame, of course (though that might be nice). It's about the manner in which one conducts oneself that draws people in. It is enticing. And if there are doubters, it offers the best chance for another look.
Justin's in control, which is pretty cool for such a young kid.
So, Justin, I'm sorry for being so dismissive. Because of your media mastery, I'm certainly going to be following your career more closely. I wish you well.
Ruth Sherman Associates LLC / High-Stakes Presentation Skills Coaching, Consulting & Media Training for CEOs, Celebrities & Politicians / Greenwich, CT. Connect with me on Twitter, Facebook, and Linkedin.