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Wendi Deng Murdoch as a Personal Brand

Wendi Deng Murdoch as a Personal Brand

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Published by Jessica Yang
This paper will analyze Deng’s personal brand by outlining her key brand characteristics, certain events that have shaped the public’s perception of her, and how she has strategically employed the affiliation, and leveraged other brands to actively elevate and promote her own brand.

This paper will also argue that a brand can be augmented by certain events/experiences that we have with the subject, or consume from secondary sources.
This paper will analyze Deng’s personal brand by outlining her key brand characteristics, certain events that have shaped the public’s perception of her, and how she has strategically employed the affiliation, and leveraged other brands to actively elevate and promote her own brand.

This paper will also argue that a brand can be augmented by certain events/experiences that we have with the subject, or consume from secondary sources.

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Published by: Jessica Yang on Sep 11, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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 1
‘Gold-Digger’
was the positioning previously recalled when Wendi Deng was ever mentioned, but since punching the ‘pie-man’ defending her 81-year-old husband infront of the world, she has repositioned herself with a new value proposition
‘Tiger-Wife’
.This paper will analyze Deng’s personal brand by outlining her key brandcharacteristics, certain events that have shaped the public’s perception of her, andhow she has strategically employed the affiliation, and leveraged other brands toactively elevate and promote her own brand. This paper will also argue that a brandcan be augmented by certain events/experiences that we have with the subject, or consume from secondary sources.Veyret (2012) articulated that a brand is quite simply a collection of perceptions held by a consumer, affiliated with a particular subject. He also goes on to describe ‘BrandPositioning’ as the heart of the brand’s relationship with the consumer; a clear senseof it’s own identity, which is desired by the consumer.In the Fast Company article ‘The Brand Called You’, Peters (1997) looks at thefeature-benefit-model, and how to differentiate your personal brand accordingly.In Deng’s case, her Unique Selling Proposition is being “one of the most successfulChinese women in the Western world!” which is inspiring as she is smart, strong, and beautiful.Originally Deng Wen Ge (Chinese translation: Cultural Revolution) westernized her name to Wendi in 1987 to differentiate herself from the rest of the Chinese girls. Thatyear, Deng also met Jake and Joyce Cherry, a couple from Los Angeles, who were posted to the region to start a refrigerator factory. Which leads into our first major ‘Deng’ event, and creates our perception of her strategic calculating and manipulativeways; she practiced her English with Joyce, and persuaded Jake to not only sponsor her US student visa, but also allow her to live with his family in the US. Deng,(19yo) was having an affair with Jake Cherry (50yo) and consequently the Cherry’sdivorced, and Deng married Jake. But, that didn’t last for long as she had an affair with a man closer to her age, David Wolf after securing a green card.
 
 2Education has always been important in shaping perception; Deng attended CaliforniaState University, graduating in the top 1% of students in a Bachelor of Economics,and then followed on with a Masters of Business Administration from Yale School of Management, graduating in 1996. Here, Deng leverages two major brands (CaliforniaState, and especially Yale), and excels in constructing perceptions of her being ahighly intelligent and valuable brand.Bruce Campbell, who oversaw Finance, and Corporate Development at the Fox TV branch in Los Angeles met Deng, and offered her an internship at News Corp’ssubsidiary Star TV in Hong Kong. This grew into a full-time junior executive position. Although only a junior employee, Deng was hardworking, and helped shapeStar TVs operations in Hong Kong and China; showing that she was a tenacious businesswoman.In 1997, she met Rupert Murdoch at a company party in Hong Kong, and in themoment that defined her personal brand to date, they married in 1999. This singleevent cemented her brand affiliation with the Murdoch Empire, one of the most powerful and influential brands in the world.The next event that shaped our perception; Deng was put in charge of MySpaceChina, as Rupert justified
‘I have sent my wife across there because she understandsthe language.’ 
(Woopidoo, 2011). She oversaw the strategic direction of operationsin Hong Kong and China, which value totaled $45 million. This was a colossalopportunity to show the world that she was not just a pretty-faced gold-digger.However, the market entry failed, and Deng was the scapegoat for the disappointingventure. Illustrating how brand affiliations have an associated risk, and this particular touch point between Myspace.com, and Deng ended up being a negative one.As a result of the Myspace.com failure, the Murdoch’s went into strategic brandreputation management, and Deng dropped out of the spotlight. Instead,concentrating on family life, Wendi Deng Murdoch had their first child in 2001,Grace Helen, and their second daughter Chloe in 2003 (two potential heiresses of Murdoch’s $70-billion media empire) (Ellis, 2007), and bases their family out of 
 
 3Manhattan, New York City. This however, strengthened our perception of Dengcraving financial security, and made us question her values, and ethics by having twochildren to someone she may or may not actually love.Her movements, and profile have since been relatively low. Rupert prefers it thatway, and there have been rumours of him pulling editorial pieces of Deng from goingto print at the Fortune magazine, and any media he owns. This strategy has beenrelatively effective until News International was thrown into the spotlight in 2011 dueto the phone hacking scandals.During the public testimony before a British parliamentary committee in London,Wendi counter-attacked comedian Jonathan May-Bowles who threw a cream-pie ather husband Rupert Murdoch with a right hook.This particular event single-handedly augmented public perception, which now seesher as a ‘Tiger-Wife’, and has uncovered her reputation as a “behind-the-scenestrouser-wearer par excellence, both personally and professionally” (Frankel, 2011) juxtaposing our previous conception of the ruthless and opportunistic ‘gold-digger’.
“Wendi gently discouraged Mr. Murdoch from banging the desk in front of him – image controldoesn’t come much more finely tuned than this – smiled at him, and rubbed his back when thegoing got tough. It looked like genuine affection – and it probably was... Every detail of her  behaviour and physical appearance was immaculately well mannered – note the ChanelParticulière nail polish, a well-chosen and suitably understated touch, when... She might bemore suited to Vamp.” (Frankel, 2011).
“Facebook fan-pages popped up, twitter went abuzz with praise for Deng and themedia headlines trumpeted...” (Brett, 2011). Social media is a good medium thesedays to gage how your brand is performing within the public arena. She went from arelatively negative sidekick to positive protector in time of need. She showedhonorable and loyal impulsive defenses for the people she cares for. The public hadto question their previous perceptions, and some came out actually praising her fromthis single experience with the Deng brand.

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