Heard the hoopla over the Kate Holmes – Tom Cruise romance? It’s affecting their careers — specifically the movies they have out this month. You might think that translates into a boost, but think again. Cruise’s PR is backfiring, resulting in mocking from the press and the public. Even the studio execs want Cruise and Holmes to tone things down.

This might seem like a Hollywood celebrity story. But hang on — there’s a lesson for businesses. Never let your personalities get in the way of your product. Sure, good personalities can help elevate your product. They can help to put a human face on your company. That’s why Wal-Mart, Buckley’s and Tim Horton’s spend so much time on stories about people and their products. Still, when those characters become the company, people may forget about the product. That’s why Dell dumped the “Dude, you’re getting a Dell!” guy.

The key is to keep your market’s eyes on the prize. Good marketing keeps the focus on your products and services. Personalities — like any marketing tool — should only serve to support your overall strategy.

(c) 2005 by Andrea Coutu. Vancouver Marketing Consultant. All rights reserved.