Say what you will about Martha Stewart, but she’s always on top of a trend.
In the 1980’s and 90’s Martha became famous for her cookbooks and lifestyle tips. She made hand-crafting everything in your home look so beautiful, effortless and fulfilling that it helped launch the DIY trend. And Martha was our guru.
Today, she’s rebranded her as beautiful and relevant even in her 70’s and 80’s. – naysaying he fear we all have of ageism, of being seen as a caricature – as irrelevant and frumpy.
The reality is that looking good is important. It’s the price of admission in many arenas and careers, and Martha knows that. And Martha swears that her sex appeal is all natural, the result of healthy living, and she’s challenging women to belive that each era can be beautiful if we have a healthy lifestyle.
I’ve always admired Martha’s ability to take control of her brand narrative. Even when she served five months in prison for a securities violation in 2004, she taught inmates how to crochet and do the downward dog yoga pose.
Remember the gray poncho that Martha wore when she was released from prison? A handmade gift from a fellow inmate, Martha’s prison poncho became the symbol of her release from jail.
The poncho carried a powerful message. In spite of doing time, the poncho communicated that she can make lemonade out of lemons, that she is stronger because of her experience, and that she had bonded with her fellow prisoners.
Wearing her swim suits today, Martha communicates that she’s still relevant, in control of her life and destiny, and she’s not handing her personal brand power over to anyone. The shock of her magazine cover turned into a runaway PR success for Martha and Sports Illustrated.