Justin Bieber is good at making headlines – but too often, not because of a new hit single or some good deed he’s done in the community. He should be known as the 19-year-old pop sensation whose good looks and talented vocals have captivated a nation of young girls. But recent incidents have cast a dark shadow on the Biebs – with the latest one coming from Miami Beach, where he was arrested for allegedly drag racing while drunk.
It’s just the latest of a string of run-ins for Bieber. In 2010, he allegedly assaulted a 12-year-old at a laser tag arena. Then he faced all kinds of stories from reckless driving and loud parties in his upscale neighborhood to a scuffle with the paparazzi, mooning fans on Instagram, the “F— Bill Clinton” story, pot found on his tour bus and of course the most recent: Los Angeles police raiding his home to investigate an alleged egg-throwing incident that damaged a neighbor’s home.
Not only is all this negative publicity a threat to Bieber’s estimated $130 million empire. He also appears to be yet another young celebrity who’s letting the limelight go to his head and making him act as if he’s invincible.
The lyrics to Bieber’s own first big hit “Baby” said, “And I’m in pieces, baby fix me. And just shake me ’til you wake me from this bad dream. I’m going down, down, down, down.” Yes Justin, you are going down, down, down, but there’s hope for your image.
While Bieber is clearly another example of a train running off the tracks, like so many others before him he can recover. If he chooses, he can begin to erase the horrific press and rebound from this disturbing story in Miami – and all the other negative attention.
Sound unlikely? It’s not. This is a forgiving country. Bill Clinton was nearly booted from office after his extramarital affair yet left office less than three years later with high approval ratings, and his popularity has only risen since then.
But if Bieber wants to change his image, he needs to start now by following three strategies:
First and foremost, Bieber needs to take control of the story, before it does any more damage. No matter what his lawyers tell him, this isn’t the time for “no comment” and running from the press. As soon as he’s released, he needs to make a statement, ideally a press conference (although it will probably come via Twitter); take full responsibility for his actions; apologize for acting stupid, which needs to be directed to law enforcement officials in Miami as well as his fans; and promise to never do anything like this again. It doesn’t need to be a long and drawn-out mea culpa. But he needs to clearly acknowledge he screwed up and say he’s sorry and it won’t happen again.
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
It’s one thing to say you’ll change but a completely different story to actually do it. Bieber needs to take action to clean up his image. The most obvious step is to stop getting himself into these image-destroying situations. He needs to give back and prove that Justin Bieber is a good guy. Start an organization where a percentage of proceeds from his concerts and record sales are donated to organizations that fight drug and alcohol abuse. Start a foundation to mentor underprivileged children or kids who have dreams of being the next big pop star. Even do something good and don’t call the media to witness it: let some fan tweet that they saw him serving homeless people at the soup kitchen, and, when asked about it later, say he didn’t want to make a big deal of it… he just wanted to do some good while no one was watching. The more good he does, the quicker the bad will go away. He needs to stop acting like an immature teenager and start acting like the successful man he is.
Get Back to The Music
It’s time for Bieber to start putting the focus back on what he’s known for: music. Justin Bieber can sell out an arena in minutes, and people love him for his musical talent. He needs to continue touring the world. He needs to get back into the studio and give his fans more of the Justin Bieber music they love. Just as Tiger Woods rebounded from his extramarital affairs by putting the focus back on golf, Justin Bieber can recover if he puts the focus back on music.
The good news for Justin Bieber: he’s young, and his fans love him. The Miami Beach arrest isn’t good news, but it’s not going to destroy him or his brand. Countless other people have recovered from a crisis, and Bieber can too.