Each month I give my verdict on who has shown the world an interesting and distinctive brand. My latest Personal Brand of the Month goes to…
Sir Patrick Stewart
Sir Patrick Stewart is of course widely known for his iconic roles in television and movies, most notably Star Trek’s Jean-Luc Picard. There’s also his illustrious onstage career. I’ve always admired him as an actor, but a discovery earlier this month made me fall in love with his personal brand.
It started with a poster. I’m not a huge Star Trek fan, but an advert for the upcoming series, Star Trek Picard, recently caught my eye. It shows a stoic Captain Picard standing in front of a vineyard with a dog by his side. What an unexpected detail: Picard has a dog, and a pit bull nonetheless!
I did a little research into this, and the popular consensus was that Picard’s four-legged companion was Stewart’s idea. It turns out that Stewart has been a champion of rescue dogs, particularly pit bulls, for some time now. He and his wife have fostered several pit bulls themselves, and Stewart often shares photos of his foster dogs on Twitter. I may be late to the party with this one, but upon discovering this, I connected with his brand in a completely different way. We shared a cause.
Not only does he foster rescue dogs, but Stewart has embraced this cause in different ways. For example, he works hard at changing perceptions about pit bulls, by effectively being his own anti-stigma campaign, educating us about the breed over social media. He has also spoken out about the cruelty of dog fighting, highlighting the work of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) in finding new homes for dogs previously used for fighting. He shared on Facebook: “We know dogs are born to enjoy walks in the park, play with toys and enjoy belly rubs – but not fight.”
Here in the UK, Stewart has called for the repeal of the Dangerous Dog Act of 1991 in favour of better education on dog ownership. His involvement came after he and his wife were not able to bring their beloved foster dog, Ginger, to the UK, as the UK (where they live for part of the year) does not allow pit bulls into the country under the Act. He shared on Twitter: “We learned about the UK’s antiquated and tragic breed-specific legislation that includes “pit bulls”. The legislation itself is opaque, draconian, and truly hard to decipher.”
He candidly talked about leveraging his personal brand for the cause: “There aren’t many times when I’m comfortable leveraging the “Pstew Card”, but this was absolutely an instance where I wanted to pull out all the stops. We called the British Consulate and we called the RSPCA. We spoke with every expert we could, and as it became clear that there in fact was no “clear” answer, we realized we just couldn’t take any risk with Ginger’s life. I could go into more detail about how we came to this decision, but the short version is that we chose to do what was best for Ginger.”
From this personal experience, Stewart has become a vocal opponent of the Act: “It is essential that the Dangerous Dogs Act of 1991 be re-examined. Caring, good-natured creatures are being denied homes and their owners and potential owners deprived of a healthy and loving partnership.” A few years ago, he backed a petition signed by more than 200,000 people which demanded that Michael Gove repeal of the Dangerous Dogs Act without specific permission from a court.
I truly applaud Stewart’s efforts here, particularly as this Act nearly deterred my husband and I from moving here in the first place (our gorgeous rescue boy at the time may very well have been crossed with a Pittie breed, and we were very fortunate to have gotten him through)!
In closing, I hope this Brand of the Month shows just how important it is to share the “personal” side of your personal brand — your values, passion, purpose, what you stand for. It’s a great way to leverage a brand’s relevance and establish a sense of connection on a deeper, more meaningful level.
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Please meet our new foster girl, Miss Ella, named after Ella Fitzgerald. @madameozell and I haven’t heard her sing, but she has a very pretty bark. She’s about seven years young, and as sweet as the day is long. Thanks as always to @wagsandwalks for this lovely experience. #adoptdontshop #fosteringsaveslives #pitbullsarelove #pitbullsarefamily #lennyslegacy
Bravo, Sir Patrick!