This case pits the Estate of Michael Jackson against the Internal Revenue Service (“IRS”) and centers on the $7 million taxable value of the estate’s assets reported to the IRS. Undoubtedly eyebrow raising to the IRS was the valuation of Michael Jackson’s name and likeness rights at only $2,105, to which the IRS has countered at greater than $434 million. In all, the IRS has valued Michael Jackson’s estate at more than $1.1 billion, and issued a notice of deficiency in estate taxes of more than $505 million. And because the IRS contends the executors significantly undervalued the estate’s property, it tacked on additions to tax of $196 million for good measure!
Gary Vaynerchuk, who tweets to his 1 million followers @garyvee, was an early adopter of social media. Gary embraced the tweet with a vengeance. Gary Vee foresaw that the Internet would level the playing field and open the door for individuals to create and monetize an individual brand the old fashioned way, namely sweat equity. Gary’s first book Crush It! was a huge success. His latest Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook is on its way.
In Crush It, Gary opined about those brands that didn’t survive: “If they had offered a relevant and differentiated product or service . . . and had known how to tell their story” perhaps the ending would have been different.
Related in that both Jim Cramer and Perez Hilton are iconic personal brands to their respective audiences, brands launched on the Internet and leveraged into off-line profitable empires. Personal brands are no less valuable or profitable than pure product brands.
CH: We were also talking earlier about Tim O’Brien and he authored the book “The Power of Personal Branding”: I understand you studied with Tim at one point?
JF: I did, yeah.
CH: I was very impressed with some of the concepts he put forth as he talks about each individual in a service brand, or a personal brand, needing to come up some personal quality. It could be a physical characteristic that you’re known for, or it could be perhaps a personality characteristic or an attitude whether it’s integrity or strength.
CH: Jonathan, what is it about building a service brand that is more difficult than dealing with a consumer brand?
JF: With consumer brands, all of us can immediately see the product that’s being sold and it’s not the sales person who’s responsible necessarily for selling us or winning over the purchase, it’s the product that we’re buying. With professional services, we look at the professional as the intangible product. It’s the person who is delivering the service, it’s the person that we can engage with, and because none of us are alike, it makes that individual kind of a moving target.