When a media outlet or a follower of your work refers to you as a ‘celebrity’ or a ‘star,’ that is a moment to be sure. It is probably a reflection of the effectiveness of your marketing program. If you have a business or you are the business, you have likely been working toward exactly this. If you have enough followers, enough customers, and a large enough presence in the public consciousness for others to dub you a celebrity, I’d say your team has done a good job of advancing your brand.
On the other hand, it is in very poor taste to refer to yourself in your own marketing materials as a ‘star.’ This is not branding, this is bragging. It is one thing for the local newspaper or a venue at which you will be appearing to refer to you as such (i.e. ‘renowned author,’ or ‘star chef’), but quite another for you to bill yourself in such terms. If you really are a star, you probably have a publicist who arranges all your promotional material and keeps you from making an ass of yourself. If you have to refer to yourself as a star, you aren’t one.
Honestly, I’ve only personally witnessed this phenomenon a handful of times. We all know how to spot a person who is enamored of themselves; they are so obvious. They always talk about themselves and rarely inquire about others; no matter the topic, the conversation always comes back to them quickly; and they think nothing of cancelling on you at the last minute, even if there were dozens of people expecting them. They put themselves above all others, often even their family. They can’t stop talking about all the wonderful stuff they do; they are a walking, talking, self-aggrandizing billboard for themselves. It is damned hard to be around these people, and yet their braggadocio often does garner them the attention they seek. Others tell them they are great, and they start saying it themselves.
Personal branding is a fact of our times; I myself have a blog that is merely my name because I am, essentially, the commodity (although I have yet to earn a single dollar for my opinions, but now I’m just whining). General self-absorption may be in fashion, but it has its limits. Frankly, it can be maddening to those who work hard and have a little humility to have to deal with competition that is so unabashedly self-aggrandizing. As a consumer, I am inclined to ignore these blowhards in favor of their competition regardless of whose work I actually prefer. I don’t care if you are a genius and the most knowledgeable person on the planet in your field, if you need to tell me how great you are, you can tell someone else because I’m out.
Arrogance is ugly on everyone.
P.S. Why yes, this blog post was prompted by something I observed from a person with whom I am acquainted. It is very astute of you to inquire.