Personal Branding and the Presidency: How Personal Branding Impacts Political Races

We are in the heat of election season now—not like you could have missed it!

It seems like you can’t go five minutes without hearing or seeing an advertisement for President Obama or for Mitt Romney, his challenger. (If you’re completely tired of them and just want the election to be over with already, I can promise you that you’re not alone!)

As you probably know, political elections largely come down to marketing and branding. “Likeability” is an important component of every election—and in fact, many experts believe that the President’s edge in the likeability category is largely responsible for his narrow lead in the polls.

At the end of the day, “likeability” largely comes down to personal branding—so we’re going to take a few moments to look at the efforts both Romney and Obama are making to build their personal brands. How can you apply these lessons to your business?

Pursuing photo ops. If you had a dollar for every time a presidential candidate was “caught” kissing a baby, you’d be very, very wealthy. And it’s no accident. Politicians are acutely aware of the power of photographs to communicate their brand, and they work tirelessly to ensure that they are photographed in as many flattering settings as possible.

Dressing appropriately. Political candidates want to appear to be normal people just like you and I—and they dress accordingly when they’re out campaigning. Mitt Romney in particular seems to be determined to shed the idea that he is somehow “different” from voters due to his wealth and his high-level business success. He can frequently be seen in a dress shirt, with no tie, and with his sleeves rolled up.

Talking about the same things their audience is talking about. Both Romney and Obama made a point of commenting on the “replacement referee” controversy that angered NFL fans through the first four weeks of the season. It’s entirely possible that both candidates did feel passionately about the issue, but it’s also clear that the controversy represented an opportunity to demonstrate that they are “normal” people too.

Interacting with voters and donors. If you pay attention, you’ll notice that politicians put a great deal of energy into every single handshake they make at a campaign event. They want each individual that they interact with to feel valued and appreciated. And they do this by focusing on each interaction, even if it only last for a couple of seconds.

Staying on message. One of the most important elements when it comes to building a personal brand is consistently staying “on message.” They want to hammer the same themes home time after time, and the more they can keep their message consistent, the more sincere and genuine they seem.

You may not be running for office, but you are competing for business. And each of the strategies that are currently being utilized by politicians across the nation can be adapted to work for you. Don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you’d like to learn more!