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Politics: The Ultimate in Personal Branding

Unfortunately I am a resident of the New York Metropolitan area.  It is actually a great place to live but one of the major negatives of living in this region is that we are forced to watch political commercials from New York, New York City, New Jersey and Connecticut.   Being a Long Island New York voter, more than half of the ads that I have the displeasure of watching are for candidates that I can’t and would never vote for.   Some of the commercials are truly horrible, the quality stinks and messages are not clear.   Of course quality often has to do with funds, and many candidates have little money to create impactful commercials.  

Over my career I have worked on a number of campaigns on many levels, from volunteer phone bank caller to campaign communications director.  I have seen hundreds of political speeches, attended too many rallies to remember and walked hundreds of miles with petitions and campaign literature.   The process for the most part can be fun and when you have a candidate, cause or party that you believe in the outcome of the campaign can be very rewarding or heartbreaking. 

I am pleased that, for the most part, the campaigns that I have been involved with have been successful.  Even if my candidate did not win we always fought the good fight and brought the issues to the forefront of the voters mindset.  An election loss is a setback, but for the determined individual it is only a first step.  If you have the right ideas, message and have qualities that people like and admire, you will eventually succeed.

I bring up political campaigns because they are a great way to examine personal branding.  American political campaigns, no matter if they are for local town council seats, gubernatorial races or a presidential election, they are personal branding programs.  The success of these efforts can be easily determined – one candidate wins and one loses.  Although the playing field may not be even, due to funding disparities and the fact more than 90 percent of incumbents are re-elected, a campaign pits two individuals (products) against each other.   They push their experience, success, ideas and ability to “get things done” to voters.  If they do so effectively they will win and begin or continue to serve “the people.”   Of course in some instances the “best” candidate does not win the election but they do win in the personal branding game.   The campaign itself is a personal branding effort and if done properly can be a stepping stone to the next election or business opportunity. 

We have seen a number of candidates come and go.  However, every dollar, every commercial and every speech given assists that individual in growing their personal brand.  Sound familiar?  It is the same approach any business person can take to grow their own personal brand.  For business people their election day is every day when they are out in the market selling.  They “win” the election when someone chooses their product or service over their competitors.  The campaign is ongoing and each sale is a victory; remember if sales drop there is always the re-election campaign.  

For those of you interested in politics, consider that every dollar you spend, each time your name is mentioned in the media and every hand you shake is not only an effort to get elected, it is a personal marketing program.  After the election people will know and remember who you are.  If you are in business all of these voters are potential customers, clients or referral sources.   So even if you lose on Election Day, you have not really lost, you have simply moved to the next stage of your own personal branding campaign.

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Personal Branding: Gary Vaynerchuk Has it Right in his new book Crush It!

I have been following the growth of social media and marketing over the past few years. Its growth has been amazing, and even for a guy like me who has a little bit of adult attention deficit disorder and likes to work on ten projects at the same time, I find it at times overwhelming. The changes that are taking place today are happening so quickly it and it is hard for many seeking to use technology to find out where to start and how to keep it going.

I recently read Crush It! by Gary Vaynerchuk; this easy to read and follow book is a must read for people who are tying to figure out the work of social media and personal branding. Many of Mr. Vaynerchuk’s points are quite good, I don’t agree with all of them, but he puts what is happening in the world of social media and personal marketing into perspective. I do agree with him that hard work is a great equalizer. This is a point that my father always made with me when I was growing up. In our family we always working and putting in many hours. This work ethic has led to the growth of our PR firm, which is now over 20 years old. Success is not a sprint, it is a marathon; however these marathons often consist of series of sprints. Busy people are always on the run, especially in the marketing business. Technology has helped but it has also made life even more unpredictable. For anyone marketing themselves or their company they should expect to be very busy.

“Your personal brand” which I have written about in the past continues to become more important than ever before. However, the personal branding “thing” is not new. In the PR and marketing world we have always worked with clients to brand them and have them known as experts, gurus, authorities, leaders and mavens. Whatever the title, being known for what you do or even better being recognized as the best at what you do you has tremendous value. We have worked for years to build this reputation for clients and PR and marketing people around the globe continue to do this every day.

The Internet social media outlets have changed the landscape of personal branding; however, as change takes place, creative professionals and their teams will help navigate clients small and large in this growing area. Professionals who understand how consumers will react will be a valuable tool to businesses of all sizes in the years to come. We will get into more detail on this topic in the future. I will explore some new areas of technology, provide some tips about how to leverage this to your advantage and we will follow the proven techniques that help people grow their businesses and their personal brands.

There is a lot that people can do with the tools that are available if they have the time. However, time is money and we all have to manage the limited time we have. For business people personal brands are yours for your entire life, so they need to be nurtured every day

No commercials to watch today, but will we have more of them to watch tomorrow?

A few days ago a reporter for a large media outlet was asking communications, PR and Marketing professionals what we predict will be happening in the next several years in terms of newspaper readership, advertising and social media.

A few years ago I was asked this question and some of my predictions have since come true. I saw the growth of social and online media; I also predicted the convergence of information technology and saw that readership of newspapers would continue to decline. I did believe that local papers would hold their own and possibly do better. This final prediction seems to be panning out as well.

Advertising is an interesting subject. I was watching a few shows I DVRed the other day and really enjoyed not watching commercials. How many times can I watch a little lizard sell me insurance that I already own or some guy trying to sell me high speed internet that I also already have? I happily watched three sitcoms in about 1 hour.

Then I thought about the advertisers and the commercials that I did not watch. How are they going to sell their products and services? This is and has been a challenge for several years. Here are a few predictions: There will be more commercials embedded in shows. There will be more commercials but they will be much shorter, perhaps 10, 15, or 20 seconds; they will be too short to fast forward through. When people know the commercial will be short they will continue to pay attention, which will benefit advertisers.

On the downside there will be more of them, and will probably cost companies more money for less time. Finally, like the news tickers we have on cable news channels and during sporting events, we will begin to see them during regular TV programs.

Let’s see what happens; remember you can always buy DVDs, download programs and movies or rent DVDs. Eventually the advertisers will find their way into these areas as well.

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