"It's the Branding, Stupid!"
Updated: Feb 13
It takes a lot of years to build a brand. Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton did it.
When Donald Trump and Hilary Clinton entered the 2016 presidential campaign, regardless of your politics, you felt you knew them. Unless you've been under a rock for the last 30 years, no doubt you would have ran across a National Enquirer headline, seen Trump on The Apprentice, or Clinton jetting around the world as Secretary of State.
And if you are like most entrepreneurs who desire to be rich and famous, maybe, just maybe one time, you wished you had such a high-flying profile!
Bill Clinton was a household name in the nineties. After all, he was the president of the United States for eight years. Of course, most of us remembered the juiciest part of his presidency being the Monica Lewinsky debacle and (for better or worse) the spotlight was shone on his wife, Hillary Clinton.
For her part, Hillary went on to run for and successfully became a member of the United States Senate, ran and lost the Democratic nomination to Barack Obama, then became his top diplomat.
So, way before they faced off in an election, we felt like we KNEW them! They were both branded and seared in our minds. The issue in the 2016 election was then: Which brand do you like and trust the most?
The 2020 election is still being played out, but I believe it's come down to the same question. On one hand, we have Trump who is even more known since being in office for four years. And Joe Biden, who's been in politics over 40 years!
When it all came down to voting, the Big Question was still a choice between two well-defined brands,
Looking at all of this from a business perspective, I want to share some lessons that I observed about branding.
I believe it will help you as you endeavor to establish and grow your personal or business brands.
A solid brand takes time to develop. To have true brand power, it takes years of consistent behavior and attitudes for it to stick. Saying you are something is not enough. Acting and behavior in accordance with what you say, over a consistent period, is what garners credibility.
People can “brand” you based on their perception of you. In the case of Trump, Clinton (and even Biden), some of what we thought about the candidates were conjectures, other people’s impression, and not necessarily grounded in facts.
For example, we may think of them as compassionate or “nice” based on statements they made or even from their facial expressions. This could be a mischaracterization. The problem is, assumptions stick like facts and they affect people's behaviors toward you. There are things you can do to offset some of this, but it's never fully in your control.
Your brand shows up even when you aren’t there. Have you ever heard the old saying, “Your reputation precedes you?” That’s the power of a strong positive or negative brand. It does half the work. A great brand, once established, does not have to work that hard. On the contrary, it is hard to turn a negative brand around, even with tremendous effort.
You must become proactive about how you want to shape your brand. Do you want to be known as an altruist? Then give. Compassionate? Then serve. Effective? Then get results. And remember, not just once, but all the time.
If you run into brand “trouble”, then invest the time to rebuild your brand. People are forgiving. If you make a public relations mistake, own up to it quickly and act to make things right. Tylenol did when some of their capsules were laced with cyanide, but then they pulled them all off the shelves and the world forgave them. It will forgive you too.
What other positive business and branding lessons can we glean from the political world?
I'd love to hear from you!
Also, please contact me for a free 30-minute coaching call if you feel you're ready to take your business or brand to the next level! Click on the link below to book your call!
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