Icons of Personal Branding- Barack n’ Roll

With the election in the rear-view mirror there are an abundance of mixed emotions in the nation. However, one thing we all have in common, the desire to see the change that was preached throughout president-elect, Obama’s campaign. It was a hard fought battle by both candidates and each displayed commendable effort.

3005048653_482ea67a6f1I think that there are a few lessons for marketers and consumers that should be extracted from the proceedings of the campaign and election. The topic of personal branding is currently at the forefront of our industry. Obama showed us all what its like to create a personal brand out of the most unlikely of scenarios. Many people thought they wouldn’t see a minority president in their lifetime, if even their children would see a minority president. We all probably thought it would be more likely to see Nader in the Whitehouse. Well, we proved ourselves wrong, and the progress our country made yesterday as a whole is a milestone in our history. It would not have been possible though if Obama hadn’t exercised the most impressive and tireless acts of personal branding seen to date. We’re talking of a man who not only motivated a record number of people to exercise their civic duty, but he defied the social ascriptions of racial limitation and gained the trust of a majority of Americans to lead our country. He achieved all of this through selling his brand to Americans. He gained support, gained contributions, gained trust, and generated motivation within segments of society that have yet to impact the outcome of our leadership until now. How often in the past have you seen countless you-tube videos supporting a candidate through an expression of pop-culture? Never. Have you ever seen candidate shirts in places like urban outfitters that say things like, “Barack and Roll?” This man motivated us to chose our destiny despite what we’ve heard about the lack of influence a single vote has. Yes, maybe a single vote plays a little role in the outcome of an election, but when you motivate an entire country of singles to act as a whole you get a dominant victory and defy all odds against minority leadership. Our country is going to be a different place from here on out and its thanks to a single man who knew the American people were better than even they thought.

What do I take from this? Well, if you want to see how to motivate people, look at Barack. If you want to see how to gain support through common ideals, look at Barack. If you want advice on how to build a powerful brand, look at Barack. Eight years ago, maybe even four years ago, people would’ve thought that Barack selling himself to the American people would’ve been as likely as selling ice cream in hell, not because they were racist or disliked the man, but because they thought the country as a whole was not ready for that leap. He proved us wrong.

I also tie consumerism into this lesson we’ve learned yesterday and throughout the last twenty months. When we looked at our influence in terms of individual we lack power, but when we look at our influence in terms of contributing to a larger group we’re detrimental. If you’re passionate about something find the populous that shares your ideals and make something happen. If the populous doesn’t yet exist, lead and find your supporters. If you demand something of a brand, tell them, your influence will be heard. Take this effort for example, http://frontierfail.com/, a group of unsatisfied flyers that will be heard by the company. It doesn’t always have to be your displeasure, compliment a brand for doing the right thing or guide them in the right direction. If your looking for a brand to go more green, simply tell them with your group, or tribe, as Seth Godin would say. Our tools to increase our influence is literally at our finger tips.

Photo Cred: Bob Jagendorf


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1 Comment

Filed under Branding, Motivation

One response to “Icons of Personal Branding- Barack n’ Roll

  1. hobokin

    I agree that Obama did a great job of branding himself through the election. It didn’t hurt that he raised over 500 million. But what I’m interested in is his branding using social media that only cost time. His website worked to rally tens of millions to join the fight and tens of thousands to join the team and help out. He had a team on Twitter, he had numerous facebook groups, he was using text messaging and blogging and YouTube to get his message out. All of these strategies really didn’t take money, only the insight that in 2008 these are important mediums to reach people, and a strong enough message of change to motivate people to work. It is my hope that Barack will continue to give these same mediums that helped him win the presidency continued attention, so that the older generation who is only beginning to experiment with these things, start embracing them with open arms.

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