Presidential Politics and Personal Branding

This is Tuesday, so this post is on creating positive personal impact.

Last Thursday, I received an e mail from Ed Madison of Engaging Media.  In this e mail, Ed was using this year’s presidential campaigns to get across a message on personal branding.  I thought that the article was so well written and timely that I am posting it in its entirety here – with Ed’s permission of course.

Ed Madison on presidential politics and personal branding…

“The real impact of an effective branding campaign is demonstrated by the image or words that come to mind when you think of a person or product. Regardless of your political persuasion, there’s a lot to learn about Personal Branding from watching the presidential race. Each candidate is attempting to position themselves in the minds of voters.

“When you hear the name McCain, his campaign wants you to think of ideas such as ‘courage,’ ‘strength,’ and ‘victory.’ With Obama, it’s ‘change,’ ‘hope,’ and ‘authenticity.’ And, with Clinton, it’s ‘experience,’ ‘tenacity,’ and ‘intelligence.’  Millions are spent creating marketing messages that will firmly imprint these positive characterizations in the minds of the public.

“When a candidate makes a misstep or experiences an embarrassing disclosure it can be costly. They risk their credibility and the viability of their entire campaign.

“In the face of a crisis smart politicians act fast and decisively. The best course of action is to get ahead of a potentially damaging story, which means to anticipate the fallout and break the news yourself. Newly appointed New York Governor David Patterson felt it best to suffer a day of embarrassment by disclosing that both he and his wife had engaged in extra-marital affairs rather than endure the firestorm that would have erupted if the media had broken the story first. This is especially true in the aftermath of the Eliot Spitzer scandal.

“So what are the Personal Branding lessons here for you?

“First, write down the three words that you want others to think when they hear your name. Next, conduct an informal poll of your current clients and business associates to determine if their words match yours. If you conduct your survey in a manner that allows anonymity you’ll get more accurate responses. If your respondents’ words vary vastly from your own you’ve got some work to do.

“Second, as you raise your public profile, be mindful that being in the spotlight can come with a cost. You’re likely to lose some privacy and the press may also scrutinize your past. Anticipate and address any matters that may call your character into question. The actions of an associate or confidant can have consequences, as we’ve observed in recent weeks. It’s the nature of the game.”

Check out Ed’s video by logging on to   You can read Ed’s post by logging on to  His website is

The common sense point here is clear.  Use presidential politics as a guide to creating your personal brand.  First, choose the three or four words with which you want people to associate with you.  Second, always act in a manner consistent with those words.  If you do just these two things, you’ll build a strong, consistent personal brand that will become the foundation of your career and life success.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website for more common sense. 

I’ll see you around the web and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand, my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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