“The Biden brand is suited to the moment”: The Power of the Personal Brand

More than any previous political event, the 2020 US Presidential Election was a battle between two brands. Trump and Biden offered very different visions of the future, represented by two distinct personalities making succinct promises. Each mobilised his messages with targeted, relentless and, like them or not, disciplined campaigns. Each had an audience in mind – a ‘base’ as commentators call it – and stuck to the stories and straplines that would motivate their base to vote. All of it could have come from a classic brand strategy playbook.

The word ‘brand’ has not been far from the lips of serious political commentators when reflecting on the last four years of Trump’s presidency and, indeed, on the election itself. It was The Economist which declared, in its editorial of 23 January, that Biden’s “folksy brand of dogged centrism is so well suited to the moment.”

The Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Evan Osros, in his collection of essays on Joe Biden, American Dreamer, recalls how Biden revealed his self-awareness of his ‘folksy brand’. Addressing his trademark tendency to ‘overtalk’, Biden said “I don’t say very much I don’t think through. I know that sounds inconsistent with Joe Biden.”

The 2020 election and its aftermath are a vivid reminder of the modern power of branding in general and of the personal brand in particular.  Branding, we now know, is relevant to almost every part of our lives. Whether you like it or not, every one of us has a personal brand – an image that people have of us in their mind.  You can choose to manage it or not, but it’s there. Branding is morally neither good nor bad. It is why and how you use it that determines its impact.

In a webinar we held last year, Rita Clifton CBE shared with us the three principles that successful personal brands share with any other type of well-managed brand: clarity of purpose, coherence in performance, and sustaining leadership.

Here’s a link to a short clip of Rita talking about this. Her book Love Your Imposter is one of the best and most honest on the subject of personal branding that we have read.

As Rita is at pains to explain, brands only remain relevant and popular if they actually do what they say they will do. That’s true of products and people – and especially of politicians. Biden has promised to unite America and to “build back better.” America chose his message of progressive unity. It’s in all our interests that he stays true to his brand promise.

MEASUREMENT ISSUES
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Getting the measurement right

As customer experience consultants it is great to see leading companies, SMEs and start-ups making CX a non-negotiable foundation of their business operations. The next-step however, isn’t often thought-through – measurement. If you, as a brand leadership team, haven’t yet created a way to measure the impact of your customer experience initiative, ensuring that the outcome is positive and that the experience can be sustained… then it’s time to clear your diary.
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  • Leadership ·

Do you deserve to be followed?

“Why should anyone be led by you?” was the chilling headline of a McKinsey award-winning Harvard Business Review article (subsequently becoming a book) in 2000. Fast forward two decades and perhaps that headline should now be, “Why should anyone keep being led by you?”
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  • Brands ·

Being The Brand

When the strain upon the operations of a company is too much for the system itself, what hope is there for a brand to inspire or maintain customer loyalty? The last line of defence for the brand, when the systems fail, is the relationship between the staff and the customer. When ‘push comes to shove’ your people are your brand.
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