Politics. Business. Personal branding.
In the rare cases when I am interested in politics, I examine what happens through the prism of the brand consultant, the designer, the marketing and communication man and the potential voters. Being in the middle of the election campaign, I noticed candidates, advertising materials, attitudes, speeches and comments, which led me to some conclusions regarding the personal brand, either in politics or in business. I also included business here because some of the candidates have a past of being managers or businessmen. The few conclusions eventually sublimated into one. The rest are only details, derivatives or subsidiaries. Sounds like a truism, but, in the end, it is like this:
A man cannot be other than he is.
The explanation is simple. Whether he is a politician or a businessman, a person is burdened/influenced and shaped by the past and present: education, environment, beliefs, values, family, friends, wealth, achievements, failures, desires, pride, complexes, etc. They cannot be separated from the personal self. In the case of a politician, for example, he/she should be an extremely good actor/actress so that his/hers public presence (appearance, facial expressions, speech, values) is totally different from that of the person behind the politician. The same goes for business. Which led me to the following conclusion:
Personal branding cannot change/shape people/personalities.
And then, why so much fuss around this notion of personal branding? Why the belief of some that they can be put in the most favourable light through certain marketing / PR / communication activities!? Some people probably find it easy to turn to a specialist and say “make me beautiful, different, different, bright and clean’. It is the wrong approach. It is also a wrong approach on the part of the specialist not to take the person into account (as I tried to state above). My third conclusion is:
Personal branding is (or can be) successful if it primarily takes into account the potential of that person.
In addition, personal branding activities and methods can accentuate aspects, certain sides, they can hide some flaws, they can involve the person in certain social causes but they will never be able to make him/her act in a way that is not natural for him/her. People will notice if these things are not accurate and natural – this is the main danger that needs to always be avoided. A good image consultant of a public person, either from the political area or from the business area, will first spend a lot of time with that person to find out and see who he is. Only then will he/she try to teach him/her about the behaviour rules in the public presence and about the way he/she should communicate. Another aspect that is usually forgotten: the personal brand is built-in time and not during the election campaign or a personal public campaign of a businessman. The foundations must be laid long ago so that the person, when he decides to really enter the public space, is already outlined as a brand.