Last Thursday I posted a blog Build Your Own Brand to Become a “Go To” Lawyer and I told you I would write about a great branding story this week. I actually want to write about two great branding stories.
I have always been interested in how political candidates sell themselves because in many ways you can use some of the same branding and marketing principles. President Obama and Sarah Palin are two striking examples. Neither was well known just three short years ago. Since then, they both have revolutionized branding and marketing. So, even if you don’t like the President or former Alaska Governor, there is plenty you can learn.
I recently searched and found three interesting and balanced articles on Sarah Palin’s marketing and branding success. I will share those articles with you tomorrow.  I also re-read a Fast Company article The Brand Called Obama by Ellen McGirt and found a book Brand It Like Barack!: How Barack Obama sold himself to America and what you can learn from this. written by Gary Kaskowitz. If you are interested, Kaskowitz has created a website and blog I found interesting.

I urge you to read the entire Fast Company article and learn from Ellen McGirt how President Obama revolutionized political campaigns by using social media. Here are my ideas on important points she makes.

  • New, different and attractive are three things you want in a brand. So, being a young lawyer can actually be an advantage.
  • The internet is a great marketing place and making your website more dynamic than other firms will get you ahead. That means using the internet to listen and then making frequent updates and engaging in a conversation.
  • Traditional top down marketing no longer works effectively. Your website should be for your clients rather than a one way sales tool.
  • Your clients are more empowered than ever before by the internet. They use it to do research on you and your firm.
  • You can actually lead by listening.

Kaskowitz points out that one of the main things you can learn from Barack Obama is the importance of telling the story. In a recent blog, he says:

Mastering the art of appealing to people’s core stories is one that will serve you well and create incredibly loyal fans.

You and I both know that candidates can easily market compared to elected officials. Lloyd Grove recently wrote about this and interviewed Harvard branding expert John A. Quelch in Obama’s Tarnished Brand. Quelch gives you a final point you must always keep in mind. I will change what he said so it applies to lawyers:

After you are hired, you are only as good as the performance you deliver, and the brand promise has to be lived up to. If the promise has been very substantial and the performance has been average, that’s going to put you in a bigger hole than if the promise was modest and the performance has been average. Clients will measure your performance based on their initial expectations.