In this post I will focus on Sarah Palin. As David Carr points out in his New York Times article: How Sarah Palin Became a Brand, when she first appeared on Bill O’Reilly’s show over one million additional viewers watched. When she was a guest on Oprah, the ratings were the highest in two years.

Carr says:

Ms. Palin didn’t go on the show to run for president as much as to become the next Oprah. And it seems to be working.

Carr is not the only one who sees this. In a lengthy New York magazine article The Revolution Will Be Commercialized, writer Gabriel Sherman says:

During the campaign, people said she could be another Oprah, but now, in many ways, she’s bigger than Oprah, an empath for people who feel, rightly or wrongly, that America has forgotten them.

What can you learn about branding and marketing yourself from Sarah Palin?  Here is my take:

  • Stand for something and be authentic about it. Many Americans do not like what she stands for, but most Americans have a clear idea what it is.
  • Be unique and have charisma. In his article Gabrial Sherman points out that Sarah “Palin has managed to graft this rugged Western myth onto a beauty-pageant face and a counterpunching, don’t-tread-on-me verbal style—a new kind of character, and a remarkably compelling one.”
  • Narrow your market. If you market to everyone, you market to no one. Sarah Palin will never appeal to at least 50% of the voters. That makes her pretty much unelectable. But, she is the “go to” person for those who share her values. They want to see her speak. They watch when she is on a television program and they buy her books. Your clients want their lawyers to share their values.
  • Market across various platforms. Sarah Palin is writing books, speaking, commenting on television and using social media very effectively.

I will leave you with a quote by Alexander James Haederle from The Sarah Palin Brand: A Lesson in Going Rogue. He suggests:
If you’re having doubts about growing your personal brand, look to Sarah Palin for inspiration. Two summers ago, she was just another politician. Since then, Palin has gone from unknown state governor to national media icon, selling her personal brand to the entire country. Whether or not you agree with her political views, you have to agree that she’s effectively defined, communicated and promoted her personal brand. Have you?
What can you learn? How can you implement it in your law practice? How can you become a rainmaker to your target market in two years? I urge you to read the articles. Then, actually think about how you can implement the same ideas to expand the market that already appreciates your legal work.