It’s all over the Internet. It sits on bookshelves and coffee tables all across America. And it even winks at you on TV.
This is the Palin Brand, sold to you by none other than the bootstrap-carrying Sarah Palin. Two years ago, she was an unknown governor in one of America’s most obscure states. These days, she is the female voice of an entire country.
How did Sarah Palin transform herself from an Alaskan politician into a unique, marketable brand that earns millions? Well, that probably deserves a book of its own. Let’s look at the lessons we can learn from Sarah Palin when it comes to personal branding.
Keep It Simple
In distinguishing her personal brand, Palin is always simple and concise. Check out her book and television show titles, respectively: “Going Rogue” and “Real American Stories.” These are easy to remember, and reflect her personal experience of being a common, regular American in the complicated world of politics. They’re catchy, as well. A title like “Going Rogue” connotes ideas of nonconformity and risk – attractive ideas that people can connect with. And what is a book title other than the most basic form of branding?
The Initial Separation
Sarah Palin has always described herself to the American public as a “hockey mom” – a dedicated, loving woman with a tough side. This tagline (branding at its finest) became nearly synonymous with her name, a powerful connection that separated Palin from her peers. No other politician could play the hockey mom card.
Besides separating Palin from her peers, the hockey mom tagline connected with a niche audience of Americans that understood its implications – toughness and American family values. This resonated with voters, and Palin’s personal brand rallied enough support to get elected Governor. You know the rest of the story.
Authenticity and Consistency
Sarah Palin understands the steps: Take a stand, define your product, get people to believe in it, then deliver consistent results. Ever since her initial run for Alaskan governor in 2006, Palin has preached her beliefs in family values, political reform and her allegiance to the Republican party (among other things). She has remained true to each of those, earning the support of millions. People believe in the personal brand of Sarah Palin because she continues to speak and write about her core values, without wavering.
Creating A Multi-Faceted Brand
By advertising her position (communicating her vision), rallying support within the community (networking) and keeping it simple, Sarah Palin turned herself into a desirable brand not confined to simply politics. Palin resigned from the office of Alaskan Governor in July of 2009. Since then, she has been relentless in promoting her books, making notable televisions appearances (such as political commentary for FOX News and Oprah Winfrey) and keeping her face in the public eye.
At the end of the day, we are left with a smart businesswoman who used her position as a public figure as a means to build her personal brand – one based upon family values, tough stands on issues and empathy with the common American.
Creating a successful brand means being different. It often means taking risks, going off the beaten path and putting yourself on the line.
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?