Recently, my Facebook friend and fellow hockey mom, Kathleen O’Brien Brockman, posted this on her Facebook status “Any opinions, my friends on Palin running for President in 2012…love to hear from you?” This sparked a flurry of responses, some positive and some not as favorable towards Sarah Palin. This is the typical response to this polarizing woman. You either love her or hate her!
Sarah Palin is everywhere! She has impacted our political culture and is crossing over into many other facets of traditional America as well. Her tweets are picked up by national media outlets, Saturday Night Live runs political spoofs around her personality and her personal life has been public foder. Her new reality show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, is another example of how her brand is impacting mainstream media. Recently, there has been a ton of negative spin around her daughter’s, Bristol, advancement on the Dancing With The Stars competition; many claiming that she is somehow rigging the voting system?
Regardless of your opinion of her, Sarah Palin is a classic example of effective personal branding. One comment that stands out and that is heard frequently is that she is not an “experienced” politician. Personal branding 101…people like to connect with real people and this is WHY she is resonating with people. Sarah Palin is not projecting herself from a political standpoint. She is showing her uniqueness in that she is just like you and me. Finding what makes you unique and allows you to stand out from the crowd is effective personal branding.
Say what you will, but Sarah Palin’s brand influence is making a huge impact. What is she doing to project her brand that YOU can do as well?
1. SHE KNOWS WHO HER TARGET AUDIENCE IS
Sarah Palin is asking and receiving thousands of dollars in public speaking engagements because she knows who her target audience is and how to galvanize them to connect with her. Her “Mama Grizzly” and “lame-steam media” campaigns have been extremely effective as a means of connecting with her followers. She connects with people where they are and comes across as real, genuine and caring on issues that her audience cares about. She has successfully cultivated this following and she goes where she knows her message will be received. This is why she is making the big bucks! She knows who she is talking to and who is listening!
2. HER MESSAGE IS AUTHENTIC
Her critics continue to bash her for her lack of political polish but this is exactly what those that connect with her LOVE about her! She does not stand on ceremony or try to please a specific party; she simply says what she believes to be true and her “realness” and lack of “political polish” is why people are resonating with her. Her core group of followers are taking her message and expanding it out to the masses. That is why she has been so effective for the Tea Party. When you are addressing your target audience do your words “connect” and meet the needs of your audience?
3. SHE HAS CREATED HER NICHE AND IS AN EXPERT THEREIN
While there have been other women in politics that have gotten a lot of political coverage, Sarah Palin is in a category all of her own. She has connected very effectively with her core base and received an unprecedented amount of celebrity attention, both positive and negative. She has a defined a very definite niche where she is the undisputed leader within that niche.
The long and short of examining why Sarah Palin’s “brand” is so effective is that people connect with people and not a “party” (in her case) or a specific company. Focus on identifying your target audience, communicating an authentic message that they want and need and project yourself as an “expert” within your niche.