We are living in unique times it seems and we are constantly seeing people in the public eye and in power showcasing their personal brand for their peers and public to judge and offer comment on. There is a lot to question on the authenticity and truth behind this marketing, as there seems to be a lot at play in terms of merit and integrity – which is why it’s all so fascinating.
I am of course referring to the current Tory leadership race, as from a personal marketing point of view, each candidate is positioning themselves different to the other. It’s almost laughable to watch the flurry of non-candidates quickly aligning themselves with the person, arguably not that they believe will do the best job for the country, but will do the best job for them and their careers and ego.
Personal marketing is just that – marketing yourself, your beliefs, your personality and trying to enhance your characteristics and values in front of your chosen audience. What we are seeing currently are various personalities being moulded and presented for judgment and insight – all hoping that their personal brand will help them get the top job.
A well constructed image is PR gold in the political world, but it’s worth noting that this image can as easily be shattered as celebrated in the fickle media and PR spotlight, if a certain journalist or critic chooses to – and we have seen this time and time again.
A really interesting subject is Boris Johnson. This is a man who has been proven to lie on a national scale, has been proved to be abhorrent in terms of his conduct on an international scale and has questionable values when it comes to race and sex. But, yet still, this is the man at the forefront of the race to be our next Prime Minister.
His no-show at the recent ITV television debate was palpable and instead of being critiqued, he was somewhat lauded for his inconspicuous absence and added an air of superiority and mystery to his campaign.
The team behind BoJo are not daft. They have been purposively shying him away from the limelight, letting his competitors make their mistakes and guffaws and merely waiting his turn to shine, ride in and save the day. A little too late to ask the important questions, perhaps.
This was evidenced in last night’s BBC debate where Boris made an appearance and arguably was the weakest link there – not answering any direct questions, sticking to his mantra and ignoring the host. But will this affect his chances?
It seems that in terms of personal marketing, Boris’s strategy is playing on his baffoon-like, public school boy-nature to land the top job without time to question his lack of authenticity or truthfulness and that’s been generally accepted as ok. But that doesn’t seem ok to me.
Sadly, I think I’m in the minority here: people like Boris; people think he’s personable, that he ‘tells it like it is’, that he’ll go over to Europe and bloody well sort Brexit out and nation-wide, people are responding favourably and signing up for brand Boris.
They are foregoing his misdemeanours in the past and almost excusing him for ‘being Boris-like‘ – it’s similar to when a really naughty school boy throws another kid’s dinner at the wall and it’s just shrugged off as ‘that’s his nature.’
Personal marketing is powerful stuff and we all need to be in charge of ours and ensure we are perceived and represented as we want to be, integral to our values and truths.
Politicians, arguably, are a rare case of complete falsehood on the whole when it comes to personal marketing as the fickleness and desire for position and stance often outweigh the quest for honour, truth and doing the right thing.
But, we can watch and learn about how people are perceived, responded to, are celebrated/ dismissed and why this is. What do people dislike and what elements of personality do people gravitate towards and why? It makes for great watching.
I for one will be following this intently to see what sort of character is pitched against Boris and the stark difference between the two. Will it be Rory – the tie shredding, mansplaining, seemingly out-on-his own candidate from last night that will pitch up as a direct contrast to buffoon Boris I wonder?
Get your popcorn at the ready.