6 Personal Branding Lessons Every Working Professional Can Learn from Trump and Clinton

Style Magazine Newswire | 7/19/2016, 4:41 p.m.
Despite having the two highest unfavorable ratings of any major presidential candidates in history, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have ...

Despite having the two highest unfavorable ratings of any major presidential candidates in history, Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton have outlasted their competitors—and one of them is going to become the leader of the free world. What does success in the face of such highly unfavorable ratings teach us about personal branding? And what can working professionals at every level learn from it?

MavenMaverick.jpgBelow, internationally-regarded brand strategist and revered media expert source Karen Leland, author of the newly released title, “The Brand Mapping Strategy: Design, Build, and Accelerate Your Brand, ” examines both candidates' personal branding successes, challenges and resulting lessons for us all in six specific areas. According to Leland’s predictive Brand Mapping Matrix, the success of any brand—in business, politics or otherwise—boils down to how the brand performs across these six key dimensions.

Leland details each dimension below, including exactly how each candidate fared therein as well as the correlated business brand takeaways, to help other enterprising professionals achieve in kind.

1. Develop Your Brand by Design, Not Default. Know precisely where you are so you can discern where you need to go.

Trump: The Donald has clearly defined himself as the billionaire Maverick, owing no one anything. Trump has carefully crafted his image as the anti-establishment candidate proudly going against the grain. As a general strategy, it has allowed him to get away with more than the typical business leader or politician normally would.

Clinton: Despite her best efforts to promote herself as “the qualified candidate,” many Americans have by default stamped Clinton with the brand of Matron—part of the old guard of Washington politics. Recently she has begun to pivot and is trying to find her way to a brand by design based on straight-talking thoughtfulness.

* Personal Brand Takeaway: Every business person, from secretary to CEO, needs to start by assessing the personal brand they currently have and be truthful about the degree to which it exists by design—or default. Then they need to take stock of the impact that current brand is having. Is your brand producing the reputation you desire? Is it creating the environment and responses you are looking for? If not, a pivot to a more powerful personal brand may be needed.

2. Anchor Statement. What is the go-to description of who you are and what you do? This is sometimes referred to as an elevator pitch.

Clinton: To date, Mrs. Clinton has made her marketing bottom line “I’m the woman candidate,” but that has not played well with Sanders supporters and younger voters in general. While Clinton’s status as the first woman Presidential nominee is certainly history-making and a proud moment, as an elevator pitch, it’s flawed. She would be better served by focusing on another message (consider Obama’s focus on messages of hope and change, as opposed to his race) that resonates with a wider slice of democrats and the population at large.

Trump: Four words—“Make America Great Again.” This single sentence has become Trump’s signature call to arms, his reason why voters should check the box next to his name come November. The issue Trump will face as the election gets closer is how he will translate this general idea into specific policies.