>> Friday, July 17, 2009
I am a firm believer that marketing is marketing, no matter what the brand. And I also believe that anything can be a brand, if it's marketed well. In this post, our Director of Strategic Planning, Johanna Skilling, has questions about Sarah Palin.
Permission to be Sarah Palin
Apparently no one in the country, except perhaps the First Dude, knew what Sarah Palin was going to do next. She shocked the right, amused and delighted the left, and let herself become the object of every kind of speculation.
But my suspicion is that soon-to-be-former Governor Palin has just discovered that in fact she is Brand Palin. Not just a public servant, but a public figure. Someone who does more than fill a role, but embodies an archetype. (Did I hear someone just say “Maverick?”)
Brands are built on a mission and a vision, and love her or loathe her, Brand Palin has got both. Her mission has been to be a public figure; her vision is to operate on the biggest stage possible. Maybe Sarah has studied brands like Harley-Davidson (I said maybe.). H-D’s products are about two-wheeled transportation, but their brand is about fulfilling dreams. A plain old motorcycle company wouldn’t engage our imaginations as much as a fulfiller of dreams … just as Governor Palin didn’t engage the country as much as Brand Palin will.
But brands don’t just emerge on their own: they need our help. As Seth Godin says, “You don’t get permission to become a brand; you earn it.”
The former Mayor of Wasilla earned the right to run for Governor (and win, and get pretty high approval ratings); the Governor earned the right to be considered for Vice President of the United States of America. And the candidate who shook up that election decided she had permission to become a minister without portfolio in our national political landscape.
We don’t yet know what kind of brand Sarah Palin is going to be. But through a combination of natural attributes, luck, skill and strategy, she’s earned our permission to transcend the tidy niche a product fills, and become part of our collective consciousness.
We should all be so good.
- Johanna Skilling, Director of Strategic Planning at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness