Since this is an election year and media coverage is everywhere, I’ve been paying particular attention lately to the way that the candidates brand themselves. But more and more, I find myself thinking about the branding savvy of one of those unexpected “candidates”, Mr. Stephen Colbert.
There’s something to be learned from everyone. Yes, even a faux-pompous, faux-journalistic pundit like Colbert can impart gems of branding wisdom.
Unlike brands that get their priorities mixed up and simply talk about how valuable they are, Colbert has figured out how to make his way into people’s lives in more thoughtful, meaningful ways. And, that, is really our job as a brand agency: to allow people to discover a brand’s value because it of its inherent value, rather than persuading people to connect with brands.
Here some examples of Colbert’s “brand engagement tactics” that are bringing him closer to real people:
Be Real: Going before the actual Federal Election Committee as a citizen to petition the creation of his Super PAC – for real.
Get Involved: Aiming to influence the Ames Straw Poll in Iowa by running ads in support of “Rick Parry with an A for America”
Take a risk: Nearly succeeding in purchasing the naming rights for the South Carolina Republican primary:
“The Colbert Super PAC South Carolina Republican Primary.”
Be provocative: Getting people to vote for a candidate that had dropped out of the campaign.
Funny? Crazy? Questionable? These are the wrong questions. Instead, ask yourself if he further deepened the bond he has with his “consumers”, attracted new consumers, demonstrated his brand values in action, and allowed his consumers to participate in the process.
Here are a few lessons we can learn from Colbert (and impart to our clients):
– Go beyond the shelf (and expected media tactics) and risk entry into the real world inhabited by actual people.
– If you say something is in line with your brand’s value, then do it. If not, it’s just air.
– Involve, engage and invite people to add to your story.
Good brands live and die by their actions. And nobody in the media world does this better than Stephen Colbert.