The Sarah Palin Brand

Fascinating piece in today’s NY Times business section on How Sarah Palin Became a Brand.

Whether or not you agree with her politics, I think you have to admire her brand-building skills.

From the very beginning of her vice presidential candidacy, I think that some of us were too quick to dismiss her.

As in all marketing, it’s extremely important to see your product not through your own eyes…but through the eyes of the potential target audience.


While she might not play well in the more liberal blue states, her brand of “aw shucks”, little guy fighting the system is certainly resonating with much of America.

Enough so that she is now a best selling author and TV personality.

Even the so-called “tragedies” in her life (grandchild out of wedlock, Downs Syndrome baby, even losing the election and giving up on Alaskan politics) have mostly been spun to her advantage to present her as a regular “hockey mom” with trials and tribulations to overcome. Just like regular folks.

And another lesson from marketing…never underestimate the power of packaging. She’s extremely telegenic and with the glasses and the hair comes across as a slightly more glamorous and stylized hockey mom. One many women aspire to.

John McCain understands the power of the Palin brand. It couldn’t have been an easy request to make given their history, but he asked her to stump for him a few weeks ago during his campaigning for re-election in Arizona.

I wonder when the rest of the world will stop dismissing her and see her as a growing brand, and a potential formidable entry on the political scene.

That’s my point of view. What’s your twist?

What do you think of the Sarah Palin brand?

2 thoughts on “The Sarah Palin Brand

  1. It pains me terribly to agree with what you are saying, though I refuse to acknowledge that there is/was any brilliance in the decision to allign the conservative party with her and her “folksy” message. Yes, it resonates with a lower (perhaps, generously, not the lowest)common denominator, however the mania so many are whipping themselves into over her and her brand can only be characterized as an active, deliberate dumbing down of American leadership and American political debate and can only harm both our political process and the degree to which quality minds can or will engage with our democracy.

    The notion that our leaders should be reflective of, sympathetic to and even from among the populace is one thing, but does that have to mean that our elected leadership (or those influencing the decisions of our elected leadership)should be just as ignorant as the masses they represent? I know we all think we’re intelligent (I certainly do), but true intelligence requires sufficient insight to want those who will lead to be smarter yet…. MORE extraordinary and more informed…. than the rest of us.

    This is not intended to be a rant on Ms. Palin. That’s been done to death. Rather, my point is that instead of being a “brand” unto herself, I think her true role is to create brand confusion over the alternative… to shake our faith in those smarter and to “brand” the smarter and highly educated “elite” as a bad thing. “Folksy charm” was fine for Daniel Boone or even for presidents of the past during simpler times, but I only want it in a leader who has the more important attributes of leadership first. If you drop that aspect of Palin’s brand…. whad’ya got? Well, heck… you’ve got goshdarn nuthin’.

    That’s my two cents worth. 🙂

  2. @Lori I appreciate the comment and your passion on the subject. I think the Brand confusion point is an interesting one. But I can’t help also thinking that when I look at the footage or our elected officials (for the most part) it seems to be a sea of white, middle-aged (or older) silver foxes who appear like they’ve grown up with means and seem out of touch with the common man’s struggles. I may be stereo-typing. But I don’t see too many that I feel I can relate to. While she might not be the answer. I do think she highlights that there is a void to be filled of leadership that is “more intelligent” but in touch with the issues of the common man.

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