The Romney MBA
I don’t doubt that Mitt Romney’s MBA has served him well in the areas of finance; where it falls short is on the brand management side.
From a personal brand management side, here are the mistakes:
1) Inconsistency — Buyers look for consistency in the their experience with a brand. That’s why we stick to successful brands: we know what to expect. Like this blog, pure awesomeness, day-in and day-out.
2) Blurry values and fuzzy conviction– Successful brands embody certain values and allow its buyers to reflect those values. If the values are not clear or the values shift, that ruins the brand or worse, enables competitors to define the brand as they see it, usually in a less favorable light.
3) Disrespecting your customers– if I buy into a brand, I typically pay a premium for that brand. The last thing I would expect is the brand managers or the brand, if it had a voice, to disrespect or disparage me, or 47% of the public for that matter.
4) Messing with the features — brand features should remain intact; if you put Siri in your iPhone, you shouldn’t take it out next release if enough people bought into the feature. Likewise, you can’t champion health care reform as positive, then criticize it , then denounce it, and then embrace it again. Don’t mess with features that brought you customers in the first place.
5) Forgetting about new media — new media enables instantaneous and localized retrieval of content. So what you say in an obscure rally is just as searchable or visible as a major campaign event. This also means that it is more difficult to manage the brand unless the messaging and pitch is consistent across all media. So when you say “those people” , you should realize that to a different crowd you’re selling , you;re actually talking to “these people”.
6) Negative buzz — brands can decelerate just as quickly as accelerate in terms of buzz especially in light of social media. As of today, it appears Negative Buzz>> Positive Buzz. It’s difficult to unwind negative buzz.
I’ll conclude with a business observation that it is not uncommon for the disconnect between a financial view and a brand/market view to create problems for a company or a campaign. And given the Citizen’s United decision that corporations are people, the daylight between a corporate product rollout and a presidential campaign is more of a twilight.