The Man behind the brand

I'm not going to write about the upcoming US election, the debates, Sarah Palin (although I think I could start a blog on that one alone) but I do want to talk about two pieces of Obama content that have come out in the last week.

The first is the picture above. It was taken by Obama's campaign photographer David Katz minutes before Obama entered the first US Presidential debate.

There have been thousands of pictures of Obama over the last few years - making speeches, on the campaign trail, kissing babies - standard political reporting. The Obama brand is extremly strong right now as well - it means change, youth and hope all at the same time. When you see him speak in front of 85,000 people, you can only be amazed and impressed.

The campaign has made him a symbol - he's not a normal guy. Not someone with a family, worries and fears. He's one of two men who could be the next President of the United states and he isn't like us. He's different.

Except photos like the one above make him appear normal. They make him seem like us - and that's why this could, possibly, become one of the most iconic images of the campaign. Because it shows him with the mask off.

No handlers, no media scrum. Just him and his thoughts - preparing for one of the most important moments of his life.

After seeing this image, I quickly read the popular Digg story about a warm gesture that Obama made to a complete stranger in the late 80's. If you've got two minutes and want to read a great post about his generosity, check this out.

Combine these two pieces and a new image of Obama is formed. A new brand.

He's an amazing speaker, academic, politician and father. But he's also just a guy who like to help people. And at his core, that's what his brand is all about.

Learning this story makes his brand stronger. Just liking knowing where Apple computers started makes the Apple brand stronger. How knowing that Bill Gates dropped out of college to start Microsoft makes that brand stronger and how knowing that Mark Zukerberg is just a college kid who knows how to code makes Facebook stronger.

The best brands focus on the core details that make them different. They weave a story that only they could tell.

And it's pictures like this that help show Obama might be an amazing, out of this world guy, but in the end, he's just like us.

Sort of.


Christian said...

That's a really cool shot. Same with the story. Nice find!

Although, I have to admit, I'm biased. The Obama brand has so much more of a compelling story than the McCain one. Of course, I'm not an older Florida resident that's going to decide this election.

It would be a interesting exercise to examine how they're telling different bits of the story to different targets.

Ty said...


It's true, however I think that McCain could have done a much better job telling his story, the past 30 years of working for the country and what he's learned.

He can't really get too detailed on his record ( say the least) but a leader who has learned from previous mistakes is always an attractive choice.

Jonty Rhodes said...

Truly, best brands focus on the core details that make them different. They weave a story that only they could tell. This can be a branding solution like no other.