Today, TIME Magazine announced its 2008 Person of the Year — and, thank heavens, no reflective devices were necessary. While the editors would have us think that the choice was hotly debated and up-in-the-air until the last second, I think the first African American President of the United States in history had a leg up on the competition.
From a branding and PR perspective, however, I think President Elect Barack Obama’s careful image crafting has a lot to teach us. From the start, his disciplined approach to building his brand was nothing short of remarkable. Time — the fleeting kind, not the magazine– will tell how, in these difficult times, the American public will react when President Elect Obama’s veneer loses its shine as it always does for public figures. Will Americans find comfort that their president has cracks in his armor as we all do, or will their disenchantment turn to anger as they realize that our challenges, and our country, are always bigger than one man — regardless of how high the pedestal is on which we place him.
Either way, I’m confident that the Obama Communications Team is ready to combat any disintegration of the brand. I wonder if they’re available to counsel the Detroit Three….