The party leader is the human representation of the promises that the party has made to its people through its manifesto and other avenues.
It is a shame to see a flag bearer for a political party whose public speaking skills are not polished. Some of them would stand in gatherings and give boring political speeches without leaving a mark, some are dressed by people who don’t understand that they are public figures that need to be sharp at all times and in some instances they need to be dressed to match the occasion they are going to or match the mood of the occasion.
Careful handling of these party leaders in terms of conduct sometimes gets out of hand. They have not been trained on how to handle interviews, press conferences, or even appearances in events. I still would insist that proper public speaking training is of great importance to any politician. Eloquence and substance in speech can be trained, this is why organizations like toastmasters and improv exist.
Leadership training has also been seriously overlooked by most politicians who in my opinion rely on sheer charisma to hold their places. Of how much more value would it be that on top of charisma a political leader is trained or consults on personal image and etiquette, soft skills, Communication and has his avenues of communication handled by qualified professionals.
As for digital branding, Social Media handles for most of these leaders have to be handled very carefully, taking advantage of trends and at the same time being careful not to swim in the wrong tide. Most political leaders currently trend for the wrong reasons and have left the public and bloggers to define them. Some have ended up paying for bloggers to give them a good name online and when they disagree on payment or other issues, the tables turn against them. This is not a sustainable approach. I would advise having your own channels of communications and platforms for discussion and give them strength. It is even better to have volunteers online who agree with your principles and beliefs that they can defend you in case of any online attacks.
Still on digital branding, of much importance is a personal website for a political leader, a personal platform to articulate, beliefs, values, vision and mission for his area of jurisdiction and people. This website should be regularly updated and furnished with downloadables like personal Manifestos and party manifestos is necessary. Keep your own blog updated and when possible contribute to other blogs to create more opportunities to self-express and help constituents understand you and your vision.
Mainstream media also remains a great place to build a personal brand especially in politics. A political leader should appear as much as possible in interviews, debates and other platforms on radio, TV and print media to ensure they are on the faces of people as much as possible. This really helps in building trust and coming out as an authority in their area and tends to make them come out as more approachable and gives a ‘building bridges’ perception of a political leader.
At all times it’s important to keep developing oneself in areas that require improvement and skills that need to be acquired for reasons of credibility, authority and Trust.
In all these remember the key ingredient in a successful personal brand for anyone in any given field is AUTHENTICITY, and on that note, the political brand series continues in the next article.