21 July 2010 18 Comments

Personal Branding: Lessons from Al Gore’s brand

Author: yinkaolaito

Yinka Olaito is happy,excited and passionate Communications & Media specialist, Trainer and speaker. Yinka Olaito helps Profits and Non-profits with effective communication and positioning for premium service delivery and returns. Yinka Olaito also has special interest in Development Communication and has consulted for noted UN Agencies. Yinka Olaito is the CCO of Michael Sage Consulting(Communication/digital media), African Child Education Right Initiatives(NGO) and Content Director, Africa Development Talk( online Platform for discussion on Policy, Governance, development across Africa) and Africa Foundation for Young Media Professionals

Al goreI am a lover of biographies for in them you find the nuggets that made the people who have gone ahead of you and in them are lessons to learn when you are trying to either build a brand or an empire. Biographies open our eyes and give us insight to what we usually called ‘over night’ success. Biographies help us to see that no enduring success has ever been built on a one night stand. Lives of successful people are like sandwiches: great at the finishing, beautiful at the bottom but full of many details in between. Today, Dan schawbel’s book ME 2.0 is celebrated but when I read the detailed account of how the book was initially rejected by about seventy publishers, I understood perfectly that that book is a product of an author who will not give up despite rejections.

Recently I became fascinated by Arnold Albert Gore’s life. Remember Albert Gore? He is popularly known as Al Gore and he was two- term vice President of the powerful nation on the earth-United States of America. I was thrilled to see a brand that knew fame, honour, power, popularity but which disallowed temporary setback to signal the death/destroy his brand. In 2000, Al Gore lost the Presidential election everyone thought he would win to G.W Bush.

Everyone thought the power of incumbency would work to his advantage but at last the election went the other way. But for Al Gore, a temporary setback could not be allowed to stop a great brand that dumped temporary failure to pursue a bigger vision he found in global warming.

Al Gore repositioned as a leading voice in this regard. He used all his contacts, tools, friends, influence as well as online communication tools to start a crusade which he took to TED conference, used perfectly all his offline relationships to help project a voice(about global warming) in both secular and religious circles. Through his multi various activities, Al Gore pumped his energy into creating awareness and became a leading energy that sparks the light about the influence of global warming on human existence. The submit of Al Gore’ efforts was his ability to organize Live Earth, a seven-continent twenty four hour concert which eventually got him global recognition as Nobel prize winner.

Al Gore’s brand taught us a great lesson in persistence, repositioning, vibrancy and a great come back. Al Gore was a known brand back then in 2000 and many would have thought that was enough. But Al Gore demonstrated a strong lesson for those of us who are not global brands yet but are grappling with seemingly insignificant failure which is now allowed to deter us from moving ahead to achieve better deal.

 Al Gore’s brand taught us to be resilience, focused as well as sociable. He could not achieve that all alone without the support of others. He blended well with both Republicans and Democrats. If Al Gore’s brand had burnt bridges because he felt Americans did not vote him into office as their number one citizen in 2000(by allowing root of bitterness to spring up in him), he would have become a total failure with no great history we are reading today.

If Dan Schawbels of this world allowed seventy rejections to dump the vision of passionately pursing a publishing cause that made the book one of the bestselling books in Amazon today, can we have anything to refer to today? My appeal, let your brand rise from ashes of failure, insignificance to stardom and prominence by giving it all it takes. There are no guarantees that the road will easy but there is an assured hope that your brand has greater chances of success if you will gather the ruminants. Let me hear from you.


For those who live in Nigeria, we are organizing a day networking and knowledge sharing session on August 10, 2010 with the theme: Corporate Branding 2.0. Because internet has reshaped how branding is done and the level at which rumour, myths travel online, brands need to engage Branding 2.0 now. It will be great if you can attend. For participation details, please send mail to info@michaelsageng.com or call 07029778785

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