Marketing yourself by being yourself

Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s attempt to market herself for the 2020 presidential race has started with an Instagram Live session.  In it, Warren first pops open a been, hugs her husband and talks to people while casually leaning over her kitchen counter.

She no doubt is channeling some of the younger members of Congress who were raised on social media and use it naturally.  But Warren is of a different generation and trying to act natural in a medium they really don’t understand only leads to disaster – and lots of social media ridicule.

That’s what happened with Warren’s attempt to look “cool.”  Instead of appearing relatable to the average person by drinking beer instead of champagne, she looked like she didn’t know who she was, who she wanted to appeal to, and very awkward.

The first rule of marketing and PR positioning is to know your product.  It can be a car, soap, cereal or a person.  You’re not going to sell a Chevy by pretending that it’s a Bentley.  And a 69 year old politician is not going to fool anybody by doing Instagram Live, even if she learns what iPhone buttons to push.

Sen. Warren wants to be Native-American.  Now she wants to be young and hip.  She obviously is successful having been elected to the U.S. Senate, but she is not a 20-something millennial and nobody is buying it.

Whatever messaging she did to get elected is what will carry her further, if that is her destiny.  Trying to redefine a personality is a tough task, especially in the eyes of your marketing audience.

And that’s all that matters.