New Book on Branding Offers Timely Lessons

Brand It Like Barack—How Barack Obama sold himself to America, and what you can learn from this (Dog Ear Publishing) by Gary Kaskowitz, associate professor of management, offers useful insights not only for college students, but also for businesses, politicians, and consumers—essentially anyone who seeks to "increase their visibility" and influence, or protect themselves from such influence.

The book's lessons began in Dr. Kaskowitz's Moravian classroom. "One of the key reasons I wrote it was my course on storytelling and branding, 'Telling and Selling Your Brand,'" he says. "Until now there was not a good book that summarized all of the points I make in that course."

To illustrate key marketing principles in his classes, Kaskowitz points to the approach behind Barack Obama's meteoric rise from relative obscurity to the presidency in 2008.  "Obama's marketing approach was absolutely brilliant. He understood his audience and their desires," he explains. "He created a better story [than other candidates] and communicated it by appealing to emotion. He started with a very clear niche market and then broadened his message for mass appeal …

"The question is, 'how do you please all of those people?' The answer is, you don't."

"The question then is,'how do you please all of those people?' The answer is, you don't." And, as Kaskowitz cautions in his blog piece "Is America Suffering from Buyer's Remorse?," "marketers must deliver on their message, or risk losing their audience."

The six-step system presented in the book is all about research-based, relationship-oriented marketing principles—not politics: "We all market ourselves—you might as well do it well." Brand It Like Barack will be required reading for Kaskowitz's fall-term marketing management course, for which students will develop a personal branding action plan they can use for jobs, internships, and grad school. Professor Kaskowitz also plans to develop a companion workbook.

Brand It Like Barack (Dog Ear Press, 2010) is available in the Moravian College bookstore.