He served his country to the best of his ability for 8 long years. Yet despite his good intentions his nation did not seem to approve of his actions. And so, after countless hours campaigning and nearly a decade of public service, he leaves behind a personal brand in shambles. This is not the legacy anyone dreams of.
Yesterday, I asked the following on Twitter.
Twitter community responds
The community suggested the following:
- Matt J McDonald / @MattMcJD – fade into the sunset. try to do some good with any cache you still have ala Bush Sr. and Clinton.
- Steve Burg / @burgsteve – Bush needs a major re-branding effort. His approval rating is so low he might be the brand that gets scrapped because it is so lost
- Erica Friedman / @yuricon – I’d take this opportunity to rewrite the current brand campaign totally and go back to “good ole boy who made good.
- Steve Greifer /@honeyshedceo – Lay low until it’s time to redefine reality.
I would recommend that Bush not go the way of Nixon, remaining silent while leaving a nation in turmoil (until the right paying interviewer comes along).
I would recommend the following:
- Former President Bush should take a vacation. Take some time to gather his thoughts and determine what’s next for the former most-powerful man in the free world.
- Hire an experienced consultant.
- Set personal branding goals. Determine what it will take to get to those goals. For the purposes of this post, I would consider his primary goals to be reframing history and gaining a favorable legacy.
- Prepare for an extremely slow growth curve. This is a nation who would rather forget the past 8 years. Changing this perception and re-invigorating/growing a constituency will take time.
- Prepare for dialogue. Determine tone, stance, fair practices, guidelines for engagement, overall strategy and next steps.
- Start a blog. Keep it simple. He doesn’t need to do anything other than publish simple text posts. The traffic will come organically from his celebrity. He should write his memoirs, or at least a non-premium (non-paid) version of his memoirs on a blog, complete with comments and trackbacks. Starting six to ten weeks into the Obama Presidency, he should write one post a week for at least two years. This will be the platform on which he re-humanizes himself as a person, bringing his nation into his inner circle.
- Show some class, support President Obama as the leader of our nation.
- Slowly build favorable relationships with real people, both offline and online. At best, many of these relationships will begin as extremely cordial. Favorable relationships may build over time.
- Gradually reintroduce yourself as an influential thought leader. Identify key passions that are not incredibly controversial and have both a long shelf life and nearly universal appeal. Just because he isn’t in the White House doesn’t mean that he cannot do good over the next 20 years.
- Once you are real, stay real. President Bush, your nation may be able to forgive you once. Maybe. But they will not do so again.
This would be my recommendation. What would YOU do?
Jon Burg is a Senior Emerging Channels Strategist with Digitas, a leading global interactive agency network. Jon blogs about the evolution of marketing, media and technology and the resultant impact on the human experience at Future Visions.