Lessons from Boris’s Handbook to Marketing Yourself

I’ve been following the UK political party conferences with interest over the past few weeks. One thing that has struck me is how similar politicians can be, regardless of their affiliation. This is what makes the current mayor of London such a breath of fresh air. Yes, like all successful politicians, Boris Johnson is never short of a sound bite, but he stands out from the crowd because he’s not afraid to be different. All politics aside, there are useful lessons we can learn from Johnson’s approach to marketing himself.

Rule 57: Be anything but boring.

Johnson is undoubtedly the first London mayor to hurtle down a zip wire, get stuck – and then turn the episode into a PR triumph. The secret? Just as you should avoid micromanaging your team, sometimes it’s okay to not have complete control of your marketing strategy. Play to your strengths and you increase your chances of a positive outcome.

Rule 12: Let your talent shine.

Make sure people know about your successes. Johnson never misses an opportunity to talk up his accomplishments. Embrace this attitude when pitching for business or reviewing your goals. Shout about your achievements to avoid blending in with competitors.

Rule 3: Be genuine.

Build trust by being genuine. Johnson’s public persona is one of unashamed and unapologetic difference. His rising popularity indicates that this stance is working and that people believe in him. In the world of business, being genuine is crucial in dealings with customers and suppliers, each of whom is a potential advocate. Don’t create “badvocates.”

Rule 77: Learn from history.

Understand the past to improve your future outlook. Johnson’s frequent references in speeches and articles to the classics of literature showcase his learning as well as his broad horizons. This is one politician not afraid to look beyond the present.

Too often in business, we become fixated on the next quarter or financial year and fail to understand the past so that we can plan more effectively for the future. Where do you want to be in the next 5 or even 10 years? And where were you at those milestones in the past?

So, ready to take that zip wire?


Photo credit: steveritchie