Vote for ME – you know it makes sense!


"Uncouth, uncultured, suburban, journalist-chasing, drunk driving, marijuana-possessing Air Canada Centre ejectee and lone wolf"- these were the words that kicked off an article by Chris Selley of the National Post about the Mayor elect of Toronto. Hardly the attributes you would think of associating with the leader of Canada's largest municipality.

But all the negativity associated with these words and the person they were attached to have been put aside by well over 300,000 Torontotonians to elect Rob Ford as their next mayor.

In comparison to the others running in the race Ford had a simple message from the start – to stop the gravy train of spending – and he remained consistent with that throughout. One candidate, Rocco Rossi, who dropped out late in the race had so many message and policy changes that people had no idea what he stood for and subsequently his support plunged.

There is a great lesson here for your personal brand message – a mixture of emotional connection and simplified messaging wins the day – there are other municipalities in Ontario and beyond waking up to the same realization and results with candidates who followed a similar template.

No matter how great your personal brand campaign may sound, how glossy the career marketing documents look or how polished your presentation – if its not a clear message that resonates with the right people you are going to be looking in from the outside.

What do you think about the Toronto vote, or what has been happening in your municipality?

7 thoughts on “Vote for ME – you know it makes sense!”

  1. I find voting very exciting. I love to not just watch the race but be a part of the voting process. This year is particularly exciting because it appears Toronto just elected a redneck lonewolf (very unlike the Toronto in your mind) and Calgary just elected someone very un-redneck (a visible minority, muslim!), which is very unlike the Calgary in your mind.
    It’s awesome to see the difference between how the rest of the country has “branded” these two cities and how the voters spoke up about who they felt best represented their city.
    I live in Calgary and I didn’t vote for Naheed Nenshi, our new mayor but I truly look forward to his vision of our city.
    (And I admit a total bias for why I didn’t vote for him… I have a horrible bias against academics!)

  2. My concern about Ford is the same concern I have for many politician who tap the well of dissatisfaction. I haven’t seen any sustainable ideas, just angry outbursts. He may turn out to be a good mayor however anger without substance wears thin quickly.
    Heather, you make a great observation about Calgary versus Toronto; it has turned city-stereotyping on its head. If you have a horrible bias against academics, remember it’s less about education than about character. May I quote from “The Social Network?”
    “You will probably think no girl will ever like you because you’re a nerd. I just want to tell you that’s not true. No girl will ever like you because you’re an asshole.”

  3. Hi Paul,
    Your words this morning made me think about our friend in the White House. While there are obvious (glaring) style differences between Rob Ford and Barack Obama, there were some striking similarities in their elections to office. 1) They were both unlikely candidates for their offices. 2) They were both leading with a simple message of change for a population that was sick and tired of the same old political nonsense. 3) But more than anything, they were both PERCEIVED by their voters to be authentic. This word – authenticity – is one that I know you hold near and dear to your heart, and both of these leaders seemed, during their campaigns, to be the real deal. They’re not afraid of being honest, open, vulnerable. And they’re not afraid to name the proverbial white elephants in the room. In a world full of phoney baloney, a dose of authenticity can win the hearts and minds of people… in any walk of life: business, faith, politics, etc. Anywhere you go, people are seeking to peel away the shallow surfaces and live out a more meaningful existence. People who project ‘realness’ will have great power to connect with others.
    As for political substance? The jury’s still out on Obama and Ford… we’ll see.
    Take care,

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