He is one of the most powerful men in the world. Besides that, he has been the target of numerous internet memes and parodies in comedy shows also around the world. His fame transcends the political aspect, his controversies have gained him both haters and fans. Consequently, I chose him for an episode for Karina’s Branding Biz. Club. If you have not seen it, you should go ahead and watch it on my YouTube channel. I promise it shall be a laugh.

When approaching an election, few political figures would utilize the tactic of presenting official portraits stripped to the waist, clad in only battle pants and a canvas cap. However, that was the move made in August 2007 by Vladimir Putin, closer to the end of his second presidential term, after being seen on a fishing holiday in Siberia. These photos were posted on the official Kremlin website and allegedly earned him the epithet Alpha Dog among US homologues. Three years later, in the following pre-election stunt, Vladimir Putin has done it again, being caught in a sporty nylon blouson as the leader of a Russian’s bikers’ pack. The Russian president is not only considered one of the most powerful men in the world, but also one of the most extravagant leaders from which we can learn a thing or two.

Let us see the lessons we can actually implement from Vladimir Putin’s personal brand.

Lesson 1 – Be very resilient against negative feedback
Vladimir Putin always speaks his mind and does what he considers best, without listening to all the negative feedback. Resilience is the asset when analyzing a personal brand, especially when we chose to disregard some consequences of his decisions. Although I advise taking into consideration all the feedback that comes your way, you still have to be your best promoter. Vladimir Putin has been the target of abundant disapproval from the international political stage and western leaders, in his speeches and his statements he has always put the prosperity of the Russian nation first, without any recurrence from his actions.

Lesson 2 – Be committed. Never stop fighting for your vision
Comprehend what you need and never surrender in battle. Never stop fighting for your dreams no matter what anyone else says. If you believe in something, stand for it. In the online world, entrepreneurs and public figures face numerous challenges, and succeeding oftentimes depends on their ability to stay the course despite mounting pressure. Despite the Crimean and Ukrainian crises resulting in financial sanctions for Russia from the EU and the US, Putin remained steadfast.

Lesson 3 – Always look your best
Looking presentable and fitted for a certain job does not require the most expensive wardrobe, although he certainly has it. It requires though a certain involvement and some style. Dress for the job you want and make sure you always look your best. His custom-tailored suits always respect the same color scheme: black, dark blue and grey. His favorite brand is Kiton and Brioni, and the suits they provide are made from start to finish by only one tailor, taking dozens of hours to be completed. His stylist, that has been by his side for 10 years now, carefully removes the labels from his clothes in order not to associate him with any brand, but to be defined by his own professional and neat style.

Lesson 4 – Place yourself in an extraordinary situation
Vladimir Putin swims with bears, hunts tigers, gets in the same cage with wild cats while showing no fear. He puts himself in these unique and potentially dangerous situations knowing it will be moments meant for the camera. Unusual and out of the ordinary situations will create original context for your story. Once a content opportunity falls on your lap, seize it with confidence but with eyes open to the responsibilities that come with it.

Lesson 5 – Expanded your knowledge
Vladimir Putin is known to be involved in many activities that have nothing to do with his political role: he supports Formula 1, he plays hockey, he organizes charity events, he paints and he enjoys outdoor activities such as: skiing, fishing, horse riding and whitewater rafting. Getting involved in different projects and activities will bring you knowledge, expand your thinking, increase your creativity and motivation levels. Likewise, it will expand your comfort zone.

Putting aside his political career, I hope the lessons I extracted from Vladimir Putin’s brand strategy will inspire and empower you. Should you have further questions or inquiries regarding personal branding, do not hesitate to contact me or my team at karina@karinaochis.com.

On June 1, 2017

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