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My Bologna Has a First Name… It’s Carlos.

My Bologna Has a First Name… It’s Carlos.

Anyone remember that jingle from Oscar Mayer? If you were born in the sixties you do.

So, let’s play a game. I’ll give you a topic: Branding: Anthony Weiner vs. Oscar Mayer. Compare and contrast. Go!

Okay, maybe not (with apologies to Oscar). But I do think the Weiner fiasco has some lessons to teach us (again) about branding. Most are common sense. Most of us already know them, but it never hurts to be reminded now and then. Some of us (Carlos) seem to require repetitive lessons.

1) Trust is a very hard thing to win, and a very easy thing to lose. Remember <insert your favorite brand failure here>?

2) If you screw up, you can likely re-earn trust over time by first coming clean, apologizing and making things right — because everybody likes a story of redemption. (From my earliest days in the business, the universally understood crisis communications rules have been pretty straightforward: 1) Tell the truth. 2) Tell it fast. 3) Tell it ALL.)

3) If you screw up again, see #2. Maybe there’s still hope.

4) If you screw up again, pack it up and head home. You’re done. Really. Done.

Is Anthony Weiner a brand? Yes, absolutely. Politicians can become a sort of brand precisely because they convey a promise, which is what all good brands do. Tide promises to get clothes clean. Honda promises an affordable and reliable car. The Four Seasons promises the best accommodations on the planet.

Politicians promise to be trustworthy and hardworking public servants. What Weiner seems to have forgotten is that he doesn’t own his brand. The people do.