With all the great debate swirling around primaries and parties this season, I have become oddly intrigued by a rather unusual issue, one that has absolutely nothing to do with my politics. My point of obsession has become Mitt Romney’s jeans. His jeans have become a ubiquitous fashion choice for him at nearly all stumping events. And, through each appearance, I find myself screaming at the television set, “Change your pants, Mitt!”
Why do I care so much about Mitt’s pants? It’s simple, really. He seems uncomfortable in them. Ultimately, this is probably not a man who is accustomed to wearing jeans all that often, and it shows.
I know his campaign trail attire is likely a political ploy hatched by some PR person just like me who thinks Mitt’s choice of pants will make him look more down-to-earth and better fit the image of a man of the people. I think a nice pair of dress slacks or khakis would be a much better choice for a man whose strength is his business acumen. Somehow, his wearing something a little more formal would ring truer to me and look a lot less feigned. I believe people connect better with a man in his own element than someone trying too hard to be like them.
This brings me to my larger point. Companies often try to use marketing to wear different pants – portray an image somewhat counter to or at least a stretch away from what they really are. Generally, they learn a painful lesson when this rings somewhat hollow in the marketplace.
So, the next time you are considering a new ad campaign or brand image, I urge you to put on your big-boy pants. Focus on who and what your company is at its core and where your strengths lie and own that with all your might. A smaller company with less advanced technology should focus on its ability to be more service-driven high-touch. A tech leader should focus on streamlining processes and delivering game-changing tools. Give yourself home field advantage by refusing to play another company’s game and find out how much easier it is to win.
Remember, where marketing is concerned, image can be everything, but you need to be comfortable in your own skin first.