The brand of Putin and it means today

Tom Dougherty, CEO – Stealing Share

4 March 2014

Don’t think of Putin in simple terms

We try to get all of our clients to resist the temptation of thinking about their brand as being all about themselves. We stress that brand is who target audiences see when they look at your brand. That, in essence, is because the prospect/customer owns the brand as they see it as a reflection of themselves. Hence, audiences buy whom they believe they are.

Look at the brand of Vladimir Putin. We should be careful in the western alliances to dismiss it as a simply a strongman/dictator who is moving Moscow to the fringes of the Euro Zone. Man, it’s more complicated than that.

“Don’t underestimate Putin. Don’t overestimate President Obama. Putin has the power to make his will the law with simply an action.”


PutinThere is a part of the human psyche that really responds to bold moves and leadership— even if it is viewed as reckless. At the end of the day, we would all like to think that WE are bold, driven by confidence and leaders in our quest to bring a sense of order to our own little worlds.

If I am right about this human frailty, we should not be so quick as to dismiss Putin as a reckless totalitarian leader pushing the world onto the brink of armed conflict. I think we have more support in the human underpinnings than we might see at first glance.

I think he has the support of the Russian people who see themselves as important on the world stage and, therefore, see Putin in the same light. His support at home and the support of Russian populations in Ukraine are REAL and deep. I don’t want to label Putin as a 21st Century Adolf Hitler, but just remember the throngs of Austrians who greeted Heir Hitler outside of the palace in Vienna after the Third Reich annexed Austria.

The brand of unflinching and confident leader is a valuable brand because we all seek it, in one way or another. The US saw it in President George W Bush when the US invaded Iraq for the second time and Britain saw it in Churchill during its darkest hours.

Putin. It’s branding.

Some will have a problem with my opinion on this because is sounds as though I am putting Bush, Hitler, Putin and Churchill into the same category. Well, that is my job. I look at brands dispassionately and view their significance in terms of how aligned they are with the needs and wants of the target audience.

Don’t underestimate Putin. Don’t overestimate President Obama. Putin has the power to make his will the law with simply an action. President Obama has to cajole and prod his way to action. So did his predecessor until he was faced with a national crisis that caused the US populace to crave the same brand as Russia now craves in Putin.

Let’s just hope that circumstances free the Western World from the grip of crisis as our only way out.

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