By Alagi Yorro Jallow
Everyone is gifted in speaking from both sides of the mouth. To succeed, it is a talent you must learn, if it did not come as a gift from nature. The more famous or powerful you appear, the more volume to wiggle your tongue either way on issues. We flip flop on issues depending on the size of the pay check or self-interest.
This trait is alive and well in our politicians and professionals as well as many “know nothings” roaming the streets: It’s often said in marketing and advertising that people don’t buy what they like. They buy what they recognize. Since we are now at the finish line, it should be of vital importance to spend diligent time and energy reflecting and understanding how we got “here” in the first place. “Anger is a high-arousal emotion, which drives people to take action,” George Owens. “It makes you feel fired up, which makes you more likely to pass things on.”
If you look at Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang’s entire interview with Fatu Network, and the emotional components she built her brand upon, regardless of how you feel about the outcome you must admit she executed this masterfully. At every step, her headlines stirring controversy.
In every publication, her misnomers were parodied.
This is what happens when excessive intellectual acumen rains on cabbages with the intensity of sunlight. In this interview, the line of questioning makes Fatu Network journalist acting at the behest of the former Vice President. This interview has a certain objective. You can tell who is pulling the strings behind the scenes by the quality of the questions. To portray and allowing Fatoumatta Jallow Tambajang to sell her agenda as champion or change agent of ousting a dictator without focus on bigger public interest theme, it is no longer about a country but her accomplishment at the United Nations but failed to explain what she has done for Gambian women as Vice president and women’s affairs and her own citizens.
From every media outlet, channel and platform, her persona was continuously reinforced. So, what does this teach us about Personal Branding?
I am not saying that Fatoumatta’s tactics or interview messages are the primary takeaway, however I am saying it is worthwhile to look at the underlying strategy. When it comes to content, it must be rooted in emotion. Everyone wants to know how to attract attention. Everyone wants to know “how to go viral.” Everyone wants to know how to “stand out from the crowd.
Look at the biggest upset in political history as a case study. There is a gold mine of information in this special interview.
People may not be shocked her bouncing back in government because what she was saying seemed so simple. “The President is a good man.”
But there is a phrase in business, and a wise one at that: “Simplicity is velocity.” (To quote a mentor of mine.)
Fatoumatta’s messaging was the epitome of simple–and it was also extraordinarily effective. Even amidst her past hurricanes of bad press, she stuck to her message. She stuck to the script. And somehow, she found her way to the other side.
When it comes to branding yourself, or your business, there is a huge amount of truth to the power of simplicity. People need to know what you are all about, instantaneously. And if there is one element of sending messages Fatoumatta succeeded at, it was sticking to her simple message. “My integrity. My professional experience, my faith in Allah SWT, I believed in prayers, as a woman, a mother.” So, what does this teach us about brand building?
Fatoumatta effectively latched on to just about every major event during the coalition to ensure her name is constantly referenced. That’s why, from the very beginning. And then she moved closer. And closer. And closer.
And it became abundantly clear that she was not just “being entertaining.” She was, very deliberately, securing her position, building her name, and spreading her message in a way that works effectively.
Politics aside, in coming months will be fascinating period regarding personal branding and the ability to generate press, stand out, and ultimately build a following.
The gravitas of this interview is anchored on propaganda, personality and image branding about Fatoumatta to return, irrespective of the bureaucratic impediments placed before her.