JCL Blog

Respecting Followers

True leaders respect their followers. I have always been struck by celebrities that disdain their audience members.  "Followers" has an updated meaning now that we call the people that follow us on Twitter followers.  

Maybe David Letterman started it, but the number of celebrities that are plainly complaining about their fans really makes me scratch my head.  If fans or followers make the celebrity, wouldn't the celebrities customer be the fan?  Without customers...

Politicians are really the neediest of celebrities when it comes to followers because they need their followers to vote. Another thing that struck me about Game Change (see my review yesterday) was the way some of the candidates do not respect their constituents at all.  At times they plainly showed how little respect they had for them.  John Edwards really took the cake in the book when we went from saying "They love me!" to his staff after a good speech to "They looooove me!" with an eye roll.  

The idea with a brand is to build a relationship with a customer that is larger than a single transaction.  Brands have followers just like celebrities and politicians and just as strangely, some customers continue to buy from brands even when they are showed no respect at all.

Yesterday I was listening the Advertising Show podcast where Rose Cameron, Euro RSCG Strategy Chief, was asked about the difference between the US and British advertising markets.  Her answer?  In Great Britain advertisers have a "real respect for the intellect of their audience".  In America we continue to buy from companies that have little or no respect for us or our intelligence.  

When it comes to politicians, celebrities or brands there are plenty of strange things to marvel at, but for me the strangest is how people continue to follow those that clearly have no respect for them.


Book Review: Game Change by Halperin and Heilemann

For me the Game Changer was Sarah Palin.  How any serious contender for president of our country could pass her off as a qualified candidate was more than I could accept.  And I was firmly in the McCain camp too.  The account in Game Change put her vetting by the McCain staff at five days, which only reinforced my decision.  How any 69 year old candidate for the highest office could spend only five days evaluating someone who could have authority over the nukes -- and still claim to be a serious person is beyond me.  Someday I hope to be a Republican again.  I believe that less government is better, the gun thing is disturbing but manageable, and I will count on the Supreme Court to maintain a woman's access to all birth control options.  If the Republican party can regain some discipline and honestly face our challenges -- they can win back my vote.

Here are my take aways from the book:


  1. Barack Obama was the only serious candidate (or person) in the race.  Edwards, Giuliani, McCain, Clinton, Palin, and all the rest come off as seriously flawed and unfit people.
  2. Discipline, discipline, discipline.  Over and over Obama demonstrated his willingness to face his own issues and work hard to win.
  3. Michelle Obama is a force to be reckoned with and the only spouse in the book that was not a liability.
  4. The media has very little interest in providing the voter with the information necessary to make a considered decision.


If the authors are to be believed, and I have to wonder who can be believed anymore, Barack Obama is a capable and well intentioned person -- and by far the best of the choices we had for our President.  So in that respect maybe our democratic/electoral process actually worked. 

Here are some other book reviews you may find interesting:

The New York Times

The Washington Post

The Economist

The Huffington Post

You can buy the book from Amazon here.

A note on my book reviews:  You may think I have never met a book I did not like.  In fact I read a fair number of books that I would just as well forget and I do not write reviews of them.  I call these book reviews, but I really think of them as notes of impressions I had while reading that I don't want to forget.  I put in the links to the other reviews so you can get real critical thinking about the work from some true professionals.