Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Blogs elect presidential candidates to best and worst lists

Seth Godin rings in the New Year by selecting Ron Paul and Barack Obama as his "Marketers of the Year":

Both winners built world-famous brands in less than a year of effort. Both paid for their marketing largely through self-liquidating campaigns on the web itself. And neither one of them has a job you will ever likely have. Which makes it even easier to learn from their work as marketers.
And Create Your Communications Experience punches its Communicator of the Year ticket for Mike Huckabee, calling him "amazingly great at thinking (and speaking) on his feet." The rest of CCE's top ten:

2. Dr. Mehmet Oz - "America's Doctor," and "a man of the people - trusted by the people"

3. Al Gore - "the communicator's comeback of the year award"

4. Ben Zander - "a world-renown musician and conductor" and "master at creativity"

5. Maria Bartiromo - "one of the most articulate, attractive and animated TV commentators around"

6. Tony Dungy - coaches some football team, not sure which one

7. Glenn Beck - "really made for TV"

8. Dr. Jim Dobson - " speaks out on unpopular issues with a force and power of content that belays his soft and humble style"

9. Steve Jobs, Guy Kawasaki, Garr Reynolds - special recognition for "power in supporting visuals"

10. Oprah Winfrey - "probably deserves to be on each year's Ten Best Communicators list since she is so good, so versatile, and rather than reinventing herself she builds on what she has already created"

Number 4, Ben Zander, was of specific interest to me because I heard him speak at a conference a few years ago during my short law firm stint. I'd sum up the experience in one word: scary. Zander made those who sat in the back row move to the front row (as Zander says "I invite the back row to come up and sit in the front row in the same spirit in which the government invites you to pay your taxes"), made one audience member sing "Happy Birthday" while standing on a chair in the front of the room (and then had the audience return the favor), and openly talked about his personal and professional failures (two divorces and an early end to his career as a cellist). The reason Zander is so effective, however, is that scary is precisely how he wants to be perceived: his goal is to take the artifice out of communication while making the audience confront its fears. To fully appreciate Zander's approach, check out the 8 min. video on the CCE page, or the short clip at the bottom of this page on his website.

While CCE was lauding the talents of Zander and others, they also took time to put together a list of "The Ten Worst Communicators of 2007, judging Alberto Gonzalez to be the worst of the worst. Fred Thompson also joins the hall of shame at #6, so it will be interesting to see how he, Huckabee, Obama, and Paul fare in Iowa on Thursday.

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