Millions knew him as Mayor, but anyone in business knew him better as the consummate negotiator, dealmaker and marketer. Ed Koch died February 1, 2013, leaving behind both a political and marketing legacy. With his trademark “How’m I doing?” question to his constituents, Koch was able to make people believe he was a man who cared about and understood them. His personal charm, humility and networking skills made him a man of the people politically. His personal branding, rough edges and all, made him the powerful marketer—able to make deals and sell people on his vision for New York City. As he often said, “Deals are my art form.”
I met Koch once, about 10 years back. The first thing I noticed was how seriously tall he was. He towered over me. All the years before then, I thought he was only 5 feet tall, if he was lucky. And therein lies a great lesson. Koch was the master at branding himself as one of the people—as a regular guy who was no “bigger” than anyone else, even though he actually was. And because of that, we connected with him, and liked him as he led us (through the turnaround of New York City).
In your own branding, lead us by showing how you're one of us. Don’t tell us how great you are and how much better you are—tell us how you're like us, then through your actions show us how great you really are. Lead us.