Why Your Brand Has to Align with Your Audience’s Personal Brand


October 12, 2015

david perlmutter

“You have to start the conversation by understanding who you’re having the conversation with.” As a professor and Dean at the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, David D. Perlmutter spends a lot of his time studying, speaking, teaching, and writing about the inflection point we face in building brands and developing audience. Specifically, the relationship between the two. I couldn’t wait to talk with David about all of this on this week’s episode of the On Brand podcast. 

Enjoy This Episode Now

About David D. Perlmutter

David D. Perlmutter is a professor at and Dean of the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University. He received his BA (’85) and MA (’91) from the University of Pennsylvania Annenberg School for Communication and his Ph.D. (’96) from the University of Minnesota. Perlmutter is the author or editor of nine books on political communication, war, and persuasion. He has also written several dozen research articles for academic journals as well as more than 250 essays for U.S. and international newspapers and magazines such as Campaigns & Elections, Christian Science Monitor, Editor & Publisher, Los Angeles Times, MSNBC.com., Philadelphia Inquirer, and USA Today.

Perlmutter has been interviewed by most major news networks and newspapers, from The New York Times to CNN, ABC, and The Daily Show. He regularly speaks at industry, academic, and government meetings and runs workshops on personal and institutional branding via social media and on promotion and tenure in academia.

Episode Highlights

Why corporate brands need to understand personal brands. Perlmutter makes the case that now more than ever “institutional brands need to understand the personal brand of their audience. Take Chipotle for example. We didn’t need another burrito place.” That’s why they focus on the environment and sustainability. That’s important to the personal brand of the socially conscious millennials they serve. We can’t just market at our target audience any more.

Is branding dated? “We still need persuasive branding and communications.” The context has just changed. Instead of focus on branding at our audience we have to co-create with them. “You have to have a mutual engagement with your audience.”

What’s Perlmutter’s take on the 2016 Presidential Election and the role of brands? As an expert in political communication, I couldn’t wait to ask David this. “Trump and Sanders are taking up most of the air space in the room.” While both represent strong, contrarian brands, Perlmutter is concerned as democracies are fragile. “It’s dangerous when we give up on them.” These two poll leaders are “indicative of the dissatisfaction of the electorate.”

What brand has made David smile recently? “Pomona College. They stopped trying to be everything to everyone and instead have focused on being laid back and low pressure, as opposed to the boiler room that most small colleges are.” The results have paid off as Pomona has been rated as the second most desirable small college.

To learn more about David, you can follow him on Twitter and check out his website.

As We Wrap …

Before we go, I want to flip the microphone around to our listeners … Andrew Weber gave us a shout on Twitter about our recent episode focused on employee advocacy featuring Greg Tirico. Thanks for listening!

Did you hear something you liked on this episode or another? Do you have a question you’d like our guests to answer? Let me know on Twitter using the hashtag #OnBrandPodcast and you may just hear your thoughts here on the show.

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Until next week, I’ll see you on the Internet!


Nick Westergaard
Email Brand Driven Digital

is a strategist, speaker, educator, and author of Brand Now: How to Stand Out in a Crowded, Distracted World and Get Scrappy: Smarter Digital Marketing for Businesses Big and Small. He is the Chief Brand Strategist at Brand Driven Digital, an educator at the University of Iowa, and host of the On Brand podcast. More about Nick.


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