5 reasons why Dr. Anthony Fauci makes a great brand
If you are like me, you’ve had a lot of spare time in the past few weeks, sequestered in your home, social distancing and consuming loads of media on the COVID-19 pandemic. Your choices of activities include cleaning the closet, walking the dog (again), scrolling through Facebook, starting the cocktail hour early, or watching more news. Sometimes, the latter two go hand in hand.
In my free time, I’ve done a lot of thinking, and one of the things I’ve been mulling is that Dr. Anthony Fauci makes a great brand. It may strike you as an odd thought. He’s the renowned infectious disease expert at the forefront of fighting COVID-19 in the United States. He has no time, and possibly no interest, in thinking about himself as a brand. Yet, what he’s done the past six weeks, in addressing our nation’s health crisis, models 5 essential strategies that I advise my clients to follow.
- He stays laser focused on his core target audience. Dr. Fauci has many “masters” or constituents to serve: the president, Congress, state governments, doctors, and partner organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. However, his primary target audience is the American people. His “job one” is to keep them healthy and to guide them through this crisis. Yes, he must be cognizant of the needs of his other audiences, and he navigates them adeptly, but by staying laser focused on the American people and what they need (a calm, knowledgeable voice of reason) he ultimately meets the needs of the others.
- He has a compelling story to tell, and he tells it with clarity and simplicity. While his story is often disturbing, it is compelling. Dr. Fauci takes complicated medical jargon, statistics, even widespread rumor, and boils it all down into simple, digestible facts that real people (his core target audience) can understand. He manages expectations. When the news is not rosy, he doesn’t sugar coat it. When the news is hopeful, he offers pragmatic optimism while not over-promising.
- He is unabashedly authentic. He is what he is: an independent minded, intelligent, straight-talking, scrappy New Yorker with a heavy Brooklyn accent. Reportedly, his independent streak showed up at an early age. Growing up in a neighborhood of Brooklyn Dodgers fans, he was a staunch supporter of the Yankees.
In his current role, he appears independent and fearless. He’s willing to speak the truth, even when the truth is unpopular. In a recent interview, he said, “I served six presidents, and I have never done anything other than tell the exact scientific evidence and made policy recommendations based on the science and the evidence”.
His candor and his expertise make him extraordinarily trustworthy, and that’s what people want in this time of uncertainty.
- He has a servant’s heart. Great brands, like Dr. Fauci, have a higher purpose that drives them. Fauci is passionately committed to his mission, and it shows. He works tirelessly, 20 hours out of every day, to rally this country in efforts to curtail the devastating impact of the disease. He works so hard and talks so much, he has made himself hoarse. His dedication has earned the appreciation of the American people, the medical community and even a hard to please president.
- He stays relevant. He is abreast of the latest developments in the pandemic and appears on multiple talk shows and in press conferences daily to relay what he knows. Yet he is not only relevant in this current crisis, he has managed to be relevant for four decades. Fauci has led the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984 and has advised every president since Ronald Reagan on other major health issues such as AIDs, SARS, MERS, and Ebola.
There are a number of “experts” out there, who could be a focal point for fighting this virus. Why is it that Dr. Fauci is so compelling? Because he, instinctively, follows these five strategies. All brands should aspire to be as differentiated and indispensable to their customers as he is.