Ocasio-Cortez and Trump – Lessons in Personal Branding

4 Min Read

One might think that Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (the youngest Congresswoman ever elected to Congress) and Donald Trump have nothing in common. But, from where I stand, they do. Sure, one grew up with some rough family and financial difficulties and the other grew up with wealth. One had small donations for her political campaign and the other was self-funded and had large political contributions. One is a self proclaimed “democratic socialist” and the other is quite “conservative and Republican”.

Capturing Attention.

However, what they both have in common, whether they know it or not, is the ability to capture attention and call attention to their brand.

When one considers the “average” politician, they’re just that–“average”. They don’t cause too many waves and do things just like every other elected official does. Not Ocasio-Cortez or Trump.

Just last week (as of this writing), Ocasio-Cortez was mocked for her dancing, in a college video.  However she EMBRACED it and did a quick twirl of a dance right in front of her Congressional office.

Method of Communication.

Sure, Ocasio-Cortez is a fresh face and has spunk but she’s clearly using that to her advantage and embracing social media (lots of behind the scenes video), speaking out, and being quite “unconventional”. This is causing some discomfort amongst her own Democrat colleagues and, of course, Republicans.

She uses her Instagram liberally with floods of stories and posts. Much like President Trump uses his Twitter account.

In the case of Donald Trump, out of a field of 12 Republican contenders for the Republican Presidential 2016 nomination, he beat them. All (or most) were seasoned politicians, except for him. I don’t think it was his IDEAS that were so revolutionary, but it was HOW he communicated them.  One of his signature tactics (for better or for worse) was giving his rivals names

  • “Little Marco Rubio”,
  • “Low Energy Jeb”, or
  • “Lyin’ Ted” to name a few.

These things got the attention of the media and earned him, what I assume is millions of dollars of “free” publicity and, most importantly, attention.


Even how they look. Trump has an orange hue to his skin and a very unique way he combs his hair. Just flip on the TV and you’ll see dozens of actors impersonating him all over the world.

Ocasio-Cortez’s glasses are easily caricatured, and she has her signature hoop earrings. She even wore her earrings proudly to her first day in Congress. Leaving the ball in the court of SNL for a parody.

Lessons Learned.

So what can you learn from these two rabble-rousing elected officials?

Remember, you’re business is not special. A dentist, accountant, web designer, technology consultant, etc are a DIME A DOZEN. But what YOU can do is show how you’re different and communicate it to your audience.

Does the look of your design truly POP?

Are you amazing with your customers?

Is it the fun way your employees answer the phone?


What makes you special and different?

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Ramon Ray, founder and editor Smart Hustle Magazine. Entrepreneur, best selling author and global keynote speaker.