President Zuckerberg: Politics, brand management and the media

The possible presidential aspirations of Mark Zuckerberg have been one of the more consistent political stories of the last few months. Despite denials from the Facebook CEO, the publication of a lengthy manifesto on ‘global community’ in February meant that many people have speculated as to Zuckerberg’s ambitions. So can media analysis help us identify the strategies behind Zuckerberg’s brand management?

The data

To find this out, we analysed the extent to which media articles from around the world mentioned Zuckerberg in connection with the presidency. This meant that we scanned more than 10,000 articles between December 1st and February 21st. We saw two prominent spikes, which are detailed below:


1: Zuck speaks out on refugees (28th-30th January)

On the 29th January, Zuckerberg issued his first rebuttal of President Trump’s immigration policy. He stated that closing America’s doors to migrants from seven countries “would make all Americans less safe”. This pronouncement led to a substantial upswing in global media coverage, with press mentions topping 500 on the 28th January.

2: ‘Global community’ manifesto issued (17th February)

Under a month after commenting on Trump’s immigration ruling, Zuckerberg publicised a lengthy treatise on the future of Facebook. In particular, the piece concentrated on Facebook’s role in connecting people and communities. This was perceived by many commentators as a clever piece of strategic brand management. Quartz said that the message was “something like a State of the Union address”, clearly alluding to Zuckerberg’s possible presidential ambitions.

Our data shows that the essay created a huge spike in media coverage mentioning Zuckerberg in connection to the presidency. In all, more than 700 articles and broadcasts covered the topic on February 17th. Was this the Facebook CEO’s intention? Either way, a wave of press was generated around the release of the statement, giving a boost to Zuckerberg’s political profile.

We know that running for president is a marathon, not a sprint. Potential candidates must manage how they are perceived by the public over long periods – and the same goes for companies. Being able to track the reception of particular stories and events is vital, and doing this in real time is equally important. So to see how Signal can contribute to your brand management strategy, sign up for a free demo.

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