New Jersey Governor Chris Christie was once criticized for being on vacation during a snowstorm while Newark Mayor Cory Booker helped residents shovel the streets.
Christie may not have the 1.2 million Twitter followers Booker has, but Christie managed to convince his nemesis into doing a Seinfeld-inspired comedy sketch posted on YouTube (just replace ”Booker!” with ”Newman!”).
The result is two politicians from opposing political parties, who could be up for election against each other next year, showing other politicos that it’s possible to disagree, agreeably, and have a sense of humor.
The key to the collaboration was that the video humanized both Booker and Christie.
Booker received national attention last month when he saved a women from a burning building. The video plays up Christie’s jealousy of Booker’s heroic acts while revealing the trump card that Christie has over Booker – national attention in the vice presidency sweepstakes.
In commerce and politics alike, it is safer to talk about differences. Companies tend to get little exposure, so they like to show their best side whenever they can. But as social media allows for more intimate connections, authenticity can make a brand — or a politician — seem more trustworthy.
Booker notes that people tweet to him quicker than they will call 311 for general city issues such as a leaning streetlight. From technology companies to local businesses on Twitter, the trend is the same — it’s easier to post a tweet with a complaint rather than finding the support phone number, and often faster to get the issue resolved.
Twitter founder Jack Dorsey has praised Booker for his use of the social media platform.
Buzzfeed calls Booker ”a singular glimpse at the future of political life on the social web.”
Booker says he doesn’t plan to mute the transparency he maintains on Twitter — complete with apologies, joking and rooting for local sports – if he continues his rise to national figure. He sees tweeting as an opportunity to speak directly to constituents, to break news and to shape the media.
The same user engagement that propelled Booker from local politician to national role model can enable companies to develop a beloved brand.
And taking a page from Booker and Christie, a friendly rivalry between competitors can occasionally highlight both more effectively than each might be able to do on their own.