Republican presidential candidate Carly Fiorina was fired by tech giant Hewlett-Packard in 2005. The reasons seemed more emotional (boardroom battles), perhaps, than practical: in the six years Fiorina led the company H-P’s annual growth quadrupled. Ms. Fiorina is now running for President of the United States–a job where performance is also often measured by perception and emotion (the “optics”) as much as actual results. (President Obama still claws for approval despite unemployment plummeting and the stock market soaring on his watch.)
Fiorina has much in her story for the emotion marketers to mine and use in her campaign. She has survived breast cancer, seen her adoptive daughter lose a battle with drug addiction, and fought against sexism in the boardroom throughout her life. Fiorina is undeniably smart. She’s also well-educated–which might rub a certain segment of the electorate the wrong way, of course. MIT and Stanford are on Fiorina’s resume. Fiorina lost a senate race in California to Barbara Boxer in 2010. And even that loss might profitably be turned to gold by a savvy campaign team. Before others begin to define her, you can read how Fiorina defines herself in her two books: Rising to the Challenge: My Leadership Journey and Tough Choices: A Memoir.