December 10, 2021

Amanda Gorman: The Brand

Amanda Gorman: The Brand

Amanda Gorman, the nation’s Youth Poet Laureate, became an overnight media star when she read her poem “The Hill We Climb” at Joe Biden and Kamala Harris’s inauguration. She went on to become the first person to read poetry at the Super Bowl.

Now she’s turned into an icon for her generation, an emblem of new beginnings—and an economic engine with real staying power, long past the inauguration. Estee Lauder knows it. So does Nike. And so do the other big brands that have lined up to make deals with her. After signing with IMG Models and appearing on the cover of Vogue in Louis Vuitton earlier this year, she’s been in such demand she said she had to turn down about $17 million in sponsorship offers. She didn’t let any of the hoopla distract her from her writing and just released a new poetry collection.

You may be surprised, but as a business leader, I’ve been following how this young, woman poet has captured the public imagination while becoming an in-demand celebrity. For many of us, poetry was something we studied in high school English class and perhaps college, but in an age of Instagram influencers, who would have predicted that a poet would be the subject of so much public attention? She has somehow turned poetry into a mainstream phenomenon, even for those of us in the accounting profession, who tend to get more excited by new tax changes than odes to morning.

Maybe it speaks to the times we live in. Collectively, we continue to live through a long-running public health crisis that has ground down many people’s spirits, and though things are somewhat improved in 2021, it’s not over yet. All you have to do is watch Gorman perform one of her poems, and it’s clear she’s full of life, smart as a whip and the embodiment of a more positive future. And she knows how to leverage high-fashion to get her point across.

Her savvy clearly isn’t lost on chief marketing officers at many of the biggest brands, who spend billions of dollars every year trying to come up with campaigns that exude the energy that bubbles up out of Gorman organically.

Leadership comes in many packages, but all gifted leaders have one thing in common: they know how to bring people together around a common purpose. I believe this talented young woman can inspire many of the most seasoned executives among us, including those who will never write poetry, about how to do just that.

2021 is coming to a rapid end, with just 13 business days left in the year. For those of you procrastinating about year-end tax and business planning, you’re just about out of time. We’re here to help. Let us know what we can do for you.