Friday, May 04, 2007

Presidential Candidate "Branding"

If you click here, you will go to a website that is studying the various presidential candidates both Democratic and Republican from a "branding" viewpoint. It is a website created by two companies that have joined up on this project. This is from the home page of the site:

Branding. It’s nothing new. In fact, “branding” is a clear example of business jargon that has penetrated popular culture. From package goods to pop stars, everything and everyone has a unique brand. However, understanding the nuances of a brand is first recognizing that a brand isn’t just a collection of logos or slogans or trademarks.

A brand is all about consumer experience represented by a collection of images and ideas that help to uniquely differentiate products or services that appear to be identical.

Brand preferences and other reactions are created by the accumulation of encounters, both directly relating to its use, and through the influence of messaging, advertising, design and public relations.

What could this mean for American politics? Arguably, candidates no longer run as themselves, they run as an extension of who the American public perceives them to be.

One of the areas in which Republicans have been ahead of Democrats is applying marketing principles to political campaigns and political communications. "Branding" is one such concept. We need to make sure that our candidates "brand" themselves before Republicans "brand" them.

What Karl Rove tries to do is to convince voters that his candidates' opponents are not acceptable alternatives to his candidates. Thus, even if voters don't like his candidates, they will still vote for them, or, perhaps not vote. Either way, his candidate is in a better position. So, while he is trying to build a positive brand for his candidate he is busy trying to tarnish the brand of the opponent.

This is why talk radio and Fox News have been so important for the Republicans. They are media institutions that both build up the Republicans' brand and tear down the Democrats' brand. What we need to do with blogs is the same thing, that is, tear down the Republican "brand" and build up the Democratic "brand."

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