Political Brand Ideas1 Aug 2012
Even for a non-voters like me (I’m still a UK citizen and can’t vote) I’m always incredibly curious to see how politicians try to position themselves as ‘brands’ through compelling ideas and slogans.
While some voters pick a candidate based on who they’d like to go for a beer with, I’m more curious to see what they want to stand for.
By the time Obama won the general election in Nov 2008 both the ‘hope’ and ‘change’ ideas were so ubiquitous, the aided and unaided awareness levels must’ve been off the charts – regardless of whether you were a Democrats, Republicans and Independents.
David Axelrod, Obama’s campaign manager obviously took a cue from Charles Saatchi – the famous ad man who first created the notion of “one word equity” – the idea that you must stand for a word, a single idea in the minds of your audiences.
Former congressman Joe Scarborough – now host of ‘Morning Joe’ on MSNBC – once said that politicians must hammer home a very simple message on the stump until everyone’s sick of it.
Obama’s campaign did this brilliantly in 2008. Both ‘Hope’ and ‘Change’ were stunningly simple, meaningful and memorable. Everyone could understand the message and act on it.
Now the the 2012 election cycle’s in full swing there’s a new war of ideas.
During the Republican primary, Mitt Romney’s ‘Believe in America’ campaign sought to put equal emphasis on the collective potential and spirit of all citizens of the US while evoking the idea that Mitt Romney’s America could be a much better, more prosperous place for all.
Now that Romney is the presumptive nominee his team have created a new idea attacking Obama head-on. Under the clever, double entendre ‘Obama’s not working’ this idea aggressively attacks what it believes are Obama’s failed policies across the board while underscoring a message of what it believes are his poor jobs creation (and job losses) record.
I’ll be watching intently to see whether Romney continues to stick with this idea or revert back to ‘Believe in America’ or perhaps create something new as the fall approaches.
Obama meanwhile is still evaluating his brand idea for 2012 although for now, his campaing has adopted a message of ‘We Can’t Wait’ to underscore both the notion that they are busy creating policies and plans to stimulate the economy and the Republican congressional gridlock.
It’s going to be interesting to see how these ideas spread, because I’ve now got a real reason to be interested: this week, I get my US citizenship and can vote for the very first time on November 6.