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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Branding Lessons From The Political Front

Today's the day. Finally. As of Wednesday, no campaign ads, emails, mobile texts.

So what are some lessons healthcare and healthy lifestyle brands can take away from the battle of the last two political brands standing?

Ride the wave. Obama was handed on a silver platter an obvious case for change. At the same time, many deemed the competitive Republican brand to be lagging behind the times. Obama's team did a tremendous job of staying on point and seizing the moment.

Own a word (as Al Reis pointed out years ago, it's a powerful strategy). Obama scripted "Change" into his vocabulary from day one. It was his brand theme. And it was ubiquitous. McCain began as the "Experience" candidate. He then co-opted "Change" and tried to make it his own. Before he became the "Maverick." Witness the results.

Keep it simple. Like "America is ready for Change." Doesn't get much better than this.

It's rarely about "functional" features and benefits. Evidence the talk about wardrobe spend, multiple (but too numerous to remember) homes, the demeanor of a presidential-looking candidate, and the demeanor of someone who is not. It's rarely about rational arguments, but rather how we make people feel while they're in our presence.

Execute Brilliantly. One candidate never waivered. Was consistent in his style and tone. Brilliant in his execution from start to finish. The other was not.

Relevance alone doesn't win the day. But "different" and relevant will. Both candidates were relevant. But one was also different. Only one provoked a response of "that's what I'm hungry for."

Build A Community of Evangelists. Witness the thousands of people attending Obama rally's. The thousands of first-time volunteers. The tremendous use of social media to generate conversations, collaboration and community. Beyond their war chest of funds, Obama's team was so much more in tune with their consumers motivations, expectations and practices.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't vote for Obama, but I will say that he executed a brilliant marketing campaign - one that should change the way political campaigns are run in the future.

    I was recently traveling in Italy and walked past a large poster for Obama in the small town of San Gimignano. The poster had a picture of Obama (looking like a beacon of hope, of course), and (in Italian) the words "The World Changes." The brand of Obama - and his promises for change - has resonated around the world.

    We all know the saying "With great power comes great responsibility." Well, with great promises comes great expectations. Just as consumers expect their brands to deliver - someone who buys a Volvo expects safety and reliability, someone who buys a North Face jacket expects durability and warmth - people who voted for Obama expect change. Obama has made some big promises and the world is watching, waiting to see if he will deliver.