|How The Oldest Rules In Branding Are Shaping The Presidential Primaries
From the time we get our start in marketing, we learn how people absorb our messages through the irrefutable power of brands: Find a point of difference, create an emotional connection, promise a benefit to the end user.
And is there any place better than the current election cycle to see this playing out in all its glorious, gory detail? I think not. Let’s have a look.
On the Democratic side, there’s a stark contrast between Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. Simply put: Hillary is a pretty good product, but a terrible brand, whereas Bernie is, like Barack Obama before him, burnishing a brand that makes supporters tear up with joy and prospects (you know, “undecideds”) sit up with curiosity. A former first lady, senator, and secretary of state with a long list of accomplishments, Hillary has not figured out that it’s all about us, not her. But it didn’t start out this way.
Hillary’s announcement video titled “Getting Started” did a great job of connecting with Americans on an emotional level. It was a powerful film and is her most watched film on her YouTube channel by 10X (currently at 4.9M views). Today, 10 months after her announcement, many of her speeches (New Hampshire), ads (Children), and campaign slogans (Hillary for America) are about “I”– she’s focusing on her product attributes, not benefits to voters. As far back as 2008, she had a slogan “I’m in it to win it.” What’s that got to do with anything?
A recent CNN article counted the pronoun usage in the speeches made by both democratic candidates after the New Hampshire primary. Hillary used the pronouns “I” or “me” in that speech 44 times. She used the words “we” or “us” less than half that amount — 21 times. For Sanders, it was the exact opposite. Sanders used the words “I” or “me” 26 times. “We” or “us” was used more than twice as much — 54 times.
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This article originally appeared on Forbes.com. You'll find a link to the original after the post.
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