The Blake Project, the brand consultancy behind Branding Strategy Insider, delivers interactive brand education workshops and keynote speeches designed to align marketers on essential concepts in brand management and empower them to release the full potential of the brands they manage.
Category: Political Brand Strategy
Of the many lessons the successful Obama campaign taught brand marketers, one has been largely overlooked. It is this: the current Big Data ramp-up in marketing database infrastructure needs to be focused on winning at the margins.
Stories about the campaign’s voter database continue to dominate post-election coverage of Obama’s victory. These stories are filled with fascinating details about the fusion of disparate databases, the profiles constructed of individual voters, the likelihood scores assigned to each individual, the targeted phone calls made and the frequency of making them, and the experiments conducted to optimize the framing of Obama’s message to voters. But few of these stories describe, or even recognize, the most valuable purpose of these efforts, which was to sway and motivate voters at the margins.
There were two such marginal effects the Obama campaign needed to accomplish. The first was to get the Obama constituency to the polls. Romney’s campaign made a huge bet that Obama would fail to get the vote out among his strongest constituencies, and thus the final distribution of actual voters would wind up in Romney’s favor. As it turns out, this was a very bad gamble. The Obama campaign was able to use its data infrastructure to turn out likely Obama voters at the margins who, otherwise, would probably have not gone to the polls.
The second effect was to persuade many of those on the fence to vote for the President. Again, this was a marginal effect, one of winning over the next voter, and then the one after that and the one after that, etc., with each successive voter a little harder to convince than the one before.Read More
This is the second of three posts on the brand marketing lessons to be learned from the recently-concluded Presidential election. The first can be found here.
There is one thing in particular about the recent election results that Baby Boomers should take care not to overlook. The world Boomers live in nowadays is no longer their own.
This is to say that, as a group, Boomers voted one way; young people voted another. Exit polling data from Pew found that 60 percent of voters under 30 voted for President Obama while only 48 percent of voters 30 and older voted that way. Contrast this with 1980. Reagan captured 56 percent of the under-30 vote, along with 62 percent of the 30-and-over vote. In other words, in 1980, young Boomers, as a group, voted the same way as their parents. Not so in 2012.
This generational divergence was first seen in the 2004 race between Kerry and Bush. In that year, 54 percent of under-30 voters voted for Kerry versus 47 percent of over-30 voters. But it has only been in the last two elections with Obama that the political preferences of young people have overwhelmed those of older voters.
As far back as McGovern versus Nixon in 1972, young people and older people have swung the same way politically (with the one exception of Clinton versus Dole in 1996), barely differing in proportions in most elections. No longer. In the last three Presidential elections, young voters have marched to a completely different drummer, and now older voters must make do in a world at odds with their overall preference.
The sort of ascendance of Millennials is an unprecedented generational phenomenon. Boomers came of age with new values but the same politics as older people; so, too, GenX. Millennials are the first generation since the end of WW2 to start off with a completely different politics than their elders, and they are doing so in such numbers that their preferences are dictating terms for everyone else.
What is true of politics is true of brand marketing as well.Read More
Now that the dust has settled some after this year’s U.S. Presidential election, a critical imperative for brand marketers stands out. For all the hoopla of late about data, digital, diversity and nudges, none of these much-ballyhooed marketing innovations matter until old-timey fundamentals have been taken care of first.
President Obama’s successful reelection campaign is a reminder that whatever you’re selling or how, it starts with the most basic thing of all – a great brand positioning.
The stories hot off the presses about Obama’s success have focused on the nifty new stuff. The data and digital angle has emphasized the campaign’s high-tech use of Big Data and the predictive models developed to classify and prioritize voters for fund raising, ad targeting and get-out-the-vote efforts. The diversity angle has focused on Obama’s disproportionate margins among the nation’s fastest growing demographic groups, particularly Hispanics (and the challenges this presents going forward for the Republican party). The nudges angle has highlighted the campaign’s utilization of insights from behavioral economists and social psychologists about the best ways to persuade and motivate people. But these stories, while true, overlook the most important element of Obama’s campaign.
In a New York Times op-ed the day after the election, Obama’s lead pollster, Joel Benenson, took exception to these narrowly focused accounts of the campaign’s success. As he put it, “the president’s victory was a triumph of vision, not of demographics.” Or to put it in brand marketing terms, a great brand positioning.Read More