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Opinion

?Branding Bag? Marketers For Charity Opinion

The Death Of Supremacy

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A few weeks ago, about 40 Christian evangelical leaders met in Salt Lake City to discuss a branding dilemma.They believe it’s in the best interest of brand USA to nominate a social conservative to lead their Republican Party into the upcoming elections. The problem is that they’ve given up on authentically principled conservatives, like Mike Huckabee and Sam Brownback, because they’re too far behind in the polls. To have any chance of beating the amoral Democrats, they’ll have to support a morally deficient front runner, like the thrice-married, pro-choice, gay-friendly Giuliani.

It appears that evangelicals are confused, and not simply about how to vote. They’re stuck in the age of supremacy, believing that behavior is best influenced through a patriarchal approach. They see the Government as the father, which must create and enforce policy that will ultimately shape the conduct of its children. They hope to grow a strong, socially conservative brand America from the top-down, through edict and control. It reminds me of the antediluvian thinking of many of today’s business leaders: brand growth through controlled rhetoric.

Behavior as Communication

In his 1971 book Silent Messages, Dr. Albert Mehrabian revealed the importance of the verbal, vocal and visual elements on communications believability. The verbal cues – what was actually being said – were dominant only seven percent of the time, the vocal 38 percent of the time, and the visual cues were the primary carrier of trust and believability, a whopping 55 percent of the time. Communications experts subsequently grabbed those insights and played up the fact that human beings are primarily visual creatures. And that’s true. But it totally misses the good doctor’s point.

What Mehrabian’s research really tells us is that people are persuaded primarily by behavior.

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