at the intersection of brands, media and culture

Candidate transparency

In Political Strategy on November 15, 2007 at 10:39 am

The marketing of politics has always been of particular interest to me since it so closely mirrors business marketing. Business marketing pioneered the use of focus groups and online surveys to distill information and inform brand and product messaging but within the last 5 years or so I believe it has fallen behind.

Political parties have gained access to better and stronger means to identify voters, bucket them, understand the issues that matter to them and determine the appropriate media to reach them. The Bush and Clinton brands (and yes, they are “brands”) are as strong as any business brand in that voters feel as though they have a real idea of what they stand for. By contrast, I still don’t understand what Coke stands for even though it has been around far longer.

The other major leap ahead that political parties took was in identifying voters based on their commitment to the brand and likelihood to change intelligences. This classified voters as ‘committeds’ and ‘undecideds’ and put consultants and candidates on the offensive to sway undecideds while maintaining their committed base.

Now comes along a neat little application called that lets you weigh in on a number of issues and matches you up with the candidate whose voting records and position papers best represent your point of view. It’s the type of application that underdogs love because it makes some undecideds aware that the candidate is the user’s “real choice.” Front-runners dread it, because for all the thoughtful, target-specific messaging that gets expounded in speeches and debates, this helpful little tool isolates the issues and reveals a more definitive and truthful (?) position– one that isn’t based on name recognition, charisma or what your husband’s been up to the last 6 years.

  1. […] thedistillery put an intriguing blog post on Candidate transparencyHere’s a quick excerpt […]

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