Last night’s GOP debate was a downright brutal, even ugly, slugfest. But did such apparent lack of presidential decorum really hurt the GOP brand going into the 13-state election/caucus this coming “Super Tuesday”?
Every smart business owner ought to be watching the events of the next 4 days very carefully. There’s likely no better example of how your brand can move quickly than you’ll see in these next 4 days in both the Republican and Democratic Party. Each party’s candidates, with just one utterance, can lead his or her chances to big victory or plunge them to permanent defeat.
Each candidate’s performance represents an individual battle for the brand health of his or her respective political party. The GOP and Democratic Party has each taken a decidedly different approach in attempting to manage their brands. If we were analyzing it from a marketing and product branding perspective, that analysis might look as follows:
- Republican Party: A very open, market-based approach featuring many products (candidates) all put out on the market at the same time. These products compete with each other, sometimes directly. Some even cannibalize the markets of others. Consumer response (polls) to each brand is constantly monitored, and is used as the ultimate determining factor of whether or not that product represents the company’s brand long term. The product earning the highest consumer acceptance (votes) will represent the company’s brand.
- Democratic Party: Careful, even deliberate pre-marketing of products, with the objective of seeing if they improve or hurt the current brand. Less products tested, with more focus on each product. Consumer response to one product (Bernie Sanders) has caused them to consider altering the direction the party’s brand is headed. They retain the right to control that trajectory, however, by ignoring (superdelegates) consumer acceptance of a product they feel may not adequately represent their brand. The CMO (Debbie Wasserman Schultz), however, has been very careful in public comments to reserve the right to change the brand’s definition.
Whether business owners want to admit it or not, the Democratic Party’s approach is the conventional one. The Republican Party’s approach is a more modern branding tactic, although the GOP is doing it on a much larger scale than current “Lean Startup” principles would suggest. Business owners who worry about brand movement should pay close attention to what happens the next 4 days.