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Thursday: Political Brand Loyalty

Busy day today.  This will be short.

Yesterday, I posted a couple of videos featuring Australian Jane Caro, a former advertising creative type, now writer.  Go check out those two videos.  Caro’s take on feminism and religion is really funny.

I found another video featuring Jane where the topic was political spin.  Jane’s background in advertising gives her some insight into brand loyalty and what makes a good politician (extends his/her brand loyalty).  Here’s the video, Jane comes in at minute marker 18.20.

Strange.  The guys who had the idea for Occupy Wall Street were also formerly in advertisment and now make it there mission to debunk the ads…

For those of you who want the short summary, here are Jane’s rules of marketing and advertising for political brand loyalty (paraphrased):

1.) Underpromise and overdeliver.
2.) Be voter centered. Convince your voters that you put them first. Take risks in defense of what you believe even if it may cost you personally.
3.) Don’t sacrifice what your core voters always liked about you to buy new voters.
4.) All voting decisions are made emotionally and then post-rationalized. There are two emotions that change behavior: Hope and Fear. If you want to change behaviors, get to know what are the voters’ hopes and fears.
5.) While voting decisions are made emotionally and are post-rationalized, you must give voters ammunition to defend their choice.
Policy is important.
6.) Raise voters’ morale and your own. We want to vote for people who look like they want the job and once they’ve got the job, look like they love the job.
7.) Lower voter anxiety about YOU.
8.) Voters want politicians to love their constituency.

How does Barack Obama perform according to Jane’s rules?  From my observations of his performance and his supporters’ reaction to it, he has violated every one of these rules.

1.)He overpromised and waaaay underdelivered.

2.)He never takes risks in favor of his voters.

3.)He’s dumping the Democratic base to chase independent swing voters.

4.)He has no idea what our hopes and fears are (hint, it’s not about the deficit).

5.)His policies are crap.

6.)He doesn’t look like he loves the job and he allows his Treasury Secretary to tell the nation that their lives are going to get tougher.

7.)He continually caves to his opponents, providing no backstop to their most radical ideas.

8.)And he doesn’t appear to love his constituency. He’s very cool to the people who sacrificed everything to get him into office and he has no qualms about punching the hippies.

In short, he’s been so bad and has violated so many of these rules, that it makes me wonder what the heck is really going on here.  Is he just a pathetically bad politician who is going to take the rest of the party with him when he goes down?  Or is the party sticking with him because they know that it doesn’t matter how bad he is?  Is it possible that the game is already so rigged that Obama could be videoed in boat shoes on some big bastard’s sailboat, swigging single malt scotch and taking bags of cash and it the outcome wouldn’t matter?  Are the anti-democratic forces in our political system so entrenched that there is nothing we can do to dislodge them so they can act with impunity? Or do they just think they are secure? Contrast the Democrats efforts at building brand loyalty with the Republican effort.

There’s a possibility that Obama could start behaving like he actually wanted a second term.  In fact, he almost has to because this is not 2008 and he’s no longer a historic candidate.  Now, he’s just another guy in the White House.  But given his history, why should we trust him if he makes a U turn?  How many people have married the wrong spouses thinking that they can be changed?  It almost never works out.  If the Obama contingent is hoping that Obama’s second term is going to be better than his first, it should take a look at those 8 rules and ask itself if that’s a realistic expectation.  What I find interesting is that Democrats seem to think they deserve the poor treatment they get while Republican voters play hard to get.  The fact that a popular millionaire’s tax is going to be dropped in the budget bill is proof of this.  Republicans punish representatives and senators who raise taxes and those Congresspersons know it.

Or, it can wait until Iowa when we find out who the Republican nominee is going to be.  The Republicans may not like their current choices but they always come around by the end.  And if that person is Romney, all calculations say that Obama will lose.  Maybe he should have spent more time cultivating brand loyalty.