Wedge Issue Branding

What we can learn about building a brand from unlikely sources.

Standing Out in a Showdown

It’s not fun to talk about politics when you’d much rather talk about cool brands and killer ads, but now that my nail-biting is over and the government is not going to shut down – at least for the moment, it seems reasonable to examine the politicians of today to see what brand lessons we can take anything away from the latest showdowns. 

Politicians are the best at branding.

In Speaker Kevin McCarty’s effort to get his caucus to work together and keep the government open, Gaetz said repeatedly that McCarthy was giving in to the Democrats.

Gaetz said that Biden "continues to take Speaker McCarthy's lunch money" on Monday as he made a motion to vacate the Speaker from his post. He said, "The American people deserve to know who governs them.”

Meanwhile, there are 534 other people in Congress who probably also have an opinion, but this week, Representative Matt Gaetz is cutting through the noise. Taking it a step further, any congressperson does hours of work, produces stacks of documents, and probably attends countless events. But you hear about the sensational moments and the key messages. Gaetz is certainly doing more than just protesting the Speaker. But he always leads with that message in every interview and every social media post. 

That’s the idea. 

Clarity and Persistence

That's what it takes to establish your brand positioning—a consistent opening message. Let’s look at the Republican candidates hoping to make some headway in a bid for President.

Vivek Ramaswamy points out the country is divided and questions the standard orthodoxy. Nikki Haley’s goal is to attack Vivek as a lightweight. Chris Christie’s is to attack Trump for his actions. Pence's is to pause and say something about the Constitution. 

Sure, they say a lot more, but they lead with the same message every time. It sets the tone. It creates their brand. By being clear and persistent, they rise above the counterpoints of their competition. 

Politicians can teach us a lot about branding. But we’re better than politicians. We’re brand managers. We make money by creating stories and selling products. We make a difference. We're changing the world. 

Well, maybe. But I still think we’re better than politicians, at least a little. Regardless of your views, we can learn something from politicians. We need to remember two things when we put our message out there.

  • Clarity
  • Persistence

If you want to be known for something, you have to lead with that message.

Clearly and persistently. Every time. Over and over.

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