Political Marketers, Take a Lesson

Watching political campaigns can be both entertaining and frustrating. It just amazes me that politicians can zig-zag the nation, spend millions of campaign dollars, “win,” and still have approval ratings that would quickly end any company. In the real world, marketers need to operate at a much higher level of professionalism. There is no room for mediocrity, slime or dishonesty.

Differentiate or die
As a devotee of marketing communications, I’m stunned at how ordinary consumer advertising can be. Why do you think Super Bowl advertising is so popular? It’s because television viewers know that it is the one time of year when they will actually see something so unique that people will talk about it for weeks, months or even years.

Are your marketing communications efforts ordinary or do they stand out from the crowd? Are your ads, brochures, web site, and other tools memorable or are the quickly forgotten because they look just like your competitors? At Brand Acceleration, we are always challenging ourselves to produce work that is better, more powerful and more memorable than our last project. Our goal is to produce great work that generates results for our clients. Mediocrity just won’t cut it.

Positively the best
At a time when politicians are working to tear each other down, they seem not to notice that people are hungry for something positive. If companies or communities built their entire marketing campaign around a theme of “They Stink,” they’d be out of business in about two heartbeats. Don’t tell me why they are bad. Tell me why you’re great. Inspire me!

Hey, politicians, here’s how the world really works! Successful marketers listen to their customers and give them what they want. Be the best at what you do, serve your customers well and they will come back again and again.

Beautiful works!
Like it or not, we live in a world where beautiful wins over ugly. Ouch! Beautiful places, architecture, ads, web sites and brochures are much more likely to be seen positively than the ordinary or ugly. Everything else being equal, prospects will usually lean toward the beautifully displayed company or place. The most beautiful place in the world would be at a serious disadvantage if its web site were ugly and unappealing. Sad, but true.

Above all, be honest
Politicians are notorious for saying about anything, true or not, to be elected. In commerce, there is never room for dishonesty or exaggeration. Oh, it happens, but sooner or later the less-than-honest players end up on the ash heap.

Look who’s talking
Like “Sheeple”, people often follow the crowd, selecting products, places and political candidates simply because they’re getting a lot of attention. Through a masterfully orchestrated confluence of advertising, web strategies, public relations and social media marketing, a loud buzz is created. When you’re seen and heard, people will talk and some will follow.

Consider the no-name coffee shop that is across the street from a Starbucks. It may have great coffee but it will struggle to attract the stream of traffic that the Starbucks store enjoys. Does Starbucks have the advantage of great coffee? Maybe. More likely, it’s because Starbucks has a reputation and a following that is fueled by social trends. They have a buzz that transcends product. Starbucks is cool and customers follow “cool.” This explains why politicians are so aggressively using social media. Not just because of its ability to convey a message but because if they’re not using it, they’ll miss the younger voters and they’ll be considered old, out of touch and uncool.

Social media however, can be tricky. It’s not just a matter of creating a Facebook page and postage an endless barrage of promotional messages. Do that and you’ll be unfriended in an instant. Your purpose should be to use social media to become a source of educational, entertaining and useful information. If you can master this delicate balance, your followers will willingly accept your occasional advertising message. We regularly work with clients to develop SoMe (Social Media) plans that work.

Summing it all up
I think it’s fair to say that whether you work for a company, community or even a political candidate, it’s imperative to always run a clean, honest and aggressive marketing effort. In such a competitive and fast-moving environment, there’s no room for slime or mediocrity. Successful marketers will be the ones who step up their game and strive for nothing short of excellence.

What’s your opinion? Here’s your chance to weigh in on these deep thoughts.

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