Seven Marketing Lessons from the Political Playground

The Political Playground (this looks painful)
What can marketers learn from politicians?

I am a political junkie. I don’t watch sports but prefer the back and forth of politics instead. I think the part that intrigues me beyond the policy issues is watching personal brand management issues.  How do you reach a target audience with a clear and simple message that resonates with an audience?  Here are seven observations and lessons:

BE REAL: You want to position your competitor before they position you. Don’t let someone else define you. You only get to occupy one place in your audience's mind. I wish more politicians would be more authentic and demonstrate this is how they campaign. 

BE RESPECTFUL:  Don’t over complicate your message. This isn’t about dumbing things down- it is about clarity. Honor your audience or customer with a genuine and original thought. A simple, crisp statement reinforced over and over is powerful. Think of a laser beam and the power from its focus. Tone is so important in effective communications and branding. 

DEMONSTRATE CONFIDENCE:  Don’t keep changing who you are and what you say to fit different audiences. Be confident in your message so that you don't have to be a weather vane moving with the wind. Your message won’t appeal to everyone but no one likes a person or a product that tries to do too many things. Be a paring knife not a Swiss army knife.

SHOW CURIOSITY: Be interesting in your approach to ideas and solutions. Don't follow the crowd. Show some natural wonder so that others can see you have an appetite for insights and a strong desire to learn. 

BE REMARKABLE:   We all want to deal with human beings not answering machines, robots or computers. How can you make what you do incredibly special? Share with us a vision and your view of how you (politician) or product (brand) can take us somewhere great. We all love to be lead with hope. Don’t fake stuff for photo stunts like showing up at a soup kitchen and pretend to work. Potential customers or voters smell your B.S. a mile away. What can you do or say that is truly special? Be real. Be authentic. Be remarkable. 

DEMONSTRATE SHARING: What is in it for me? Sell me on the benefits of what you have to offer, not all the details of the features. I care about what I will get out of voting for you or buying your product. Think of emotional benefits as sticky glue connecting you to politicians or products. Be someone who shares. 

I often wonder why no politician has ever said that he/she won't run any ads for themselves. And that all of their ad spending would be in support of non-profit causes that illustrate their interests. It would be so different and refreshing. 

GO BEYOND TODAY:  We want relationships and products to last. Help me see the long-term advantage of working with you or your products. Give me some perspective of why my investment in time and/or money will pay off over the long haul. 

Politicians and brands need to be marketed. You have to get the word out about what you stand for, believe in and the benefit you offer. Why not try being authentic, respectful, confident, sharing, curious, confidence and with a vision beyond today? 

Maybe this is too politically incorrect. Hope not.  

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