Politicians are brands, and fast-changing ones at that. Brand maven Alan Siegel, the chairman and CEO of Siegel+Gale, has put out some thoughts on what Barack Obama can do to regain the momentum he lost in his primary defeats this week.
“Until Tuesday,” Siegel says in a release, “it looked as if Barack Obama was setting the gold standard, providing a lesson on how to create and execute a crystal-clear branding program in just over six months. Now it is time for a revision, without compromising all the winning aspects of the Obama brand.”
So what should he do? First, stick with what works. Siegel likes the theme of positive change (especially as opponents attack his rhetoric, credentials and lack of experience). The clarity of his message and quick response to criticism has also helped his brand.
But Siegel suggests some changes are needed. Obama must address head-on Hillary Clinton’s promise of experience and readiness “without getting down in the dirt.” The goal: reposition Clinton by challenging her experience but in a way that resonates with the upbeat brand he has created.
Easier said than done, of course. But Siegel has a point. As David Brooks notes in a New York Times column today, Obama risks losing his authenticity as a new type of leader if he decides to run a negative campaign against his opponents. Such are the perils of political branding—a challenge that Siegel says is “like building corporate brands on steroids”.
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