It’s rather remarkable how effectively Democrats used marketing and branding to win the House majority this past November only to revert back to their old ways.
For any reasonable observer not well-versed in “The Beltway,” the question that emerges is: “how could they, the Democrats, go back to a communications and messaging model that brought them losses in the past and abandon what brought them success this past campaign cycle? For the behavioral-minded reader, this misstep defies basic human psychology — the law of effect — which states that “responses that produce a satisfying effect in a particular situation become more likely to occur again in that situation.”
Why abandon what works and return to a losing approach? The only explanation is that it is a Democratic Party “thing” that denies the obvious when the data doesn’t fit within their ideological framework.
For the Democrats, it’s the “ideology stupid” with anything practical that seems out of step with an important intelligent discussion regarding campaign strategy.
To this point, one ponders: why are Marketing and Branding so effective? Well, it’s based on two elementary ideas that are missed when using the hackneyed communications and messaging model that simply won’t go away with the Democrats as well as the Washington, D.C. establishment.
The first reason regarding its efficacy is that Marketing is based on satisfying needs of customers or voters. This translates in providing voters with what they want, not what politicians think voters want. This was clearly seen when Democrats in the Midterms found “religion” and went “practical” by focusing on suburban women and their concerns over healthcare, securing a 40-seat majority. They placed their customers’ needs first and in effect won.
This marketing strategy, at least for the Midterms, reinforced the second principle of campaign success which is “it’s not about the marketer or politician — rather, it’s all about the customer or voter.” In the Midterms the Democrats understood this all too well and won as a result. Today? Not so much, as seen with the Democrats handling of the Mueller Report hearings and their emphasis on investigation rather than legislation.
It is political science and not marketing that is driving their approach. Now that we have power, they figure, we can do anything we want — even impeach a president. This is an abject lesson in forgetting the very ideas that got them to the “show” and win the majority. This will have a deleterious effect if they don’t change their course as they approach the 2020 elections should voters see this as the Democrats favoring self-interest over the electorate’s interests. This never goes well in the context of winning campaigns.
A more sober method in winning the upcoming election is to address the question of, what is it that most voters want — but including independent voters, not just ideological party affiliates. Doing this means Democrats must admit that impeachment as an issue is something that ideological voters may want but most Americans have little interest in pursuing. Remembering this concept — that it’s about the voters, stupid, not the ideology — could have a great deal to do with winning the White House in 2020.
Marketing can also quite possibly awaken Democrats that their false notion that simply by nominating a candidate they think can beat Trump will bring them a win in 2020. Nothing can be further from the truth. This is more “wishful thinking” rather than a solid campaign strategy.
It will be marketing, the marketing of one candidate who emphasizes satisfying voter needs such as healthcare, infrastructure, and reducing opiate addiction, that will be winning issues when it comes to beating the president.
When all is said, perhaps Democrats will come to their senses and utilize the model that allowed them to achieve their present state of power within Congress. If so, it will only be because they understood that it is always easier when you have marketing and branding in mind.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.