Thursday, February 7, 2008

The Obama Brand

I saw an interesting talk the other day on CSPAN (by the way, CSPAN and BBC America are the only two places you can get unbiased election news (or in the case of CSPAN, at least you know the biases)).

I can't for the life of me remember the name of the author who was speaking on CSPAN, but he made a great argument about how Hillary should deal with the Obama brand of politics (and again, I am not supporting either one candidate here, just making a point).

His argument was that the democratic debate needed to be pulled into the gutter. Not the nasty, accusatory, slandering gutter that politicians descend into, but rather the policy gutter. She needed to start getting very specific. Talk about the logistics, the details, the nuances of issues and policy proposals. Debate Obama on these issues. Pull him well out of the cloud.

A news article today reminded me of this talk. It mentions Obama rejecting Clinton's appeal for more debates.

Obama made a good move refusing. His 'change' campaign works best at an abstract level. It's about hope, love, new beginnings, newness itself. There are no details. And this isn't a bad thing. Substance comes later in such campaigns (in truth there is a lot of substance, you just have to dig for it).

It's classic brand strategy stuff. Aspirational brands that drive home emotional benefits of products/services tend to always get flanked by challenger brands that push price, product differences and an appeal to logic. I've seen a lot of aspirational brands get flustered by this and fall back on a me-too strategy that tries to combat the logic of the challenger. This can be a mistake (not always).

Obama has made a good move by refusing the debates. He still needs momentum and momentum is fueled by great ideas rather than sound policy logic. Hillary needs to stop his momentum. She needs to debate issues and policy.

Ok, it might not be all that black and white, but the strategy is definitely there.

Digg this
Sphere: Related Content

No comments: