A fad in marketing is a brand with a fast rise in popularity followed by a sudden decline in its appeal to a given market segment. Its abrupt change is usually due to the brand’s inability to satisfy the needs of its customers.
So at this time in our politics, it’s hard not ask: Is the youngest member of Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC), a robust brand that will stand the test of time, that many believe? Or is she merely a fad that will meet the same fate as the yo-yo, Cabbage Patch Kids, and Pokémon.
In a different time, the answer would be clear. Today, not so much. When “thought and discretion” were brand characteristics that the electorate sought in their leaders, AOC would at this point be toast politically. Why? Because she broke a number of cardinal rules in politics where there is little recovery.
The first rule is rather simple — after one is elected one “keeps their mouth shut” for at least the first two years in Washington. It’s only after you learn the ropes when you can start thinking about providing policy recommendations to one’s party leadership.
This is a basic behavioral predicate that makes human interaction possible and transactional so that one can achieve their goals.
Another rule of thumb is to “THINK” — which is a brand attribute needed in garnering support for an issue you want to promote. Thought should be in “high gear” before making a proposal, so positive brand perceptions are maximized and negative ones minimized.
Capricious policies like AOC’s Green New Deal, which proposes that the United States can convert 100 percent of its power to “clean, renewable and zero-emission energy sources, in 10 years” through rail travel expansion, is idealistic and questionably realistic.
One knows they are in trouble when the leader of their party — refers to your proposal as the “green dream” instead of calling it by its brand name.
The third rule is that it’s not about you. This means choosing issues that your voters care about, not the ones that YOU prefer to discuss among adoring fans.
Healthcare, wages, and childcare are the issues of the working class. Green agenda items, although important, are white collar concerns and take a back seat to the bread and butter issues like paying for medical bills, having money to keep the family going, and having a safe place to leave the children.
Rule No. 4 is to bring home the beacon. This means giving your voters something that they need. Whether that’s a new Federal Post Office building, or a new bridge to replace an old one, a congress member needs an ability to deliver these needs to those who brought you to the Show! If one is not building relationships with others then the probability of getting things done is minimized. It’s that simple.
Likability is another rule that must be implemented if one is to achieve re-election in today’s volatile political climate. To be liked by your colleagues as well as your voters is a must. Becoming a star is never easy especially when one is a freshman.
Arrogance and hubris are two characteristics that many see in new personality brands and are willing to point out if not put in check.
Maintaining one’s likability to a variety of publics — constituents, leadership in one’s party, as well as colleagues — is a must for longevity. More specifically, being attractive to one’s base can be fleeting and if not monitored regularly can doom a new politician. “Shooting from the hip” can be perceived as initially “excitingly attractive” but can wear thin very quickly. Winning against all odds can often blind one’s self-assessment on just how well they are doing and why AOC should be cautious on how she should proceed in order to overcome the fad moniker.
And who knows? If AOC learns these cardinal rules for success perhaps she will go beyond her initial faddish ways and become a brand that will stand the test of time. And oh yes, she will increase her longevity when she realizes it’s 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.
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