“Reality is whatever you perceive it to be!”
This axiom with its roots in Gestalt psychology and political consultancy a la Lee Atwater
(George H.W. Bush’s political advisor) outlines why many analysts fail to perceive that political parties are meaningless today.
For voters, their reality is different from the experts who cover politics daily. These non-two party voters are tired of the same old issues without solutions. They are looking for individuals (candidates) who will satisfy their needs — good paying jobs, a healthcare system that works, and an immigration process that is fair for all.
Lip service by “nuanced pol talkers” who will never address their concerns is “over” for this segment. By considering this dated political party model, the “so-called” experts miss what is “going on” with this vociferous silent majority — that they are sick and tired and not going to take it anymore. They want “doers not talkers” an attribute that personalities who are new to this dynamic political game offer.
Ignoring consumer market forces is not new. It is reminiscent of the error made in the late 70’s when American automakers failed to recognize the car buyer’s need for smaller autos. As gas prices increased and demand for gas guzzling cars decreased, consumers' motives changed, but car makers didn’t. As a result, foreign cars fulfilled the need for this market change and American car makers were in a pickle and lost market share. These marketers missed what their customers wanted — gas efficient cars.
The contemporary political gaggle is so focused on once-viable models for analyzing political campaigns that they fail to assimilate the new normal — most voters today are independents — a significant 46 percent (Republications at 25 percent and Democrats at 27 percent). And to confuse this issue even further, the pundit class are the minority, unless they are registered independents.
This means that when this resolute band of experts cites a 17 percent Democratic advantage over Republicans in the 2018 Midterms one should be at best “dubiously optimistic.” It’s simple. The old paradigms are being updated and that those who refuse to accept it will miss, once again, the importance of personality over party.
Personalities have always dominated the political landscape. However, over the years the selection of presidential nominees have become a more democratic process and advanced this personality-centric political model.
No longer are presidential candidates chosen by political party leaders at conventions. Today, state primaries are the rule so that by the time party conventions assemble, their respective nominee has been selected by voters.
This preoccupation with a party’s brand rather than on personality led to the missed popularity and strength of brands — Obama, Sanders, and Trump and the weaknesses of Hillary Clinton, Mitt Romney, and Jeb Bush.
Voters have always been attracted to personalities. However, today a significant sea change may be on the horizon. Thanks to the very popular Barack Obama and the fireball brand of Donald Trump, personality politics has become the new standard in electing our political leaders.
And it appears that this personality-centered movement is just starting. Two weeks ago at the Golden Globes Oprah Winfrey, the popular former talk show host, electrified the audience with a speech where all were talking. Her excellent performance advanced speculation that she too, like Trump, could run for president and — who knows — win?
Other personalities toying with this presidential run idea include The Rock, aka Dwayne Johnson, a wrestler turned actor; Mark Cuban, co-host of the popular TV Show “Shark Tank”; movie star George Clooney; and Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg.
These personalities satisfy the unheard needs of an electorate who thirst for help. Donald Trump, whatever the political insiders may think, provides real solutions for their lot in life. Trump understands marketing and the importance of satisfying their needs through policies that target them — jobs, trade, immigration, or simply said, “Making America Great Again” (MAGA).
Whoever the next personality candidate is, they are advised to remember that it’s not about them. It’s all about their voters and executing marketing tactics that work and resonate with them and not the “talking heads” throng.
And when this is done, these personalities (not political parties), who respond to the needs of voters and understand them will win. Especially if they keep marketing and branding in mind. Yes, even politics.
Today’s Marketing & Branding Lens Thought
“Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
—Martin Luther King, Jr.
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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