Daily Archives: May 7, 2009

Marketing the Republican “Brand”

minute-man-2-lithoRecently, the mass media, TV talking heads, and the political wizards of both parties seem to be obsessing over what the Republican Party needs to do to revive its tarnished “brand”.  The overwhelming consensus of these clairvoyant readers of the voter’s mind is that the Republican Party needs to dump its conservative base and become more “moderate”.  To put it another way, they are advised to go with the flow, just paddle a little slower.

The use of the word “brand” indicates they see the issue as a marketing problem.  I suppose a marketing model is as good as any in developing a plan for expanding the Republican’s share of the American vote. Marketing was not one of my best subjects, but I did get the idea that successful marketing involved understanding the customer’s need and designing your product to fit that need.

After eliminating the voters who will “buy” whatever happens to be on the shelf or those who always “buy” the most popular product in vogue at the time, we are left with the primary political market. Competing for shares in this market are two major products, brand “D” and brand “R”.  Of course, there are always a number of lesser “niche market” brands that appeal to the “special” needs of single-issue voters.

If we look at the voters who make up the primary political market, we find they are about evenly divided between those who prefer a “nanny state” government designed to relieve constituents of the responsibilities and risks inherent in life, and those who prefer a less intrusive government allowing for more personal autonomy, freedom and opportunity . “Brand D” caters to those voters who fall into the former group.

The price voters pay for “brand D” products is a sacrifice of personal liberty and the surrender of an exorbitant share of the “fruits of their labor”.  A deadly side effect of product “D” is that it is addictive, requiring an ever-larger dose just to maintain stability.  Those addicted are not only willing to surrender their own liberty and labor, but those of their neighbors, their children, and even their future descendents in order to sustain their “habit”.  Ultimately, the “D” addict is reduced to a position of servitude to the state.

“Brand R” advertises its product to the latter group preferring autonomy, liberty and opportunity.  The problem is that it has failed to deliver the product advertised.  In recent years “Brand R” has been attempting to market a “D” knock-off in the mistaken belief that it will be more appealing to the “buy anything” and “fad” voters.  In using this strategy, they alienate a large segment of their customer base, because it either refuses to buy a substitute product or they decide to buy one of the lesser brands that come closer to meeting their needs.

If we apply this analogy to the Republican Party, we should see that attempting to win over the “brand D” addict by offering them a watered-down, substitute “fix” simply will not work.  Instead, they should be trying to shore up their customer base and build “brand loyalty” by providing the quality product they advertise. History has shown that when the Republican Party delivers the products it advertises, limited government, national security, protection of property and individual liberty, they not only enjoy greater support from their customer base, they also attract enough non-addicted Democrats and uncommitted “others” to reach their marketing goals.  Remember Ronald Reagan.