Brand Illusion

25 Sep 2004|Christoper Ireland

We regularly counsel our clients on the merits of a strong brand and an engaging brand experience. We extol the virtues of creating an emotional connection with consumers, and we harp on the need for succinct, easy to understand sound bites. We emphasis the need for simple visuals. We cringe when we see ad copy beyond 3-4 sentences.

But when we do this, we’re referring to products like butter, or clothing, or software. We aren’t referring to presidential candidates.

Spend a few hours scanning the coverage of the US presidential election and you’ll find dozens of comments from experienced journalists, well-regarded pundits and savvy marketers that make Bush and Kerry sound like competing brands of beer. Writers focus on whether a candidate is making an emotional connection; whether his message is “high level” (meaning you can understand it even when you’re drunk); whether he’s using symbolism effectively and most importantly, whether all the nuance and complexity of governing the world’s most powerful nation has been boiled down to a memorable tagline.

A powerful brand is hard to create and deserving of our admiration. But leading a life that qualifies you to run for President is considerably harder and deserving of careful consideration and attention. Bush and Kerry may have short, easy to pronounce names. They may embody distinct values and offer competing attributes. But they aren’t the latest low-carb craze, and they can’t be returned to the store if you find they don’t really match your decor.

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