Brand Trump V. Brand Hillary

Today image is everything – from LeBron James to Apple. Image is what it takes to stand out and win. When you’re talking about someone’s image you’re talking about the brand called You: the impression in the public’s mind of Donald and Hillary’s total personality – their real and imaginary qualities including their shortcomings –because people tend not to forgive people but they forgive brands all the time. Just look at the outrageous things Trump has said.

Trump and Clinton’s brand image is the publics view of them. They’re every bit
as much a brand as Nike, Coke or Subway. Because of the Trump brand in this election it makes the case for brand image more directly than any packaged good or consumer product ever could.

Teflon Don has been a brand for years and Hillary needs to behave more like one
to conquer that ultimate question why should I care about you? She needs to communicate what makes her remarkable, measurable, distinguished with unique value? It’s a cliché: don’t sell the steak, sell the sizzle. He’s selling the sizzle, the one-liners. He doesn’t have the detail, we all know he hasn’t really communicated well anything about domestic and foreign policy. screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-9-40-38-amShe has all the detail, but lacks the sizzle.

Hillary has spent her entire life doing public service.
She’s spent her whole adult life under the microscope
and yet she continues to want to make change, to better the lives of each and every American. And yet she still comes under doubt, scrutiny and distrust. People at the RNC Convention shouting, “lock her up” was unprecedented. There is a poster going around that says, “Hillary, for Prison 2016”. Emotions run so deep and the way Trump has run his campaign
has only made those divisions deeper. Hillary doesn’t fight like that, it’s the antithesis of who she
is as a person yet her rallying cry does not resonate in the same way.

Brand image is not marketing it’s about who you are. It’s about personality and it goes well beyond politics. Brands are about connecting with people emotionally; to get that emotional connection you need to have trust and respect. Trump has earned it from his followers. Hillary can’t seem to gain that traction. She needs to build her brand power because one of the things that attract us to brands is the power they project. Power is largely a matter of perception so what’s Hillary’s power of “influence” and her “reputational“ power? She needs to break out from being the famous person you don’t know.

The shock and awe of Trump’s statements early in his campaign justified the frothing fulmination of the media, but the initial shock and awe has dissipated and Brand Trump has proven to be a credible Presidential candidate so he’s bigger than ever
and as much as his remarks outrage, they don’t seem to faze his audience. screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-9-45-45-amscreen-shot-2016-09-18-at-9-46-20-amTrump’s like a Chrysler 300, big and powerful while Hillary is more like a Lincoln MKZ with more style and quality.

Trump can keep banging the drum and be consistent on what made his campaign successful just like an ad campaign with
a core, consistent message repeated over and over again. He’s got a rallying cry. What’s Hillary’s, what’s her stump pitch?

Hillary has a no nonsense approach and is talking about the nuts and bolts of getting America off its rear end and helping Americans live a better life, but it’s not clear. Since being ill she’s said that she has had time to reflect and now she needs to hone her campaign with more energy and act more like a challenger brand that can flank Trump head on. Her idea of moving America forward needs to be framed more than just Obama redux. We don’t want to move we want to accelerate. And yet Obama had
a stump pitch, he had a rallying cry, he had the campaign of Hope and lots of America loved it, twice.

This is a clash of the titans and one of the many challenges faced by Trump and Clinton is effectively defining their true vision and values for the public. This is not
a quick or easy process because they’re not just defined by the Commander in Chief job title nor the job description. There are four things they’ve got to measure themselves against. First, they’ve got to have strong beliefs, which they do. Second, they’ve got to be an exceptional expert in matters that are important to America and they both are. Third, they’ve got to be a visionary — a true leader and they are. Fourth, they’ve got to be obsessed with pragmatic outcomes and that’s where Hillary’s has
it in spades.

screen-shot-2016-09-18-at-10-06-23-amHillary needs to take the 15-words-or-less stump pitch challenge. Hillary is constantly comparing herself to Trump and how different they are. Rather than focus on Trump, she should be just speaking about who she is at her core and what she will do. Hillary’s brand needs to be a promise of the value we’ll receive.

Money, Morality and Motivation: How do we determine what’s right for us to do anymore?

I attended a fascinating salon where we discussed this topic at DCA Man Heartlength covering sociology, technology, psychology, philanthropy and of course, capitalism and the role of brands.

In today’s current environment capitalism is a sow with nine teats and twelve babies. Over 200 years ago capitalism metastasized throughout Europe then spurring the industrial revolution across the world. It’s widely agreed that capitalism is the world’s dominant economic model that is a system governed by capital accumulation. Is it, or should it be, that is the question as it relates Money, Morality and Motivation?

The Swiss Institute of Technology unveiled a fascinating study of 43,000 global companies to map the structure of economic power and identified 147 companies (many of which see themselves as brands) holding 40% of the world’s wealth. Is the study a close shave or a deep cut to the perception of capitalism and its role generating Money, Morality and Motivation given so few companies have huge global influence?

A thought is a thing as real as an IED. We all believe in the transformative power of business for economic, social and personal good for everyone, everywhere. It creates wealth, purpose and dignity. We have a need for consultation for humanity: to search for fresh and universal human importance for morality and motivation. Today the system is still about accumulation (asset based) capitalism whereas the world has fundamentally shifted to an intangible asset based perceived value economy. Between 1975 – 2005, the tangible asset value of the world’s economy moved from 80% assets to 20% i.e. the majority of the worlds corporations value today is intangible asset value e.g. IP, Research, Databases, Trademarks and Brands as opposed to tangible assets. Therefore, building new sources of growth and being successful in new approaches requires acting in unfamiliar and entrepreneurial ways: new markets power growth and corporate role renewal.

However, to proliferate a new type of shovel ready capitalism it’s going to take a movement.If we can cheaply mobilize colossal sums of investment for growth and change we can move from theories, strategies and tactics to actions. New Century Capitalism based more on the conscience commerce model ‘making money while doing good’ creating social platforms for movements and wealth creation for the greatest number with determination, self reliance and a noteworthy degree of success can be achieved with brands.

“Brand” has always favored revolution — the people, the place and the time. Many are referring to what we are witnessing as an Internet revolution, but we are also witnessing a revolution enabled by new-century brands with unique capabilities that fundamentally offer a platform for morality and motivation. Brands proliferate indigenously and should be the flag bearers for morality and motivation with marketing the battle standard for the “morality” they could come to symbolize. Brands generate money and motivation, but how effective the role brands play in fueling morality is debatable, but it cannot be ignored. CMOs know that brands now not only have different economic value, but indicate different normative values as well, that they have a direct bearing on the society in which they reside. However, the role of brand is not a fairytale and no CMO wants his or her brand to flail around like a loose fitting part. If a brand seeks to bond with its consumers with morality and motivation, CMOs know it needs to stand for something relevant, unique and of value to them, like standing up for the right of ordinary people to basic rights — the rule of law, the right to free assembly and free speech. So how do CMOs prove the leverage of brands’ role — a role that can demonstrably be a platform for action by activating a fan base of millions? And with word of mouth the number-one influencer of purchases, the potential payoff is huge.DCA Man arms up

The timing is ideal for CMOs to seize this higher ground, strengthening brands’ role in society and taking consumers’ perception of morality and their motivation deeper into core business strategy. The opportunity rests with the phenomena of social sharing, which CMOs should primarily leverage to connect with customers, sparking a conversation — not just a pure sales play. What it takes is a “fans first” philosophy that guides the brands’ overall engagement strategy. This represents a move away from push advertising toward a model of listening and engaging where appropriate. So the challenge for a CMO who desires her brand to be beyond just making money and be associated with morality and motivation needs to figure out how to achieve it in a non-big-brand way that never puts a dollar ahead of a fan.

Social sharing is transforming the economics of marketing and has upended how consumers engage with brands to such a degree that established marketing structures and strategies, some argue, are obsolete. Yesterday, the funnel approach to focusing “paid-media” resources into building brand awareness and then desire at the point of purchase was a sound investment. Today CMOs know it requires a recalibration to where consumers are actively spending their time and their thoughts.

People forget words, but they will never forget the way you make them feel. We are what we think: 80% of decisions are influenced by “dormant” emotions in the subconscious. Doing the right thing in the name of morality and timeless brand values is evident, but CMOs are understandably reticent that “movement marketing” with that kind of strategy is a race that is hard to win, because the finish line shifts with every move. Virtue is a stranger in this world and the “social sharing” consumer compels brands to be alert to their social responsibility more than ever.Image

We’ve witnessed in recent years the birth of purpose-driven brands and a new “conscious commerce” business model – where a brand can make money while doing good. We can all be persuasive about the inherent risks with movement marketing that taps morality and motivation, but isn’t it surely right to argue that brands’ seemingly inexorable growth will necessitate a more prolific role in world events? It’s often said never make forecasts, especially about the future, but brands must not cross an interval like we have in the world with a step when they can cross it with a leap and move the needle north for morality, motivation and make more money!

Shareability: Interface is the new Brand?

Shareability is being talked up as the new ROI, its relevance due to the 4-Screen world billions of us are interfacing with in our daily toils. From the TV to the Laptop, to the smart phone and the tablet, the interface is critical in capturing attention and enticing shareability.

Word of mouth is the number one influencer of purchases and consequently interface plays a key role in our ‘social sharing’ way of life. Therefore, is interface design becoming more important than a brand’s core identity? And should interface take the lead in the approach to branding? It does throw open a good debate on the role of brand and the sum of its parts.

I’m off to the cinema (the 5th screen:).

How to save Occupy Wall Street

The ‘return of our capital’ for the 99% might be the greater principle over ‘return on my capital’, but we face a quandary if taken too far: “The inherent vice of capitalism is the unequal sharing of blessings; the inherent virtue of socialism is the equal sharing of miseries.” Winston Churchill

The success and rapid ascension to the world stage of the Occupy Wall Street movement has forced the enterprise to realize it is a brand that needs investment and funding is paramount; so much so they could no longer be functioning within a month! But is their something more fundamentally wrong with “Occupy Wall Street” that if strategically corrected could boost their sustainable appeal and help provide the movement momentum and much needed funding?

Plato wisely said, “Necessity, is the Mother of invention” therefore, words before “but” are redundant. Skeptics and ehadists belie capitalism has deliberately created a disproportionate deluge and in its wake it punishes, intoxicates and behaves like a despot in the world’s markets, radically debilitating infrastructure and diminishing local economies both to work and provide for themselves and forcing upon all an ever-increasing sense of imperceptible vulnerability.

Capitalism is like a sow with nine teats and 15 babies: crisis is the price of capitalism, that’s the core of the problem. And what created it needs to be fundamentally improved. That we agree. OWS has a role, but it will be a vague memory without cash. Many current interpretations of OWS, (like some of their perceptions of capitalism) are malicious, mischievous, and ill informed. Demonstrably OWS brought people together and out of our frustration, sense of injustice and hope they helped start a world wide movement. That’s OWS: a platform for change. That’s truly great, but getting $50 out of someone is a lot harder.

Without a brand reinvention and clarity of purpose I cannot see OWS playing the role it deserves to play. To build trust, OWS need to reinvent themselves including changing their name. Entrepreneurial lore states that a new ‘brand’ may have 3-4 strategic revisions before it finds it’s rightful place. Occupy Wall Street carries with it an excessive amount of uneasiness if looked at literally by the public. Every inch of media has exposed OWS in a revolutionary light and edged it out on the fray: a brand declines when it’s no longer sublime. To come to the center, OWS need to shift OWS and therefore, OWS need to review their brands architecture that has spawned across cities and countries and seek to find a ‘public facing’ solution that suits the needs of a sustainable fund raising  ‘brand’ i.e., wake up running.