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Posts Tagged ‘Democrats’

What the Democrats Could Learn from Coca-Cola

September 13th, 2010 2 comments

Coca-Cola probably has the strongest brand image in the world, unlike today's Democratic Party.

Do you remember all those Coca-Cola ads where the guy would explain the reasons Coke is so delicious, list various benefits of drinking it, and tout the drink’s global presence and growing market share?

No?

Maybe that’s because those ads never existed. And yet, Coca-Cola is the most recognized brand in the world. It has maintained a titanium-strong brand image and a loyal customer base for years. The Democratic Party should be taking notes.

You see, political parties are essentially brands. As much as we’d like to imagine every citizen dutifully collecting facts and performing high levels of careful, informed analysis before forming opinions about politicians and their policies, the truth is that this is simply impractical. While the education system and media have plenty of blame to share in terms of failing to produce informed citizenry, the American people themselves deserve a bit of a break on this front. Not everyone has the time, information, interest, and education to sift through all the political points that are thrown at them. That’s why political parties are so important. John Q. Public can walk into the voting booth on election day and immediately be able to assume some very important things about the candidate with either a ‘D’ or an ‘R’ next to their name, even if Mr. Public hasn’t done all his homework.

Unfortunately the Democrats seem to be missing most of Coke’s time tested-lessons. They are trying to explain specific policies; they are trying to argue facts and data, and they are trying to assert their track record. In short, they are trying to be like the guy I described at the start of this post, rather than a polar bear with a coke bottle.

Yes, the policies are important. But so is message, and right now the Republicans are winning with their tried and true refrain of “smaller government.” It is a clear and coherent message, and a positive image for most Americans. It doesn’t matter if their policies amount to class warfare against the poor, welfare for oil companies, or even bigger government. If Democrats really want to fight for the policy minutiae they believe in, they are going to have to work on building their brand. There’s still some old imagery that might be good to dust off, like the Democrat as underdog. “We fight for the little guy” might be a succinct slogan that the public can get on board with. No need to change policies or beliefs – just reiterate them around the framework of a coherent message. It might take a walloping in the mid-term elections before the Democrats figure this out, but if they can get it straight, and begin to build a clear brand image, I think a lot of folks would find it… refreshing.

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The Democratic Party 2.0: Retooled for the Internet Age

April 14th, 2010 1 comment
The Internet is Serious Business motivational poster

I'd even say it's a BFD. (Photo: Wiki Commons)

Is it just me, or are both parties starting to sound a little repetitive? Ok, there is new stuff to argue about – banking reform, offshore drilling, bailouts, etc. These are all important issues. But on many items of domestic policy it feels like we’re just fighting and refighting the same old wars. We could probably just leave two record players on loop:

Republicans – “Small government, low taxes, free market, Ronald Reagan…”

Democrats – “Social programs, equal rights, corporate greed, George W. Bush…”

But really, those partisan record players have been playing some of the same tracks for over thirty years now. I think it’s time to upgrade to an iParty. So what would the Democratic Party 2.0 look like? Well, first we’ve got to reframe the party platform around some of the biggest issues of the Internet Age – things that the parties are barely dipping their toes into right now.

Examples? I want the Democrats to own net neutrality the way the Republicans own gun rights. I want the Democrats to be the party of national defense when it comes to cyber warfare. I want the Democratic Party to be synonymous with Gov 2.0.

More and more of our social lives and economy are based around the Internet, and our politics should reflect that. There’s a huge opening for either party to grab the ball on this and run with it, and whichever one moves first and decisively will leave the other one scrambling to catch up. I think the Democrats are well positioned to be that party. Obama has already made movements to put more government info online and beef up cyber security. Hillary Clinton made her call to “tear down this firewall” earlier this year. Now it’s time to take it to the next level.