Companies need to imitate political campaigns with consistency in their brand equity messages, says Obama panel



Companies need to stick to a consistent brand equity platform and not flip flop between messaging when they change marketers, a panel which worked on the Obama 2012 presidential campaign has said.

Looking at what marketers can learn from political campaigns Team Detroit president David Murphy said brands need to stick to a clearer brand platform, but be prepared to pivot their messaging to what the data is telling them mid-campaign.

“I think there’s a lesson in brand equities,” he said. “In marketing we respect the value of it, but we change quickly when a new CMO comes in for no substantive reason.

“Political campaigns adopt clear brand equity and drive it. They also have great rigour in staying on message, they issue the message of the day. If you’re being interviewed on TV or even a phone volunteer you are on message, and there’s a penalty for going off message.”

He pointed to organisations where there is a disconnect between corporate affairs and marketing, where social media channels are handled by one or the other, as prime examples of where this can happen.

Fellow panelist  Sarah Newhall from political campaign specialists Blue State Digital told the audience marketers needed to test more, and be prepared to “get over their egos” to use the less pretty creative on messaging if it proves to be more effective.

“Testing happened all the time,” she said of the Obama 2012 campaign. “There was no test too big or too small, it happened on that constant basis. The audience gets tired and you need to be paying attention to what’s going to work.”

She added: “There have to be no egos and no sacred cows – it comes down to results.

“It’s about not letting your ego lead you, but letting what’s good for your audience lead the day. Sometimes its the ugliest design or most basic subject line- its really about understanding what’s going to drive them.”

Another Blue Scope Digital vice president Richard Mitz, asked how they persuaded people to vote for Barack Obama in 2012, said they used the power of storytelling, giving supporters the “tools” to persuade their networks to follow their values.

“But if we weren’t selling something people didn’t want to buy none of this would have worked,” he added.

 Alex Hayes in Austin

SXSW bazaarvoice  banner



Get the latest media and marketing industry news (and views) direct to your inbox.

Sign up to the free Mumbrella newsletter now.



Sign up to our free daily update to get the latest in media and marketing.