Peace Corps Writers
Talking with Nick Wreden (page 3)
 Talking with Nick Wreden
page 1
page 2
page 3
How would you see the political parties and their “branding” on the war?
Not all the philosophical framework related to corporate branding in the customer economy can be transferred to the political realm. Still, leaders in business and politics always go for the low-hanging fruit. For example, a prime target market in business is the 18–34 demographic. In politics, only 13% of 18–30 year-olds vote, so the interests of that market (long-term health of social security, education support, etc.) are ignored while the needs of seniors (prescription drug benefits, etc.) get all the bills and votes.
     The key to branding in the customer economy is maximizing profitability, not sales or market share, primarily by increasing customer equity. In political terms, this is termed, “playing to the base.” Parties get the most mileage (donations, volunteers, etc.) by addressing the specific concerns of a limited number of supporters. Parties get hurt — just as businesses do — when they displease core supporters.
     Consistency is also vital in branding. It dilutes the effort if prospects see one message in stores; another in direct mail. In politics, the party that controls the White House obviously has a huge advantage in promoting — and enforcing — consistency.
     The double-edged sword of both politics and business is “grass-roots” movements. These can create huge momentum both for and against issues and offerings. In an age of “digital tribes,” “swarms,” and “smart mobs,” such grass-roots movements have more power and reach than ever before. One example: one factor contributing to the recent election of President Roh in South Korea was that 800,000 IM messages went to supporters on election day.
     As we move into the customer economy, the press is becoming increasingly irrelevant, both in business and political branding. For example, every major news outlet heard Sen. Trent Lott wish that Sen. Strom Thurmond had been elected in 1948, yet the event received no coverage until a West Coast blog started promoting it. The press handling of political reporting has turned into “gotcha” journalism, which is irrelevant to both the issues of the day and a politician's ability to handle those issues.
     Even the strongest market brands can be overtaken by events. Remember, Ayds, which was the leading diet pill? It disappeared from the market when the AIDS crisis hit in the early ’80s. Similarly, it is highly likely that current political brands will be overtaken by events now unfolding in Iraq and the economy.
  Okay, to sum it all up in a nice précis paragraph, what’s your book about?
FusionBranding FusionBranding: How to Forge Your Brand for the Future examines emerging business imperatives and how they will drive branding in the years ahead. Because we have moved from the mass economy to the customer economy, old branding techniques based on advertising or PR are increasingly ineffective. What are required now are strategies based on everyday operational excellence, customer equity and operational excellence. The book also looks ahead to the branding challenges and opportunities of 2005 and beyond. I publish a brand futurist newsletter once or twice a month. Readers who would like to subscribe can email me:
     For autographed copies of the book, or discounts on volume purchases, you can order directly from me at:
Home | Back Issues | Resources | Archives | Site Index | Search | About us | To contact us

Bibliography of Peace Corps Writers | PC writers by country of service

E-mail the with comments
or to be added to the new-issue notice list.
Copyright © 2008, (formerly RPCV Writers & Readers)
All rights reserved.