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Buying Into a Political Brand: 5 Things That Matter to Voters

Voters sift through promises and policies the same way consumers choose which products and services to buy. 

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Voters see political candidates as brands. Ever since the introduction of marketing techniques and consumerism in politics, the candidate has morphed into a product. In this politics-meets-marketing nexus, today’s voters are now consumers. Every election cycle, this new voter-consumer sifts through a barrage of political information (promises and policies) and learns about political brands in order to decide whether to vote or not vote, and which candidates and parties to support — in the same way consumers choose which products and services to buy. It is a monumental decision, a big purchase so to speak. 

Fanatic Studio | Gary Waters | SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY | Getty Images

Although studies show that less than half of Americans have confidence in each other’s ability to make informed political decisions, voter-consumers do have some knowledge of political brands. Whether they are sophisticated, informed or even cynical, they are not only aware of a political brand, but also about perceived benefits and drawbacks of the brand — its image, their feelings towards it and their experiences of the brand in action. The failure or success of a political brand is therefore increasingly tied to its brand quality, i.e. how it positions itself in the electoral marketplace, but also, fundamentally, how it is seen and perceived by voters.

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