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.
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.
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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