I was reading Karl Rove’s commentary on Sarah Palin today and he hit upon a few things I agree with (you read that correctly).
McCain–Palin must deepen those doubts by pounding away on questions about Obama’s character, judgment and values. Drawing on Obama’s own record and statements, they need to paint him as a big spender, class warrior and cultural elitist; they need to say he’s never worked across party lines or gotten his hands dirty solving big issues. But the duo must also give voters reasons to support them. They must crystallize a positive, forward-looking vision so people who see Obama as unqualiﬁed have something to hang on to. It can’t be a laundry list of positions. McCain–Palin must offer a narrative about what they will do to help America see better days, especially on kitchen-table concerns.
This is a lesson that comes up in branding, a lot.
One of the necessary things we branding consultants always talk about is story-telling. There have to be legends in the company, things that become company folklore. The Murdoch Press has plenty of stories to tell, for example, about how one of its newspapers ran a piece about Elvis, coincidentally on the story of the King’s death. I still talk about the way the Lucire name came up, which probably paints to the way serendipity works inside an organization. TV3 probably has one on John Campbell’s tie.
Stories unite people, and Rove’s belief that the McCain campaign must give a ‘forward-looking vision’ and a ‘narrative’ come straight out of a branding book. Maybe one of mine.
Vision is important, and there have been other posts on that. But an easily grasped narrative goes beyond slogans. While the stories I refer to above come from the past, in an election campaign, candidates need to paint one about the future. We know the McCain legend of being a POW; we know Palin paints herself as a hockey mom. These form the background, but people need to buy into the sequel.
Especially when one campaign is less well off than another. The Republicans are being outspent by the Democrats, so a consistent, continuous story about how the McCain–Palin principles will, in short soundbites, rescue America can have a great effect against their opponents.
Big spending allows for promotions around the cult of personality; small spending needs cleverer ideas and stories are one of the better techniques open to supporting a brand. Posted by Jack Yan, 07:58
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