After the re-election of Obama, I can’t help but ask the question, is President Obama really that appealing, or does it come down to the fact that the Republican party needs to change their brand? My vote is that it’s time for the GOP to take a hard look at their brand and implement a re-brand strategy in order to take back the power in the White House and the nation. Let’s take a look at the seven secrets for the new Republican brand.
1) Define the Brand. One of the main problems for the Republican Party today is that society doesn’t understand the brand. There are many factions in the party, from Tea Party, Religious Conservatives, Financial Conservatives and Ron Paul and his Libertarian followers, it is nearly impossible to have a simple clear and concise brand among all those groups. Another hurdle the Republicans need to get over is allowing the Democrats to negatively define the party and what it stands for. The brand has been defined as the Democrats as “extreme”, “out of touch”, and “only the top one-percent.” The Republicans have to make their brand simple, concise and easy for people grasp on to and work to define and utilize three to six simple brand values that the party can stand on.
2) Get Media Trained. Today’s Republicans are stagnant. Thanks to the Democrats messaging and the portrayal in the majority of media, the GOP is stuck with a negative label and seen as “old-fashioned.” Republicans have been forced to succumb to the divisions within their own party; the religious right and the tea partiers. Both unfortunately are seen as extreme freak factions. More often than not we witness far right-wingers that can’t keep their feet out of their mouth as they continue to fall into traps set by the media. The Republicans need to wake up and give their spokes people proper media training. The public relies on the media to deliver each party’s message and it’s time to Republicans learn how to speak to the media.
3) Be Inclusive & Appealing. The Democrats have clearly won over Middle America and successful forced the Republicans into a small and exclusive part of the population. In order to regain national prominence and gain credibility among the current Democratic vital blocks of voters, the GOP needs to expand. The appeal needs to grow within younger voters, minorities and women in order to regain power. It is blatant that Republican Party needs to open their arms and start to address the needs of these individual groups needs to win their votes. As Middle America gets more and more diverse, it’s going to be imperative for the party to be accepting, inclusive and appealing to all and create a base that appeals to a majority of the population.
4) Reinvent The Party. There are many innovative ways that the Republicans could re-invent themselves and the platforms they stand on. By re-inventing the party, new combinations and platforms of Republicans could be formed. The party could match up a financial conservative with a social moderate; represent a party of freedom that allows individuals to be who they are; encourage hard work and avoid judgment; represent fiscal responsibility and work to a balance budget; decrease our debt and create more jobs; utilize a small government and stay out of the social realm; include special interest groups; and most importantly, stay with the core messages of the brand.
5) Promote The Brand. After the new brand has been defined it is time to package it. The brand needs to be put into a branding campaign that clearly defines the new platforms of the GOP and makes it come alive. Over time, many groups have fought to overcome a bad name, it’s time for the Republicans to put a stake in the ground and dispel the mislabeling. Mitt Romney had a golden opportunity to brand and broadcast the new Republican brand through traditional media, online and social media and most importantly grass roots. Now is more vital than ever to develop a ground game that can effectively convert the masses to the new Republican brand and create a whole new generation of true believers.
6) Choose Brand Champion. Let’s face it; the new Republicans need a new face. They need somebody that represents the new and inclusive brand much like Obama represents the Democrats. This new face must have great appeal, strengths in communication and the ability to embrace key voters. We would have hoped that the Republicans could have learned from the John McCain and actually chosen a true Brand Champion this time around, but that wasn’t the case. It’s time to find a true Brand Champion of the new Republican brand.
7) Champion the Brand, Track Results, Adjust and Win.It’s time for the new Republicans to take this most recent loss to heart. Things just are not working any longer. Once the new brand is implemented, the party can track results and outreach efforts to ensure that the new brand is resonating and working. This process will be slow and could take some adjustment to ensure that the message is appealing to the newly expanded key blocs of voters. With a new simple clear, concise, inclusive and appealing brand, the GOP and drive it home for the victory in the next general and presidential elections.
The time is now to reshape and change the brand for not only the betterment of the party, but for the country. America needs two strong parties in order to have the check and balances, but unless the Republicans change their brand and how they take it to market, their time may be a time of the past.
For more on this topic, check out Fast Company’s article, Rebranding The GOP: Can A Marketing Facelift Overhaul The Republican Party?