Following Tuesday’s Presidential election, there was a lot of ‘Monday Morning Quarterbacking’ sweeping the nation as to what happened to Mitt Romney and his campaign to become our next President. Let’s take a look at the top seven branding mistakes made by his campaign.
1) A Reactive Brand Champion. Romney’s failure to be proactive about his brand was evident. His brand and the brand of the GOP was not defined or promoted until the first debate. He failed to make his brand value proposition known to the people prior to asking for their support. Proactive Brand Champions take charge to ensure that their target audience knows who they are and what they stand for. If Romney had utilized a brand value proposition, his values and goals would have been clear and supported much earlier in the game.
2) Lack Of Messaging. Romney failed to rely on a message that would resonate with the people. His campaign lacked consistency as it changed on a weekly basis. The messaging of Herman Cain’s 9-9-9 plan is a perfect example of a successful message. He jumped out of the gate promoting his 9-9-9 plan; it was simple, easy to understand and people got it. President Obama also had it right as he utilized clear, concise and timely messaging in both 2008 and 2012. “Hope” and “Forward” were tangible massages that connected with people and garnered significant supporters.
3) Allowing Competition To Define The Brand. Throughout the election season, Romney continually allowed the Obama campaign to define the GOP’s brand and position. This was a fatal flaw. Obama’s campaign took a fast lead in putting together commercials negatively defining Romney and in the end it was too much for Romney to overcome. Obama’s campaign also targeted all the battleground states portraying Romney with negative messages, making it almost impossible for Romney to change the perceived perceptions.
4) Leaving The Gloves On. Romney and his team unsuccessfully took the high road to avoid the fight with Obama and the Democrats. During the final debate, Romney had a real chance to counter and knock out Obama’s argument and didn’t. During the final debate, Romney could have and should have jumped all over the Benghazi matter, but he didn’t, he just let the golden opportunity to knock Obama slide right by. Romney let Obama run all over him. Rather than turn the negative issues from the last four years to be in his favor, he dug himself into a coulda, woulda, shoulda situation.
5) Narrow And Selective Audience. Romney failed to have the appeal broad enough to appeal to the masses. Traditionally, the Republican Party appeals to a small and niche crowd but those numbers are not longer working. This election, the Democrats, Tea Party and Religious Right successfully pinned Republicans into a corner with a dwindling target base. The GOP was outnumbered by a whopping 6%, making it next to impossible to overcome. Romney needed a message and strategy that would appeal to a broad audience and to fight the sinking pattern of the GOP.
6) No Charm, No Charisma. The success of Obama, Reagan and Clinton can be credited to their charm and charisma, two qualities that Romney failed to exemplify in this election. Charm and charisma enable a candidate to be embraced by their supporters and also become backed by influential members of the media. It’s evident that Romney and the Republicans have all but given up building the “mainstream media” into brand advocates, relying on selective small audience media outlets like Fox News and conservative talk radio host to advocate. Romney desperately needed to ramp up his appeal to the people and to his spheres of influence.
7) The Wrong Masses. Obama’s winning formula for this election was no secret. He created targeted key messages to specific audiences that resulted in a massive appeal. Obama had the ability to tie the right messaging to the right audience to create a winning package. Obama’s campaign focused on growing the core audience of all genders and minorities. Romney and Republicans needed figure out the right message that appeals to people in a proactive fashion.
Political candidates and businesses alike have to understand how to avoid these critical brand failures if they want to have a chance to win and succeed. Be proactive, put together a winning strategy, know why you are better, package it, communicate it, and win.