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Branding Insights from The Primaries

This week’s New Hampshire primary results are in. Voter sentiment appears to have turned rather dramatically from so-called establishment candidates to outside “revolutionaries.” Cast in marketing language, it seems that the traditional Democratic and Republican brands have lost much of their value in today’s market although it is early days yet.

We believe there may be some important lessons to be learned in brand management from this election cycle. These include the following:

1. Brands lose value when what is produced does not align with brand messaging. Delivery on political promises has deteriorated, but the promises of party leaders have not materially changed.

2. Rising frustration has led to increased willingness in the market to entertain new brands with very different value propositions, e.g. Sanders and Trump.

3. At the same time, market skepticism has risen toward established brands to the point that messaging shifts in line with new market demands ring hollow. Jeb Bush, John Kasich, Hillary Clinton, “the voices of    establishment,” are struggling to gain traction.

4. Revitalization of the old brands may not be possible unless the new brands also fail to deliver better products as promised. If new brands are successful, old brands may not be able to regain market share.

We’ll find out shortly how damaged the old brands are as we move to Nevada and South Carolina.