Erick’s earlier post about branding in politics got me thinking about something that we have touched on before here in the “political pickin’s from the Peach State,” as they say.
Branding is probably one of the most basic, yet most important strategy for any organization, whether Fortune 100 or political campaign. However, the majority of political marketers have failed to really embrace this seriously.
Now, we all know what the BC’04 branding looked like still to this day, and some of us even remember Dole/Kemp, Bush/Quayle, Reagan/Bush, and so on, as well as Kerry/Edwards.
But, in thinking about political strategy in general, how do we identify what day(s) of class that most political consultants/operatives/staffers actually missed? That’s easy … they missed all of the important ones, and instead focused most of their time at CR mixers, writing papers on Leviathan and volunteering on meaningless campaigns.
Instead, they should have been learning how to read financial statements for various types of organizations, understanding the ins and outs of quantitative and qualitative research and getting a strong grasp on the difference between literary writing and persuasive language. Further, they should also have been attempting to understanding macro and micro economics better, so that they could really interpret and understand the market’s influence on politics/policy. Instead, we have a legislative branch of government made up of 23 yr old staffers making a salary below the poverty line, most of whom couldn’t tell me the difference between a mutual fund and hedge fund.
This leads me to a discussion that many folks at the crossroads of business, law and politics have had for a while now … what is the best background/training for political/policy staffers? Should there be required training for political operatives that is more legal based or business/market based? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each? Should there even perhaps be a licensing (sp?) requirement for political consultants and lobbyists?
Further, why haven’t campaigns implemented more strategies, tools, and processes that the marketplace has been profiting from for years?!? Accenture was able to bill $15.55 billion in revenue in 2005 because they hire skilled people to implement the most advanced strategies for clients; however, statewide candidates are hiring fresh-out-of-the-College-Republicans managers that can’t tell polling data from a financial statement. Now granted, campaigns must be conservative on expenses, but even most of the higher paid consultants’ experience is relatively limited.
What would happen if political operatives used some of the tools that business and market strategists use to gain a competitive edge against their opponents and draw more voters to turnout on Election Day?