Branding is like politics

Thinking about a brand as a political party approaching an election.

We know political parties understand branding. At a certain point in the political calendar they begin to identify their users, divide them into supporters, undecided and opposed groups. They create maps of safe, marginal and challenge seats. They publish brand statements: manifesto's outlining their beliefs and their values. They flesh out central characters and aggressively market against weaknesses in their competitors offering. They patiently listen and articulate the key concerns of their users, then demographically and geographically they market specific messages through PR, through broadcast and through social marketing. Then we all vote.

Then the parties immediately ignore everything they have learnt about their customers and three or four years later they start all over again as if we remember nothing. 

That's politics - what about branding?
Consumers vote with their feet, their wallet, their mouse, their blah...
So the parallels are well noted - but how do brands reflect that? Brands are more consistent because they know there is no single day on which everyone is expected to vote. Instead we vote every day and every day we make marginal decisions which affect how we will behave.  

Everyday is election day for a brand, so everyday it makes sense to know your political map, know your marginal seats, know your manifesto, know your messages and to listen to your constituents. 

There is no first day in office for a brand, there's just the incumbent and the challenger. And, just as in politics, it's much easier to be the incumbent. So it's an election worth winning. Everyday.