Monthly Archives: May 2012

What Campaign Posters Teach Us About Branding

branding principles

Campaign Sign Cacophony.

A glance at campaign posters for the May 29th Texas primary demonstrates some of the fundamental principles of branding that also apply to businesses.

Represent core values. The first rule is that your brand and your logo need to represent your core values. Every politician wants to convey to voters that they are patriotic. So of course, we see lots of red and blue signs that are virtually indistinguishable from each other.

Stand out from your competitors. Only one of the candidates’ posters stands out, that of Terri Green. With a last name like Green, it’s no surprise that the candidate has decided to use the color green. Perhaps the voters will cut her some slack and decide she’s just as patriotic as the rest? Is it essential for you to repeat the same benefits that your competitors do? Or is there something unique you can promote about your business that will make you memorable than your competitors?

Repeat impressions matter. In the photo above, it looks like candidate Ben Smith understands this principle. Academic literature is filled with studies about advertising effective frequency. There’s no easy answer to how much advertising is enough, and whether it’s more effective to concentrate ads and risk annoying the audience, or to spread them out for reminder value. Brands have realized that building awareness vs. a sales pitch is effective, which is why we see product placement, event sponsorships, Plano t-shirts, logo embroidery, and promotional products.

Advertise at the point of sale. It’s hardly necessary to look up the address for a local polling booth. The cluttered sign landscape leads the way. It’s almost as if candidates fear that voters will forget their name en route to the polls. Unfortunately, there is some truth to that. Consumers think most clearly about their needs and products or services that meet the criteria when they are ready to buy.

Are you promoting your business at the decision point for the consumer? For consumer products, that frequently means advertising at the check out stand. For more complex product sales, consumers do on-line research, so search engine advertising is crucial. If you have a local restaurant or service business, the decision point is now the smart phone, as consumers search for the nearest business while running errands. Are you listed and search engine optimized in Google+, Yelp, or other mobile directories? If not, you are missing out on today’s point of sale advertising.

To see some of my other recent posts on political branding, refer to:

Promoting the Jeran Akers Campaign with Screen-Printed T-Shirts

Political Promotional Products Grab Interest


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