Opinions about branding by Dr. Dannielle Blumenthal

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Monday, May 14, 2012

What Politicians Can Learn From Jamie Dimon

Politics is about power, not morality.

Yet to gain power, political parties routinely market themselves to the voter using the language of morality rather than ideology or self-interest.

A personal assessment of the sum total of the major parties' moral arguments (i.e. presentation plus audience reception), is below:

I. Republican Brand Perceptions--

-Strengths: Freedom, strength, security, prosperity, opportunity, excellence, religious convictions

-Weaknesses: Selfishness, greed, bullying, isolationism, intolerance, the -isms (racism, sexism, etc.), corruption

II. Democratic Brand Perceptions--

-Strengths: Tolerance, diversity, compassion, collectivism, victims' rights, enlightened, global

-Weaknesses: Self-righteous, unpatriotic, suppressive of the individual, weak, immoral, corrupt

If the above is even remotely accurate then we are in a deadlock.

Which means one of three things will have to happen for someone to win:

1. One party is substantially discredited versus the other - the perceived corruption is so uneven that the perceived least corrupt wins.

2. One party puts forth a message that co-opts the strengths of the other party (hopefully while also minimizing its own weaknesses)

3. Some major crisis or event occurs that causes voters to default to the party whose strength are most applicable to the situation at hand.

None of this is rocket science. The election crisis we see has to do with the fact that neither party seems to be taking advantage of basic political communication strategy.

For some reason they appear very defensive and reactive rather than to have control of the message.

For inspiration they could look to JP Morgan and Jamie Dimon's handling of the $2 billion crisis. From Day One, Dimon has:

1. Taken responsibility
2. Told a consistent and credible story
3. Communicated timely
4. Explained things clearly
5. Held his people accountable

If I were an investor, I would trust my money to this company. Not because they are moral or immoral, but because they seem highly capable.

Similarly, most voters want someone who speaks in the language of results. Not religion - secular or otherwise.

The political realm is in the end about power. In the end power is granted to those whose vision is clear, comprehensive, inclusive, appealing, and credible.

Keeping your word is a very moral thing to do.

Have a good day, and good luck!

(Note: I work for the government, but all opinions are my own. This blog is a communication-focused commentary and should not be construed as a political endorsement or non-endorsement.)