Republicans Have a Marketing Problem

Republicans have a marketing problem. Everyone dances around it, but sooner or later the elephant in the room will step on your toe. Well, I have a sore toe.

First, what do you think of when you think of a Republican?

Really….what do you think?

I bet it’s some combination of greedy, white, mean-spirited, male, racist, capitalist, rich, jerk.

Sound about right?

This perception of Republican traits has been pounded into the culture of America with a marketing campaign not even rivaled by Coke or Pepsi. Those soda giants DREAM about being able to pull off a branding campaign like the one the left has pulled off on Republicans.

It’s all about marketing.

Republicans sit there in astonishment that they have to defend positions that are so clearly superior. They’re astonished because by nature conservatives live in reality. For example, Sen. Jim Bunning’s (R-Ky.) tried to stop unemployment benefits from being extended without first being paid for with money already in the budget. With hundreds of billions of dollars in porkulus funds sitting there and hundreds of billions more that are marked for wasteful, ineffective programs, Bunning wanted to use funds already in the budget to pay for the extension of benefits. Instead, every leftist in the country railed against Bunning as a racist, uncaring pig, who wanted to hurt the downtrodden.  The first paragraph of the HuffPost piece on it read:

“Jim Bunning, a Republican from Kentucky, is single-handedly blocking Senate action needed to prevent an estimated 1.2 million American workers from prematurely losing their unemployment benefits next month.”

It wasn’t until paragraph 4 that the piece mentioned that Bunning didn’t oppose extending benefits, just that he wanted them paid for.  But that was after they quoted him as saying,”Tough S*&t,” to pleading by Democrats for him to lift his opposition.  I remember hearing an exasperated Bunning on one of the radio talk shows explain his position.

Therein lies the problem: his position was logical, made perfect sense, and even worked hand-in-hand with “pay-go” rules touted by many democrats (though mostly ignored by the same). Be that as it may, the issue had nothing to do with reality, and everything to do with the pathos generated by the left. By using emotional appeals that tap into the sympathies of unsuspecting targets, the consumers of headlines, the left was able to propagate the notion that Republicans are mean. In this case, the left pulled a hat-trick; the target is mean, white and racist.

Republicans would do well to get rid of the pollsters, get rid of the party hacks, and get rid of the Republican strategists. They should hire a team of skilled MARKETERS. The RNC should look to the private sector and find the sharpest marketers they can find. Perhaps even from various disciplines: a social media marketer; an online marketer (pay-per-click and SEO); a brand marketer; a b2b specialist; and put them under one roof and under the direction of some bad ass marketing director who has NEVER worked on a political campaign and has ONLY experience marketing to consumers.

A dream team of marketers could easily re-cast Republicans in their proper light. The beauty of this plan is that while the Democrats have to lie about who they are to effectively market themselves, Republicans do not. Conservatism is such an appealing message it will stand on its own. It just needs the right messaging to the right audience at the right time.

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