Democrats are looking at their slate of candidates with their minds, while Republicans are using their hearts to make a determination among their options. So says Mark Newsome, SVP of Chernoff Newman marketing and branding consultancy. "In developing a brand strategy for a political candidate or a product, the key decision is whether to base your appeal on emotion or intellect," he said. "At the moment, Republican consumers seem to be searching their hearts for a candidate to love, while Democrats prefer a more intellectual approach to picking their candidate."
Frank Brown, president and CEO MarketSearch, which also helped produce a survey of candidates, added, "Our findings certainly challenge the conventional wisdom about the two parties. Republicans are often considered the less emotional, more business-like, more pragmatic party; Democrats are supposed to be more emotional and empathetic."
John McCain (R-AZ) is said to be the intellectual choice among Republicans, but he has been trailing the more emotional appeals of Fred Thompson (R-TN) and Rudy Giuliani (R-NY). Meanwhile, Hillary Clinton (D-NY), the pragmatic choice, is besting the more emotional appeals of Barack Obama (D-IL) and John Edwards (D-NC).
"As we move closer and closer to the actual primaries, we will have a better understanding of how – and if – brand identity affects the buying decision in the political marketplace," Newsome said. "It will be interesting to see if Republicans find and stick with a candidate they can love and if Democrats ignore personality for the pragmatic choice."
RBR/TVBR observation: It will be even more interesting to see if the winners in each party can broaden their appeal once it comes down to a two-party horserace.