Watching the Republican Party for the past 30+ years, I have been dumbfounded, shocked, and amazed (and sometimes impressed) with how bad of a job they do with their marketing.
They simply have the worst (or no) messaging strategy in the history of marketing departments.
This may sound a bit like hyperbole, but factor in that not only do they miss or blow every opportunity they are given to get their message out, tell their story, or correct the record, but they are also working with the greatest, and easiest product, to market in the history of the world: Freedom.
There are too many examples over this time span to pick one or two to share. But look at the big picture.
What’s the Republican Party’s core product? Conservatism: the most successful ideology ever tried.
And what’s conservatism based on? Freedom: the natural state and yearning of all human kind.
Socialism and Communism is all about controlling people and stifling their pursuit of happiness. Yet you wouldn’t know that because of the Republican Party. They behave as if they don’t even understand their own ideology.
And in fact, it’s quite the opposite. They assume everyone understands their ideology, because it’s everyone’s natural state, so I don’t think it ever occurs to them to explain it.
They certainly don’t remind anyone with the actions or statements from elected Republicans. They don’t defend themselves. And they don’t enact legislation consistent with their ideology. Like Democrats, they sound like conservatives during elections, but forget their promises when elected.
For years and years, I’ve listened to the Democrats and the media (but I repeat myself) portray Republicans as racist, bigoted, mean-spirited, sexist homophobes. And the Republican Party has done absolutely nothing to address this.
And for each label in the list, it’s actually quite the opposite.
Racism is the most disappointing one. I’ve been waiting for 30 years for someone in the Republican Party to give a speech on race and share the history.
How many people know Martin Luther King was a Republican? How many know the KKK was established specifically to intimidate Republicans? How many know the Civil Rights Act was made possible because of Republican support?
Everyone know that it was the Republicans that literally fought and died to end slavery in the Civil War, but somehow, people can’t put two-and-two together now. And the Party isn’t helping them.
The problems with public unions couldn’t be easier to spell out for people, and yet the NEA and public school teacher unions thrive, even though it makes no sense for government employees to unionize. They’re the ones who’ve created all the laws to prevent the things unions exist to prevent.
I could go on and on. And all this brings me to President Trump.
As much as all the personal name-calling rubs me the wrong way, I can’t help but be almost giddy that he’s calling out of the projection and hypocriticism conservatives have had to endure for… well, forever. (Or a really long time, anyway…)
Granted, I would do it much differently, and much better, than he, I’m excited to see him taking it all on.
And for those who have issues with his aggressive and bombastic approach, consider two things:
- While people talk about Trump’s approach like it’s new or novel, Republicans have been on the receiving end of exactly that kind of aggressive speech since Reagan (at least). This is just the first time anyone’s seen a Republican punch back.
- While Trump’s statements, in person or through Twitter, are always portrayed as “attacks,” anyone keeping score will know that he only responds. He doesn’t start attacks. But we’ve all been trained over decades that when Democrats make nasty claim about Republicans, they’re not attacking. They’re just saying what needs to be said.
Even with Trump starting to push back, there’s still a lot of work to do. A lot of work. Tons.
I don’t particularly care for the way Trump does it, but I’m hopeful that the Republican Party can recognize the significance of what he’s doing and find their own way to defend freedom and responsibility.
There’s a reason most conservatives, like myself, would never identify as a Republican. But if the brand can recover, and their marketing department could join the cause, perhaps conservatives will feel represented again.
If they want to make the first step, they would do well to hire an experienced marketer who understands the brand and knows how to tell the story.
They need to hire me.