Did the State of the Union Re-Cast the Obama Brand?
in Branding | by Ethan Lyon
By Ethan Lyon, Senior Writer
The State of the Union Address was Obama’s opportunity to re-align his brand and re-capture the spirit that won him the presidency. His first year has been marked by incremental failures, such as healthcare and the economy, that have severely tarnished his Messiah-brand. As we have discussed, for Obama to put his brand back on track he would need to address his constituents needs, rally his party and set tangible goals. Did Obama’s first State of the Union address meet these criteria? Overall, we give him a B.
Obama’s State of the Union tag cloud:
Addressing his constituents needs (A)
Every effective brand must meet its consumers needs. Obama broke the fundamental rule of branding by focusing on health care, while the economy was an overwhelming concern among Americans. In his address, Obama re-prioritized and did a good job of down-playing health care and instead focusing on the economy — touching upon tax cuts, financial reform and small business.
Rallying the Dems (C)
Apple’s iPad announcement crashed TechCrunch with the influx of traffic yesterday. Why? Apple rallies its passionate audience through not only innovative products but an us vs. them attitude (think Mac Vs PC commercials). Obama had an opportunity to rally his troops (i.e. Democrats) and fight for reform, but instead he played the bi-partisan card. Nearly every time Obama mentioned Democrats, Republicans followed. This bi-partisan approach damaged health care reform as Republicans consistently put up roadblocks for Democrats. To exacerbate the situation, Obama scolded Democrats for not making more impact: “To Democrats, I would remind you that we still have the largest majority in decades and the people expect us to solve problems, not run for the hills.”
Setting Tangible Goals (B)
As in business, aligning your team with tangible goals paves a clear path forward. For instance, we are going to sell 10% more products this quarter and we are going to do it through X,Y and Z. This was Obama’s chance to set realistic, tangible goals but he fell short of the mark. Instead of sweeping statements, such as “…we need to create more of these clean energy jobs, we need more production, more efficiency, and more incentives” Obama could have said, we are going to decrease the unemployment rate by X% by 2011 through X, Y and Z. Overall, Obama fell short of creating tangible goals.
Obama’s first State of the Union address was an opportunity to re-cast his ailing brand, in which he could re-prioritize his efforts, rally his party and make real impact. While the State of the Union address was inspiring, beyond re-prioritizing his efforts, Obama fell short of expectations.