Have you heard? Hillary Clinton is running for president! As we gear up for the 2016 election cycle, I'm particularly interested in the branding direction that Clinton and the other candidates will be taking.
I spoke to Ben Hordell, partner and branding expert at DXagency, on Clinton's brand and what lies ahead in her campaign.
How is Hillary Clinton's brand supporting 'everyday Americans?'
A lot is yet to unfold but immediately you can see Hillary including visuals of "everyday Americans" in her campaign. The first taste of this was in her announcement video. The video included real, blue-collar people doing regular things and facing everyday problems. The content touched on schools, parenting, starting a business, employment, gay marriage, retirement and "families" in general. It's a lot to cover in a two-minute video, but you can see the focus is on a struggling middle class. The hope is that there is an issue she touches on that the voter can relate to and associate Hillary with making things better.
How is Clinton branding herself to connect with her core audience?
It all depends by what you consider the core. Hillary appeals to a female audience, the Democratic party and left-leaning moderates. For the female core, Hillary has been definitive in her pro-choice stance and that will put that core at ease and build trust. Additionally you will notice Hillary is referred to as "Hillary", whether it be "Hillary for America", "Ready for Hillary", "Hillary for Iowa", #Hillary2016. By doing so she reinforces that she is not only a woman, but she is her own person. She's relatable and you are now on a first name basis with her. Additionally by not always using "Clinton" there is potentially an attempt to distance herself from the same old politics of the Bush/Clinton years which will likely be a common attack point.
What do you think are the strengths of Clinton's brand?
Hillary has significant experience across many branches of government. From elections where "hope and change" outweighed experience, experience may now win out.
What role do you think branding will play in this election?
Branding will be crucial. Think about why you buy -- you are likely loyal to brands and repeatedly buy the same ones as they have built trust with and you know what you are going to get.
Hillary along with the other candidates must build credibility and trust, and this is evident in the closing line of her campaign video.
"I'm hitting the road to earn your vote. Because it's your time and I hope you'll join me on this journey."