[By Heather Francey]
How Hillary Clinton lost an election that was thought to be hers for the taking is baffling people around the world and has left a nation divided. Meanwhile, PR professionals, marketing gurus, and campaign-running aficionados are relishing in dissecting which components of the “Stronger Together” campaign caused Clinton to lose her race to the Oval.
Market segmentation is pivotal – but key markets cannot be ignored
The Clinton campaign deemed the white working class a lost cause for the former secretary of state. This grave oversight became evident on November 8 when the power of “middle America” was brought to light as key swing states voted for Trump. By not targeting this market, Clinton’s competitor captured invaluable market share and won the electoral vote.
Following the election, Democratic nominee, Bernie Sanders, took to Twitter to voice his disappointment in the Democratic Party for not reaching this key demographic.
Brand image must align with strategy
Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign is proof that the target market Clinton chose to forgo is reachable for the Democratic candidate that appeals to “forgotten America’s” struggles – a feat Clinton failed to accomplish. It didn’t help that her bandwagon of A-lister celebrities only made the Clinton brand more synonymous with the global elite.
Campaign message should push the concept that your brand is the best – not that it’s merely better than the alternative
The “Stronger Together” slogan was more of a dig at Trump’s restrictive views on immigration and did little to drive home Clinton’s own message. Unlike her opponent’s notorious “Make America Great Again”, Clinton’s slogan only took flight as a unified Democratic response to Trump. Although embracing social diversity was a central aspect of her campaign, messaging related to the fundamental issues became saturated as a result of this slogan and the campaign’s strategy to position the Clinton brand as simply the more attractive choice by comparison. A more effective use of her time would have been to promote her own brand while resonating on an emotional level with her audience.
Understand the needs of your audience
Underestimating the electorate’s desire for change was a crucial faux pas of the Clinton campaign. Clinton positioned herself as the face that would continue where Obama left off, which historically, is not a good strategy for the candidate trying to win a party’s third term. At that point, people want change. Working class America was predominantly motivated by economic concerns and Clinton’s campaign failed to articulate a message that instilled confidence to this audience that Clinton could lead the nation to economic prosperity.
The Clinton campaign’s overconfidence blinded its ability to see areas of weakness, which ultimately steered Clinton to her downfall.
(Photo by Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash)