Candidates vs. Movements


Not to get all political on you, and we’re not coming out and endorsing a candidate for the 2008 U.S. Presidential elections (or any other elections, for that matter), but there’s been some interesting press from the New York Times regarding Barack Obama.

First, from an article on January 8th:
“It’s not something he’s doing.” Professor Bafumi said. “It’s something he’s being.”

Second, from an article on January 9th, this quote:
[Obama] who at times this weekend seemed to be more of a movement than a candidate.

It comes down to brand. After all, political candidates are brands, just as individuals have their own personal brand. Think about how people build relationships with brands… they build relationships with brands because of (a) how the brand reflects their own values and opinions; (b) they feel an emotional attachment to the brand; (c) people use a brand to communicate their own beliefs to others – it represents their philosophy to others through the (purchase) decisions they make.

Brand, along with the idea of making meaning, creates something stronger than purchasers, or voters. It creates followers and believers – a movement. The term “evangelist” doesn’t just apply for those who voted for Huckabee in Iowa. They can be believers in a product (talk to a fan of Apple and you’ll see it), faithful to a service (like Rudy’s Barbershop), or they can be followers of a philosophy (religion, vegetarianism, environmentalism, the list is endless). The result in having believers is determined if “making meaning” is used for good, or for evil. Make sure you know what’s in the Kool Aid.

Back to Obama, you can maybe see why he is building a huge following from his “concession” speech in New Hampshire…

Come November, is the United States going to vote for a candidate, or a movement?

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