The Republican Party, having lost the last presidential election, is doing some soul searching. No, I overstate. Apparently taking a hard look at their image, they want to reshape their message. It didn’t go over well to disenfranchise an entire segment of the American voting population: women, Latinos, African Americans, young people. Well, pretty much anyone who isn’t older white male. “Scary” is a common response among the electorate. However, Republicans are not planning to change what they stand for, just how they say it. They want to retool their brand. Not go deep. It’s a surface thing. A facelift. Botox.
I am not holding my breath. My recent project with a nonprofit had me explaining ‘Brand 101’ when the entire board of directors thought a brand was what you do to cattle. You know, that metal stamp that gets burned into the cow’s hide. Shows who the owner is.
So, I have to wonder why the higher ups in the Republican Party are willing to get their skins seared. (Ouch.) Well, not everyone. According to Media Matters, Mr. Rush Limbaugh disagrees. After all he has been an influential loud messenger of the GOP rhetoric. The RNC, needing the Latino votes, now endorses immigration reform. Not Rush. He will block immigration reform on his own, if necessary. Have to say, Limbaugh exemplifies a consistent brand.
I’m trying to picture what the new GOP brand would actually look like. We all remember the TV coverage of the conventioneers—that sea of white faces. The GOP could dress them up in a variety of ethnic costumes. They could wear masks. The TV cameras could have a range of colorful filters. You remember how Bush W. would stack his town hall meetings with carefully selected sycophants? There could be a huge marketing campaign with the real ethnics enthusiastically touting the virtues of the GOP. Case studies. What the GOP has done for me. Think un-Clorox. Think non-whitening toothpaste. Think whole wheat bread. Think dinner parties with a mix of guests eating tamales and fried chicken and dim sum and singing World music. Think elephant wearing a sombrero and tweeting and texting.
According to branding consultant Debra Kaye, author of “Red Thread Thinking: Weaving Together Connections for Brilliant Ideas and Profitable Innovation” there could be a danger of a rebrand. We all remember when Coke tried to change its look. Coke drinkers had fits. The new Coke represented the destruction of what we hold dearly as essentially American.
Neighborhood sighting: While waiting in my car at a red light, two Harley motorcycles pulled up next to me. The one closest to me had a driver and a passenger outfitted in full gear of leather and helmets.The passenger was hugging an enormous bag that at first glance I thought was dog food. I then realized it was Depends. Not sure if they were planning a big trip with no stops or was this merely a clash of brands?