My mom always told me, “Never discuss politics, religion or sports.” She was right, of course, as nothing gets people in more heated arguments than the subjects they hold so dear. As a marketing strategist and a person who has spent a career building brands, I understand the psychological hold brand loyalty can have over even the most intelligent and informed people.
When I mention words like; ketchup, cola, toothpaste, car, beer, fast food, computer and so on, chances are the brand of the product you are most loyal (or most aware) creeps into your subconscious and conscious brain. Some brands we may be loyalty to, while others we can be swayed by new data (opinions, reviews, advertising) or offers (deals, coupons), among other things.
The same can be said for matters more important than what we consume, such as the political party we side with, the religion or faith we practice, or the team we support and root for. For the most part, these topics are heavily weighted in our core being and it takes something drastic to change our minds.
Which brings me to the impact brand loyalty will have on America (and the world) this fall: the elections. In less than 60 days, we will be electing a new President, as well as one-third of U.S. Senate seats, all U.S. House seats and many statewide elections. Many Americans will vote simply based on brand loyalty.
Does this concern you? It scares me.
Another thing my parents taught me was to vote my conscious. Over the years, I didn’t allow the party to dictate my vote. Rather, I have researched the candidates and looked at their voting record, read their statements and did my best to shift through the facts. If I didn’t know enough about a candidate, I simply didn’t vote for that position. Has it been perfect? No, but I do feel like I am making an informed choice rather than simply voting because I like the brand.
Surveys show most Americans have made up their mind when it comes to the Presidential election, and all the social media posts, commercials and debates will do little to change their minds. Only about 10% of the population remains undecided at this point. To those still deciding, I hope you do your due diligence and vote your conscious over the brand.
Brand loyalty is an amazing thing. And as a brand strategist, I could talk about it for hours should we meet over lunch or drinks some time. And just as passionate I am about building brands, I could go on about how important my faith is to me, or how fanatical I am about my favorite sports team. In those, I am brand loyal for life. But, regarding politics? I think I’ll stick with my mom’s advice.