In the midst of the presidential nomination season, we will witness many examples of brands attempting to successfully reposition competitive brands - that is, the other presidential candidates.
They will begin with research. Who are we talking with? Fiscal conservatives? Non-interventionalists? Progressives? Social conservatives? Democrats? Republicans? Foreign policy doves? Liberals? Tea Partiers? Social liberals? Evangelicals? Secularists? How do people label themselves and how large is each of these groups?
Once this is determined, that is, once the market segments have been established and sized, then different negative attributes are tested. The following are all possibilities:
- He believes in abortion, killing babies.
- He is crazy enough to get us into an expensive protracted war.
- He had an affair.
- She lies.
- He is a puppet of the 1%.
- He is controlled by big energy companies.
- He is too idealistic.
- We won't be safe under her leadership.
- He cheated on his taxes. He cannot be trusted.
- He is not tough enough on terrorists.
- She hates Israel.
- The economy will collapse under his leadership.
- She puts corporate interests in front of human interests.
- America will become a socialist state if he becomes president.
- He is a dinosaur.
- All of your tax dollars will go to lazy people that don't want to work if he becomes president.
- The minorities will take over our country if he becomes president.
- All of our jobs will be shipped overseas if she becomes president.
- Your child will never find work under his economy.
- There will be no opportunity for you to advance in society if he becomes president.
- She is a sociopath.
- He is an egomaniac.
- He is a socialist.
- He believes in creation science.
- He will start world war three.
- He doesn't believe in climate change.
- The environment will implode under his watch.
- You will be left behind in the America that he creates.
- Many animal species will become extinct if he becomes president.
- She is a dreamer.
- He is ruthless and power hungry.
- He is a scary evangelical.
- There will be no middle class left if he becomes president.
These ideas will be tested for how believable they are, how strongly they evoke a negative emotional reaction, whether they will drive a voting decision and how they will reflect on the person who makes these claims and the candidate against whom these claims are made. The results for each market segment will be analyzed to determine how much repositioning a competitor in this way can reduce his or her chances of being nominated or elected.
This is serious business and it is largely informed by marketing research and brand positioning concepts. Sit back and watch brand repositioning on steroids over the next year and a half.