A take on rebranding Hillary Clinton for 2016
My father, an unapologetic Fox News watcher, sent me an article last month that I actually read, The Making of Hillary 5.0 (originally published in the Washington Post). I’m guessing my father thinks that it would be nearly impossible for her to rebrand herself in time for the 2016 presidency, but that’s exactly what she and her staff are attempting.
As a brand strategist, what would I recommend her rebranding team do? Apply the three-pronged formula that we use with clients: role, personality, and behaviors.
First, Ms. Clinton’s team has to define her role as presidential candidate. Let’s use ‘sage’ as an example. It’s believable, ownable, and authentic and shows that she is going to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world. She has unique experience across many branches of government in many capacities and over many years, definitely experience that she should tout.
Next, the team has to decide which personality traits Ms. Clinton conveys that ladder up to her role as a ‘sage.’ In keeping with this choice, the presidential hopeful should embrace characteristics like self-awareness, discernment, and discipline in her rebranding efforts. Why these traits?
• Self-awareness will allow her to confidently reflect what she knows to be true and the reasons for her actions
• Discernment will allow her to exercise judgment as one who upholds the law and represents the needs of the American people
• Discipline will allow her to capitalize on the perception that she gets things done
These characteristics would truly reflect her DNA and appeal to naysayers and fans alike.
Finally, the team should focus on Ms. Clinton’s behaviors. The old adage “actions speak louder than words” rings true, and consistency is the best approach. To truly embody the attributes identified above, Ms. Clinton should do the following early and often:
• Acknowledge her actions, rationale, and motivation (self-awareness)
• Distill the American people’s highest priority needs—take advantage of her experience serving in public office (discernment)
• Focus the message on how her presidency in particular will address the highest priority needs of the country as a whole and actually get them done (discipline)
It’s anybody’s guess at this early stage, but one thing we do know is that ‘Hillary Clinton for 2016’ is relying heavily on rebranding. The best advice I can give is to follow through on defining her role, personality, and behaviors to create a strong brand, and then––may the best candidate win.