Affinity Marketing is a Double-Edged Sword

Running for office is, sadly, a massive marketing campaign, where the candidate is the brand and the election is the final sale. The problem with politics, though, is that there are no refunds and the rules for exchanges are onerous (but not impossible, as California’s former Governor Davis learned).

Affinity marketing, with respect to political campaigns, works better when a respected individual, usually from business or politics, campaigns on behalf of the candidate. It works best when that individual continues to do their “day” job, building their personal reputation and garnering greater respect.

Unfortunately for Sen. Hillary Clinton, her husband has spent too much of his time openly campaigning against Sen. Barack Obama. Let me say that I am a fan of the former President, which is why I am so disappointed.

The way for him to successfully support his wife is by focusing on what she will bring to the office not on the foibles of her opponents. At the same time, he needs to generate more news focusing on his work with humanitarian causes. You can’t buy that kind of affinity anywhere.

President Clinton left office with the highest approval ratings of any president leaving office since World War II. That approval remained high in the years following his departure from the White House because of his continued work.

Now, the Bill Clinton brand represents a smear campaign. And I would imagine that his approval rating over the last couple of months would have dropped. If Sen. Clinton wins the nomination, I hope the former President takes a better approach, building positive affinity for her brand.

Stepping away from politics and looking at marketing in general, ask yourself about what affinities you have. What are those brands/individuals doing to support your brand? What are they doing that could bring it down and diminish its value? What are you going to do about it?

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