GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- In an interview this morning by Dr. Quentin J. Schultze, Professor of Communication at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, MI, communications expert and author Mark Edward Taylor described the "religious" future of U.S. presidential branding. Taylor had predicted Obama's victory in his May 2012 Kindle book, "Charisma: Why Obama Will Beat Romney":
1. Why did Obama Win?
Romney never really had a chance because the Obama brand, created from 2004 to 2008, became one of the most powerful political brands in U.S. history -- built on a religion-like faith that's more powerful than political or economic reality. His campaign received "Advertising Age's" coveted "Marketer of the Year" award in 2008.
2. What about the stalled economy, Hurricane Sandy, or the alleged administrative missteps that led to the Benghazi killing of a U.S. ambassador late in the campaign?
Only joblessness significantly tarnished Obama's brand. About 40% of voters were going to support Obama regardless of the economy. So Obama told the additional 10% of voters that he needed for victory that the economy was improving. He preached hope, calling followers to continue to have faith in him. In my academic field, that's known as "priestly propaganda" -- telling people what they want to believe regardless of its veracity.
3. So the Obama victory was all about political branding?
Absolutely. Obama resurrected his pseudo-religious brand from 2008 and asked voters for more time to work his economic miracles. His criticisms of Romney late in the race were not designed to gain independent voters so much as to turn out Obama's base. Obama needed to clarify that he was the godly candidate and Romney was the devilish candidate -- hence, the class-warfare rhetoric about poor vs. rich.
4. So what does 2012 teach us about presidential branding?
2008 and 2012 show that presidential campaigns are increasingly "religious" -- that candidates need a compelling creation story (where they came from and what they overcame in life), sacred words (like hope and belief), revival-like rallies, sacred icons (reverential images of the candidate), and saintly supporters (like Hollywood celebs and rock stars who publicly endorse the candidate) who testify to their faith in the candidate. I wrote "Charisma: Why Obama Will Beat Romney" in May, when it was clear from the primary battles that Romney's campaign didn't understand the religious aspects of presidential branding.
Chicagoan Mark Edward Taylor earned a PhD in Communication Studies at Northwestern University and used Obama's 2008 campaign as a case study while teaching at Loyola University. His previous book was "Branding Obamessiah: The Rise of An American Idol," also published by Edenridge Press.
For immediate or scheduled interviews, contact the author directly.
Publisher: Edenridge Press LLC
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SOURCE Mark Edward Taylor