Positioning of Presidential Candidates: Experience vs. Change

I fervently believe brand positioning is one of the most important strategic decisions a marketer makes. It is impossible for even your most loyal customers to know everything about your company or brand, but what one thing about you should they remember? What is distinct, unique, or superior about your brand relative to competition?

The candidates campaigning for the Democratic Party nomination for President provide highlight the important role of brand positioning. Hillary Clinton has positioned her campaign on the experience she garnered as First Lady and more recently as U.S. Senator. Barack Obama has positioned his campaign on one word: change. Never mind that there have not been extensive details disclosed about what changes Obama has in store for Americans. The idea of a departure from status quo is very appealing to many voters regardless of the level of detail disclosed about ideas for change.

The outcome of the Democratic race will come down to which candidate positioned more effectively. A position must resonate with the target market, which is why the "change" position of Obama has been so powerful to this point. Perhaps it will be more evident tomorrow after primaries in Ohio and Texas whether Clinton's experience position has connected with voters. Clinton may have more experience and be better prepared for the Presidency, but that is not the point. What matters is whether voters can be persuaded to accept the positioning strategy of a candidate and take action where it matters most: the ballot box.