Last night was the first Presidential Debate for this election period, and although I'm not a huge fan of these things, I do like to view them from afar. While these debates don't help me sort through the issues at all (for me it all mushes together), they do cast a bright light on the candidates' brands.
Just look at how it all opened up ... Obama saying Happy Anniversary to his (now famous and beloved) wife and then Romney making a witty joke about it. Both candidates trying to firmly establish their brands right from the start. And then Romney came out fighting.
The rest of the night was really just about both sides jockeying for position, trying to make sure that their brand stayed intact. For me, no one stood out ... and it certainly didn't help me to understand either brand better than before. But that's just me.
But of course I'm more into the marketing, and there was a tiny little event that happened on Twitter that stole the show. From brand KitchenAid of all places.
Now we should know by now that we have to be careful on Twitter ... many a brand has gotten itself in trouble from a random tweet. Remember the note about Detroit drivers awhile back?
Midway through the night a tweet from KitchenAid landed that basically slammed Obama, noting that even his Grandmother thought it was bad and died a few days before he got in office. Ouch. Wow. Ouch.
Interesting that a brand would have a point of view like this, as we've discussed quite a bit as it relates to Chick-fil-A. Of course I doubt that it actually came from the brand itself, probably whomever was actually doing the tweeting. Clearly that person has a point of view, but does that match that of the brand? I have to give props to KitchenAid, though, for handling it swiftly and openly ... they've been paying attention!
It's a good lesson, once again. Not only did we learn a little bit about branding (or the lack of differentiating them), but also a bit about brand behavior (or the lack of matching to brand equity).
Either way, yet again an example of "marketing is a spectator sport!"
What's your experience? Jim.
President, Cohn & Wolfe NA
Author, The Experience Effect series