Reinventing Hillary: How Clinton Should Use Social Media Marketing to Brand Her Campaign

"MARKETING" Sketch Notes on Blackboard (advertising management)

As Hillary Clinton readies her second presidential campaign, one issue stands out above the rest. How will Hillary, a former first lady, senator, failed presidential candidate and secretary of state, re-brand herself for a fifth time to appeal to the audience of voters she needs to secure the presidency?

To ready her branding for the 2016 presidential campaign, Clinton recently hired a team of consumer marketing specialists to join her trusted team of political advisers, the Washington Post reports.

Their job? Refreshing an already-established personal brand to paint a picture of a winning Democratic candidate and capable leader. Unlike the virtually unknown members of the GOP currently eyeing a bid for the presidency, Clinton is a universally known figure with more than two decades in the public eye.

Consequently, from Clinton’s economic opportunity agenda to the design of the “H” in her campaign logo, no detail is too big or too small.

“It’s exactly the same as selling an iPhone or a soft drink or a cereal,” Peter Sealey, a longtime corporate marketing strategist, explained. “She needs to use everything a brand has: a dominant color, a logo, a symbol. . . . The symbol of a Mercedes is a three-pointed star. The symbol of Coca-Cola is the contour bottle. The symbol of McDonald’s is the golden arches. What is Clinton’s symbol?”

Email marketing is one of the strategies that helped Barack Obama strengthen his brand during both his 2008 and 2012 campaigns. In his 2012 bid for re-election, Obama’s email marketing campaign brought in more than $690 million in donations. For Clinton, employing a strong email marketing presence could help win the supporters and campaign dollars she needs; for every $1 spent on email marketing, there’s usually a $40 return.

Clinton will also need to wield the power of big data in order to deliver results at the polls. From building and developing massive voter databases to interpreting voter behavior by looking at social media metrics, big data holds a wealth of information the Clinton campaign can use to its advantage.

Ultimately, Clinton will have to shape her brand by recognizing what she is — a powerful, shrewd and capable politician — as she faces her biggest political challenge yet.

“Look at Budweiser,” said a former campaign adviser of President Obama’s, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “That’s what Hillary Clinton is. She’s not a microbrew. She’s one of the biggest, most powerful brands ever in the country, and recognizing that is important.”

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