Working as part of the Clinton Administration in the late 1990’s was one of the highlights of my career that has since informed much of my research and viewpoints in the political marketing field. I worked closely with some of President Clinton’s top advisers in order to create and maintain a political marketing strategy to not only re-elect him in 1996, but to establish a successful political image throughout his 8 years in office.
My time at The White House was certainly formative and challenging. I was asked to provide expertise in the creation of President Clinton’s political image, which ranged from developing appropriate messaging and branding, to providing an analysis on voter behavior in order to make data driven decisions, to optimizing voter engagement through gathering insights and targeting capabilities. As part of the larger team, we worked to support President Clinton throughout his presidency, resulting in one of the highest final approval ratings in presidential history.
A couple key takeaways I continue to apply to my research and analysis of current political marketing environments as a result of my work in the White House:
- Think strategically, not incrementally: having a sound political marketing strategy from the beginning is a key driver of success. Focusing on creating a holistic strategy that encompasses personal branding, voice, delivery methods, and data collection and targeting will lay a strong foundation and showcase a strong and consistent candidate.
- Don’t lose sight of the customer: ensure you are always delivering a consistent message to your audience. This helps establish trust as well as builds candidate credibility.
- Product development is a continuous process: stay up to date on technology. As digital capabilities and communication methods evolve, it is crucial to understand security implications. Data collection and targeting is a key part of running effective campaigns, and the data science world is constantly shifting and advancing.
- Marketing doesn’t stop at election day: maintaining a political image is an ongoing process. Upholding the image and brand is just as much effort as creating the political marketing strategy. Maintaining an image in office that matches the campaign image, as as many leaders have shown, this is much easier said than done, and therefore must be a top priority of any elected candidate in office.