When a Party Turns “Toxic”: Why Personal Political Brand is More Important than Party Brand

“The [democratic party] brand is just bad,” Rep. Tim Ryan said. “I don’t think people in the beltway are realizing just how toxic the Democratic Party brand is in so many parts of the country.” CNN, June 22, 2017

Last night I heard something that absolutely solidified something I’ve said time and time again: the future of politics is now not necessarily about party affiliation, but about the candidates, themselves.

For a representative to call his party’s brand “bad” and “toxic” on national television, no less, definitely makes one question about this new political frontier we have entered — a frontier where candidates, representatives and the like are worried how their political party will impact public perception on them as individuals.

And while there’s no doubt both parties are going through an identity crisis — an identity shock, really — what’s fascinating to me is we’re beginning to see some representatives and candidates embracing their own brand (whether they are aware or not), jumping off the traditional donkey and elephant rides to victory (or not).

Some see this party identity crisis as the proverbial nail in the coffin. I see it as a very exciting time for this new frontier — a time where voters and constituents actually start to care about the individual representing them, not the party they identify with.

Think about it, voters and constituents are more involved in the political process than ever before, and they want to know what these representatives and candidates stand for, what they believe, why they do what they do, heck even what their favorite food is. The want — they demand — authenticity.

The problem with this is that many of these representatives and candidates who either are or aren’t working across party lines lack strong brand identity. We don’t know who they are or what they stand for, we only know if they have a “D” or “R” after their name.

So while some may be trying to distance themselves from the party or attempting to work across party lines on a variety of different issues, they aren’t doing a good enough job differentiating themselves from the competition and opposition — a formula guaranteed for failure.

This is why strong political branding can absolutely make or break a race, and why candidates — regardless of whether new or seasoned to the arena — must establish a strong brand.

Now more than ever, the essence of one’s brand plays a huge role in winning or losing, and is as important (if not more so) as any stance on issues, policies, and now, party politics.

And candidates without a strong political brand identity? Well, that could be as toxic as Rep. Ryan thinks the Democratic Party has become.

Bonnie consults with political campaigns and teams, leading, guiding, melding, creating, implementing, managing and ultimately bringing to market, a candidate’s political brand identity. Find out more at www.politicalbrandingassociates.com.