3 Things Every Marketer Can Learn from Hilary Clinton’s Controversial Social Media Campaign

2016 is (obviously) an election year. In November of next year, we’ll actually have to decide on one of these candidates. It’s finally starting to register that there will be no additional canidates to save us. We have to choose the best of Hilary, Bernie, Trump, and Bush/Cruz. Slim pickings.

We’ve had fun pretending Obama could be president forever. But the numbers 2016 attach the connotation of a revolutionary election for our country. The natural expectation was for Hillary to win in 2016. It was really just bad luck that Hillary timed her first bid against Obama; she would have won versus any other candidate. I anticipated the Clinton immediately recognizing the lucrative minority population — as all brands should. Hillary undoubtedly would committ considerable resources towards her minority marketing plan.

Indeed, 2012 saw black women vote higher than any other voting group, playing key role in Obama’s reelection. It’s simply mind boggling that the minority marketing produced by the Clinton campaign directed towards minorities thus far can only be classified as completely negligent or simply disrespectful.

Perhaps there’s a more simple explanation: Organizations don’t hire or even consult with (enough) minorities when creating & distributing these insensitive messages.

Minority marketing is a skill that should be treated as a discipline. Marketers should devote resources to increasing their competency.

Here are some things to consider going forward when marketing to minorities.

1. Don’t try to be empathetic

Attempting to build a connection by implying that your brand can relate to a minority culture is a recipe for failure. Statements or even riskier images that are produced by your brand to sympathize with any situation can easily be miscontrued as insensitive. Instead, focus more on acknowledging achievements for a given segment. Minorities are victims of manipulative media; positive things within our communities are always overshadowed by violence or stereotypes. Hillary Clinton’s social media team actually posted a picture of Rosa Parks morphed on to her H logo. Read: Hillary Clinton Campaign’s Attempt to Reach Black Voters Backfires. It’s not hard to be a little more sensitive than that.

2. No Stereotypes

Perhaps the most perplexing Clinton Social Media campaign is the obnoxious insistence on exploiting stereotypes. Clinton actually ran a campaign entitled 7 Things Hillary Clinton has in common with your abuela. The social media outcry was significant and well deserved. It simply begs the questions, who is running Clinton’s campaign and how did no one on her staff challenge the idea? For the record: Never produce an advertisement that relies on connecting your brand to a (negative) racial stereotype. Clinton’s team mistakenly believed that it’d be savvy by promoting “positive” or insightful stereotypes between Clinton & Latinos. If you’d like to be well received by Urban millenials try showcasing something tangible your brand is doing to dissolve a stereotype; assuming it’s absolutely necessary to refer to a stereotype at all.

3. Sensitivity is heightened

Social Media has proliferated devastating retaliation to the reputation of many brands and celebrities. Honestly, it doesn’t take much to be publically scrutinized for a simple mistake. It’s indisputable that errors can be costly. Take efforts to understand the culture, and take advantage of new resources like Master Minority Marketing.