Politicians… I hate ‘em. They offend me. They make me want to punch something – like a shih-tzu (although they already look like someone got there before me). Politicians spew, expound, wax poetic, twist, massage, and congeal the language that I cherish into convenient, little, sound bites and slogans that, from a branding and marketing standpoint, make me want to puke.
Today, my ire turns to *Hillary Clinton and her cronies…
At her Senate confirmation hearing, Ms. Clinton defined her (intended) approach to diplomacy as “Smart Power.” Describing it as, “…using the full range of tools available to the United States, including diplomatic, economic, military, political, legal and cultural tools.”
After some thought – and a little digging – this slogan, this “catchphrase” Ms. Clinton and her staff so strategically thought up sounded like more of the same regurgitated crap that lost her the presidential nomination bid. And it is.
Case in point:
“Soft Power,” (notice the subtle difference) first theorized and then published in a book by the same title, by Joseph S. Nye, Jr., professor of International Relations at Harvard, outlines his position as,
“The kind (of power) preferred by certain thinkers and political scientists… (that includes) ideals, diplomacy, moral authority. All about hearts and minds.”
What the hell? Am I wrong thinking that Hillary (and every other politician) needs to stop trying to speak in “marketing-eze” and that they really need to start thinking for themselves?!?
You know what, Hillary; the Senate is a group of pretty smart folks. I don’t think you need to dumb it down for them. Or are you so unsure of your ability to perform the job, you need to create these nifty little catchphrases to gloss over the facts? Just do your damn job already.
Rob Frankel, a branding expert and author of “The Revenge of Brand X.” said, “Essentially, ‘smart power’ is just more evidence of how bad the communication coaching Hillary Clinton gets and probably cost her the (presidential) campaign.”
And Alan Siegel, founder and head of Siegel + Gale, a considerably credible branding, marketing and communications consultancy, described “Smart Power” as an “unfortunate choice of words.”
Amen. (my choice of words)
From a marketing and communications standpoint, this was a bad choice. Unoriginal. Uninspired. Trite. Redundant. From a political and, may I say, professional standpoint, I’d suggest firing your communications advisers and simply getting down to the task at hand…
Maybe I’m just sick of the rhetoric. Maybe the recent campaign was too much. Maybe after another cup of coffee, I’ll see the advantage of using slogans and tag lines in politics.
Then again, maybe not. ‘Cause politicians and the sort make people disregard – no, dare I say HATE what I do for a living… Stop trying to market and do your damn job already!
That’s it in a rant… what do you think? Politics and marketing. Do they make good bedfellows?
Until next time…
Andrew B. Clark
–The Brand Chef
*Spineless Disclaimer – I’m not anti-Hillary, and this is not intended to be a direct assault on Ms. Clinton. I think she is incredibly intelligent with MUCH to offer our country as Secretary of State. So, please comment accordingly.