Don’t Mistake a Slogan for a Brand

On Sunday, Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) spoke about losing the 2016 election, and whether he realized it or not, admitted the Democrats have a major issue with brand identity.

“The number one thing that we did wrong is we didn’t tell people what we stood for,” Schumer explained.

Coming from the corporate world of branding, I speak from experience when I say not knowing what you stand for is major problem — and can quickly lead to the demise of a company or candidate, or in this case, an entire party.

Schumer went on to say that the Democratic party has plans to unveil a new agenda, complete with a brand new slogan that he says, everyone will adopt: “A Better Deal: Better Jobs, Better Wages, Better Future.”

Now, I’m not sure how far along the Democrats are with their rebranding process or what other components this new brand will encompass, but I will tell you that a slogan is not a brand — nor is an agenda or issues. (Read more on Medium)

Bonnie Siegel Talks Political Brand Identity on My Campaign Coach

Branding played a definitive role in both the 2016 Republican primary and the general election and it’s changed the way we view campaigns. Listen to Bonnie Siegel’s insight on political branding, her experience as brand strategist for Ted Cruz for President campaign and the importance brand strategy plays in winning your race. Listen here.

CampaignExpo 2017:
What Everyone is Talking About But Not Actually Saying

It’s the non-partisan elephant in the room. Session after session, speaking to people in the hallways, waiting in line to use the bathroom – I heard the same thing over and over again: People know something has fundamentally changed in the political landscape but they’re not exactly sure what that something is.

First, let me back up a bit. While I’ve written several articles for Campaign & Elections, this is the first CampaignExpo I’ve attended. And I must say, I thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many driven individuals committed to making positive change in government – through elections, movements, organizations – the energy I feel with this group is absolutely electrifying, and I’m happy I’ve had the opportunity to connect with so many talented people in the political industry.

That said, Thursday’s Expo began bright and early with a panel discussion called, “Campaign Communications in the Age of ‘Alternative Facts.’” The session explored how campaign communications are now having to address fake news (like they didn’t have enough of a challenging job to begin with), alternative facts and news that may or may not be completely accurate, may be purposely left out to alter the story, or simply news maybe you or others don’t like or agree with.

It was an excellent discussion exploring the rise of “alternative facts,” but lacked a solid solution on how to combat and/or stay ahead of this constant barrage of endless news.

As I sat and listened to this panel and subsequent other discussions throughout the day, I repeatedly thought of the elephant. I’m sure some of you think the elephant are the pesky “alternative facts,” rapidly changing the political landscape into something out of the Wild West – a potentially dangerous frontier, right? Read more on Medium

The Covfefe Conundrum
How a Strong Political Brand Can Create New Truths

You say “covfEEf,” I say “covfeeFEE” — regardless of how you pronounce it, who would have ever thought the word “covfefe” would become part of mainstream vocabulary?

Certainly not me.

But low and behold, in a matter of minutes, a single tweet constructed by President Trump made this once non-existent, nonsensical word part of every day conversation.

From memes to Press Secretary Sean Spicer’s official explanation to legislation called the, you guessed it, “COVFEFE (Communications Over Various Feeds Electronically for Engagement) Act — covfefe has become an odd kind of nomenclature that means, well, anything you want it to mean. Read more on Medium

When a Party Turns Toxic

“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. Read more on Medium


Bonnie is an absolute force of nature! With an iron will she brings people and perspectives together to synthesize truly compelling brand visions. Her driving force behind a fundamentally important brand exercise was critical to our successful and award-winning website re-design for Senator Cruz's presidential campaign. Serious campaigns would be smart to seek out Bonnie's expertise.

Kristen Luidhardt
President, The Prosper Group

Recent PoliticalBranding Articles

  • Bonnie Siegel Talks Political Brand Identity on My Campaign Coach

    July 18, 2017
  • CampaignExpo 2017: What Everyone is Talking About But Not Actually Saying

    July 18, 2017
  • When a Party Turns Toxic

    June 22, 2017