Mass GOP Market Share

The Mass GOP currently has an 11% share in the marketplace. The question is how to grow that market share.

Successful brands identify what their core message is and build an identity around that message.

As an example I give you Volkswagen from 1995-2005. Before 1995 Volkswagen was considering pulling out of the North American market because they were selling around 50,000 units/year. The “Fahrvergnügen” campaign had failed miserably. The advertising account was put up for review. The agency that won the business (disclosure: I worked on the VW account for all 10 years it was in Boston) hit on a phrase, “On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers.” Distilled down, and in conjunction with that phrase, came “Drivers wanted.” which became the tagline. Taken together: “On the road of life there are passengers and there are drivers. Drivers wanted.”

It was the core message that defined the Volkswagen brand in America for a decade. Volkswagens were German-engineered vehicles built for people who love to drive. Every piece of brand communication –  be it TV, print, outdoor or online – carried that message, “Drivers wanted.” And it worked. Sales increased to around 500,000 units per year by 2002.

We never compared ourselves to our competition. Ever. We only talked about VW and what made a VW special to “drivers”. And VW became relevant in America again.

At the heart of my former agencies process was what we called “Brand Essence”. It was a way of combining all the rational reasons for purchasing the product with the emotional ones. The best Brands make that emotional connection with their customers that reinforces their rational reasons for choosing that product.

The reason I bring this up here is because I’ve long believed that the Republican party has the rational, white-paper approach down cold. Where we fail in growing our brand is in making that emotional connection to the voter. We need, as a state party, to get to our Brand Essence. To treat the Massachusetts Republican Party as a Brand. To start marketing our party as a Brand. To start positioning our party as the solution to what is ailing Massachusetts in a way that connects emotionally with Un-enrolled voters and Conservative Democrats.

And like it or not, the party has to start spending money on (gasp) marketing. I don’t necessarily mean taking out full page ads in the Globe and Herald. I’m talking about creating branded resources for candidates, local RTCs and activists to build our Brand from the ground up. To get serious about a social media strategy. To build an infrastructure that can handle year-round activism. And to start making the case on an emotional level to get voters to “buy” our product. These can’t be the same old candidate mailers that are indistinguishable from one another and only appear every 2 years. They need to be conceptual pieces that make people stop and look at the thing before they chuck them in the recycle bin. Political communications materials don’t have to suck! And if we start thinking of the party as a Brand, and work with the conservative creative people in this state (admittedly there are few of us), they won’t.

About TLCWeld

Chairman, Reading Republican Town Committee
Constitutional Conservative
As a son of NH, I choose to Live Free or Die

  • I agree that marketing is important to the potential turnaround of the MassGOP, and it is seriously lacking as well. However, we can’t successfully re-brand the party without the activists and candidates in place to make it successful. Going back to the VW analogy, maybe Scott Brown can be the GOP’s VW Beetle, but do we have anything other to offer than that 1 model right now?

    While going from Fahrvergnügen to a new slogan was responsible for some of the rebound, it wasn’t just advertising. There was the release of new models (VW Beetle re-release) and the complete redesign of the Jetta and other now-popular models. Sure, “Drivers Wanted” was good, but it wouldn’t have worked if the slogan was referring to the vehicles VW phased out (Fox, etc.).  

  • Vote3rdpartynow

    What should be the Massachusetts Republican Party tagline?

    Here are my thoughts: and who they were borrowed from…

    1. “Where’s the beef?”. (McDonalds)

    2. “Please don’t squeeze the Chairman?”. (Charmin)

    3. “Life’s NOT Good”. (LG)

    4. “Live in your world, vote in ours”. (Sony Playstation)

    5. “How do you spell tax relief?”. (Rolaids)

    6. “M’m, M’m, Gop”. (Campbells)

    7. “You deserve a tax break today”. (McDonalds)

    8. “A little Gop’ll do ya”.

    9. “Its the cheesiest”. (Kraft macaroni)

    10. “It takes a lickin and keeps on tickin”.  

  • in a nutshell, it’s garbage. When you run as a candidate you pretty much have to build your own brand, except that they know you’re probably not for higher taxes. You still have to get a CLT stamp of approval for that and broadcast it.

    I’d like to add my top ten (humorous) choices for MA.

    1. We’re not the Democrats.

    2. Give us a chance, or at least a few more seats.

    3. We don’t belong to a country club, though some of our contributors might.

    4. We’ve got less money than the Dems, so give us some.

    5. Some of us are okay with killings babies (In bad taste I know, but 100% accurate depiction of life on the campaign trail).

    6. We would like a piece of the pie.

    7. Let’s go back to the good old days of Weld/Celluci

    8. No votes (soup) for you! As said by people with accents to GOP candidates.

    9. We’re #2, but we try harder (for the older folks on this site).

    10. In life there are drivers, and then there is that annoying noise in your car that you can’t figure out where it’s coming from.

  • edfactor

    I think the Democrats’ brand statewide is: “We are the enlightened ones.” What is the MassGOP’s brand? It is hard to say, because most people link the state and national GOP. I would say: “We are the petulant ones.” (maybe complacent? self-righteous? angry?) That may sound harsh, but grab any independent person off the street and ask them to throw out a few adjectives that describe the GOP. I don’t think you will get words like: careful, wise, intelligent, reform-minded, patient, innovative, or prescient.

    What should the brand be?  Well, considering that America faces a crisis in state debt from bloated government and future liabilities due to municipal employee pensions and healthcare – Republicans here should be the party of state-level solutions to these problems.

    If the MassGOP was going to have a brand, I think it should be this:

    “We are the reformers.”

    Should the state party take up the re-branding?  I don’t see what they could do. (I suppose they could stand up at the activist conference in Feb and tell everyone to donate some time and money to non-partisan government reform organizations.)  

    However, I think it’s up to individual Republicans to change the brand.