Brand Exercise: How Choosing a Mayor is Like Choosing Detergent

Those of us who work with organizations to establish, protect and express brands often talk about differentiating. In other words, we need to figure out how to differentiate our brand from all the others, in a positive way.

Let’s say we’re talking about laundry detergent brands. Maybe our brand is better at cleaning stains and we have the data to prove it. Or maybe ours is cheaper, easier to use, more eco-friendly or something else that truly separates our brand from the rest. We need to determine why our brand of detergent is a better choice for the customer.  This is Brand Strategy 101 stuff.

Politics is the same. It’s easy for citizens to assume all politicians are alike. One talking head is as good – or bad – as the next, many believe.   

But election day is coming soon to San Antonio, and voters will have to choose one mayor from a field of three serious candidates. In some ways, those voters will face the same questions they face when selecting detergent, a hamburger or a cell phone company. 

The choice is all about the brand, baby! And how voters perceive each contender.

So, it’s a fun exercise to assign brand attributes that define each candidate for San Antonio mayor. In short, the qualities that define each each candidate and that differentiate each to some degree from the others.  Here’s how the big three stack up, at least from my point of view:

Manuel Medina

  • Fiery
  • Intense
  • Disruptive
  • Street smart

Ron Nirenberg

  • Tough
  • Unbending
  • Savvy
  • Driven

Ivy Taylor

  • Studious
  • Methodical
  • Business-like
  • Reliable

Without a doubt, anyone paying attention to this race could easily add a dozen more descriptions to each candidate. And many would surely disagree with my choices.

The real question is: Which bottle of detergent will get the most votes on May 6?

- Eric Whittington