By Gregg Houlden

If 2012 teaches anything it should be conservatives have to take messaging more seriously. David Axelrod strategized and delivered an absolute tour de force of message domination, making the conservative and GOP teams look rank amateurs. (Karl Rove, yes looking at you here.) I hate Axelrod's politics, his boss and the end product of his success. However, one has to respect and applaud his delivery, planning and broad spectrum methodology. In business, marketing has evolved to take into account the changes in the ways people get their information. A huge change in the last 10 years is the rise of Social Marketing. Social Media has become, for a huge voting demographic, the primary brand reputation battlefield as it encompasses word of mouth and inbound marketing channels. Karl and his Neanderthal bunch of has-beens ignored the huge potential and mismanaged the conservative message. Brand's look for, what I like to call "Persistent presence". This describes the; what, where, when, how and how often your target receives your message. $600m of money raised from hard working conservatives went to deliver our message. It failed!

 So I am going to post a few Blogs on methods to reinvent our message delivery, and by doing so reinventing the conservative brand. It's something we can ALL get involved in as we all have access to social media channels. Social Media makes every one of us a micro media outlet or Non Main Stream Media channel. My first Blog will touch on a basic concept which we can all use in our own efforts "Story telling". Obama was able to dumb down and talk to the low information voter that we needed to engage via the populist methodology of story telling. It's parables, it's humanizing or visioning in buzz speak but realistically, it's how you would talk to your neighbor, family member or work colleague. WE all can get involved! ;-)

Thinking of the conservative cause as a brand.

Storytelling is one of the most powerful ways to breathe life into your brand. By giving your products and services an identity by capturing and sharing the stories they really are, you can take your target audience on a journey they yearn to experience. In order for consumers to form a personal connection with your brand, company stories must be authentic, creative and inspirational.

Emotional branding is a progressive marketing strategy that has the potential to drive revenue and increase customer retention.How a person feels about your brand typically determines whether they buy your product. When you tell a story that embodies human challenges, you create an experience that resonates with your customers.

Fundamentals of storytelling

Stories are captivating for a reason. From childhood through adulthood, we are drawn to the lessons we learn, the exciting journeys we embark upon, the knowledge we gain and the opportunity to unleash our imaginations. Stories celebrate our culture, and stories are a testament to the lives we have led.

When crafting your brand story, you must be specific in what you are asking readers to do and illustrate why it is important to their lives. Outline actual steps to be taken and show readers how they can recognize the reward. The sell must be creative, yet subtle, so the audience does not feel misled or cheated at the end.

Just like a fairy tale, a captivating brand story must have three acts that set up the situation, chronicle the conflict and offer a resolution. However, business stories are unique because they require a fourth element – a call to action. The ultimate goal of a marketing campaign is to inspire, whether it motivates change, encourages the buying of a product or draws people into your store. Your desired outcome must drive the direction of the story.

Identifying stories to tell

Stories must be personal. Think about how your brand was born, what inspired you to create the company and what your personal mission is. The story must be compelling but factual. While it is important to tell your own story, client narratives have the largest long-term impact on brands. The customer should be the main character, with your company serving as the supporting character that offers tools to help them create successful resolutions.

For example, if you sponsor a campaign to buy new playground equipment for a community center, the story should focus on why the equipment is needed and who benefits from it. Concentrate on one or two recipients, illustrating what the donation means to their lives. Praise should always come from another person, in the form of a quote, not from a company spokesperson.

Testimonials can be your most powerful weapon in building customer loyalty if they are told in the right way. A testimonial that is just a few sentences is forgettable, but a story that delves into a customer’s personal life and challenges, chronicles the lengths an employee goes to solve the problem and illustrates the positive outcome achieved will stick with readers long after they move on from your marketing materials.

Tapping the most effective medium

Any medium can be used to tell a story, including blogs twitter, Facebook, film, print and multimedia. Each medium elicits a different reaction from your audience, so stories must be tailored to fit. The key to success is knowing which story to tell in which medium. Short, snappy messages work best on television and the Internet, while online conversations, conferences and seminars provide a personal connection.

In order to be a good storyteller, you must listen to your audience so you can genuinely understand their desires and concerns, their beliefs and attitudes. You must continue to listen as your story unfolds so you can gauge the reactions of your audience. Let this help determine how your brand evolves. As your objectives and goals shift, you must plan new initiatives that propel the story forward and inspire renewed calls of action.

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  • I was chatting yesterday with a number of GOP London types at the Dorchester. They are worried that not enough Conservatives get out there and shout about the injustice in Obama's plans. I pointed them to our site and explained plenty of us want to be heard.

  • i just try to tell the truth and back it up with references and facts...yes i know....the truth has not mattered to the left...they are actually better at marketing false promises, taking a ponzi scheme, and making it into the best thing since peanut butter. i am surprised bernie madhoff is in prison...he should be a white house advisor for comrad obamaninski.

  • Here we go again, Some wealthy Republican "establishment types" have chosen Karl R. the task to shape the GOP message.  Karl the R loves playing kingmaker, but not the KING. He wants to go out on top, and Romney's non-election ain't it. WE THE PEOPLE need to force our message, because 2014 may, very likely, be our last chance.

  •       step one Karl Rove MUST be replaced.after all he gave us the Busch crime family new world order bull excrement.

  • Actually, the branding thing was tried successfully by Rove inc and its wearing thin as the economy falls down. You might not realize it but the GOP is falling apart as the establishment has no vision, no integrity, no culture and no guts. This is why I support Ron Paul's brand of ideas as it is the closest to Goldwater's which is why I joined conservatism in 1964

  • CM Gosh great post...I think we need to prove a concept for corporate to join ie. build the network :-)

  • Gregg,

    1.  Encouraging my friends to get on Facebook, Twitter and talk to their "sphere of influence" - each person has one and they may overlap, but they are all different.  Among our family and friends are liberals.  They don't hear the conservative message; we have given over the media to committed liberals.  One to one marketing, sphere of influence marketing is what Facebook and Twitter do. 

    2.  We also need a major media outlet.  We need our Billionaires and millionaires to make the commitment to starting a rival to ABC, NBC, CBS.  Here's why:  as long as we are relegated only "alternative" mediums we will never have the credibility that these dinosaurs have.  TV deals in images, and according to my advertising buddy, most of our brain is set up to receive those images, much more powerful than words. 

    3.  We need to support the institutions that bred liberty, and I am talking about the churches.  If you profess to be a believer you have to bring your body, not hide out at home on Sunday morning.  I'll tell you, my live church is where I find the most commitment to conservatism, the most WWII vets over 80, the people who built up our culture.  If you are not Christian, then there are lots of community groups where you can get active and show your conservative principles. 

    4.  WE need to be informed.  WE need to meet liberal thought and language anywhere we find it and be able to have powerful arguments.

    5.  And I have been talking about collecting liberal turned conservative stories particularly.  Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico told a terrific one at the R Convention, e.g. going to dinner with R friends, talking issues, saying to her husband on the way out, "Honey I think we are Republicans".  I want to know our conversions, what changed them.  Have a special forum here on Tea Party for them.  Let us hear from them and honor them they are powerful for us. 

    6.  I pray every night for God to show me what to do with my knowledge of history. Do not underestimate the power of prayer.  In this very issue my prayers were answered by a fellow Deacon/Tea Party member who invited me to this site.  My prayers have been answered including joining this site and inviting others.

  • OH Axelrod, was responsible for the coordination of the media front but also almost branded the DEM's Obama. Deborah Wasserman Schultz is by all accounts livid as to how the Dem's have been taken over by the Chicago machine. It's either good or horrendous to our cause that the traditional DEM's are at risk by the Obama bandwagon as the GOP/TP

  •    I give Axelrod No or very little credit for their success . That is because it was ALL incumbent on a traitorous , biased , America hateing and totally IMMORAL national mass media , bought and paid for and owned by billionaire communists and socialists like Soros and his fellow bilderburgers and new world order one world government radical s--holes .

  • Jonathon, I agree. However, if our recent experience has taught us anything it's that we have to deliver "as it is" is a way that each type of voter can understand and relate. If we are able to individualize the conservative message to each voter by creating real world scenarios, such as family budgets, freedoms, opportunities etc. The voter can feel that the message relates to their life. The MSM managed to marginalize Romney by saying look how rich he is, he can't understand what you go through. It's obviously true, however that goes by an order of magnitude for Soros and Buffet.

    We can have the best most logical message but until its understood and believed by the Low Info crowd we are talking to our own audience instead of winning over the misinformed. The Education system has produced a couple of generations of people who believe they are entitled! We have to reintroduce reality and pragmatic opportunity.

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