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Democrat or Republican: Whose Brand is Taking the Bigger Hit?

Democrat or Republican: Whose Brand is Taking the Bigger Hit?
Like consumer companies, the Democratic and Republican parties can be seen as brands that can gain or lose favor. / Credit: Political parties image via Shutterstock

It may seem obvious that Americans are unhappy with the ongoing government shutdown, but how much has it affected their perception of the major U.S. political parties? Like consumer companies, the Democratic and Republican parties can be viewed as brands that can gain and lose strength among constituents. A new Brand Keys survey found that both parties have taken a serious brand hit since Tuesday, the first day of the government shutdown.

Brand Keys, a consumer research consultancy, combines psychology and statistical analysis to assess the emotional and rational values ("engagement drivers") of brands and measures them against consumers' perceptions and expectations.

"[Our] brand-engagement assessments, whether for pizza or political parties, measure what consumers think, and from a brand perspective, provides an accurate read as to how consumers — or, in the case of political parties and their candidates, the electorate — will behave," said Robert Passikoff, president of Brand Keys.

[10 Businesses You Can Start During Your Government Furlough]

The company's most recent study looked at four engagement drivers of political parties in order to define the ideal brand values for each. These values, which voters expect their party to uphold, are as follows:

  • Action: A comprehensive, realistic plan for solving problems
  • Compassion: Caring about all people in the country
  • Perception: A deep understanding of the country's problems
  • Resolve: The strength and leadership to guide the country

In descending order of importance, Brand Keys ranked the Democrats' values as perception, resolve, compassion and action, and the Republicans' values as resolve, perception, action and compassion. The survey asked more than 250 nongovernment registered members of each party to rate how well their party upheld these values post-shutdown, with "ideal" being 100 percent. Democrats received a rating of 77 percent, while Republicans received a rating of 65 percent. This represents a 9 percent drop for the Democratic brand (previously 83 percent) and a 16 percent drop for the Republican brand (previously 76 percent) since the 2012 election, when Brand Keys last conducted this survey.

Based on assessments of other brands, Brand Keys has observed that when a brand is stronger than its competitors, consumers are six times more likely to give them the benefit of the doubt in uncertain circumstances. The company believes this pattern will play out between Democrats and Republicans during the shutdown.

"Whether you're a political party or a consumer brand, if you are so disorganized that you are unable to meet customer expectations, you always lose in the marketplace — or, as is likely in this case, the voting booth," Passikoff said.

Originally published on BusinessNewsDaily.

Nicole Fallon

Nicole Fallon received her Bachelor's degree in Media, Culture and Communication from New York University. She began freelancing for Business News Daily in 2010 and joined the team as a staff writer three years later. She currently serves as the assistant editor. Reach her by email, or follow her on Twitter.

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