Cheat-Seeking Missles

Saturday, January 05, 2008

"Booo!" Hillary's Bad Messaging Catches Up With Her

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When Hillary spoke about change following her defeat in the Iowa caucuses (clip above), standing behind a podium bedecked in her "Ready for Change" logo, she was flanked by Bill, Madeline Albright and a number of other hangers-on from the 90s.

What was stuck on the front of the podium was drowned out in cognitive dissonance by what was behind the podium.

There is a strategy in messaging in which you address your greatest weakness in your theme, like the very establishment reality of Hillary Clinton theming her campaign as "Ready for Change."

Clinton correctly sees Obama as her primary opponent, not Edwards. Given his level of experience that borders on being totally untested, Obama has no choice but to be the candidate of change.

Facing this, Hillary had two options: Experience or Change.

Change can work for her, since she is the first woman with a shot of being president, and that certainly is a change. And, she argues to the Dems, the biggest change that's needed is a change from George Bush's policy. But Obama can trump that, being the first black president and representing much more of a change, since he's different from both Bush and the Clinton establishment.

Hillary's "change" messaging strategy is hurting her, not helping her, as she learned today when she spoke to Dems in New Hampshire:
By comparison [with Obama] Hillary was twice booed. The first time was when she said she has always and will continue to work for "change for you. The audience, particularly from Obama supporters (they were waving Obama signs) let out a noise that sounded like a thousand people collectively groaning. The second time came a few minutes later when Clinton said: "The there are two big questions for voters in New Hampshire. One is: who will be ready to lead from day one? The second," and here Clinton was forced to pause as boos from the crowd mixed with cheers from her own supporters. "Is who can we nominate who will go the distance against the Republicans?”
If she hopes to bounce back from her Iowa hit and what appears will be another hit in New Hampshire, Hillary needs to replace her "change" messaging and replace it a "competence" message.

She should burn the "Ready for Change" signs and replace them with a new sign: "Tested. Trusted. Ready."

You can't deny the first and the last word, and they effectively sandwich the dubious claim of "trusted," effectively buffering it with her strong messages.

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