A lot of people don't know this about me, but my major is in History. Specifically an area Princeton calls "Intellectual and Cultural History" - which basically means I majored in English without having to study Shakespeare or Poetry.

When I was in college, I wrote essays on literary analyses of historically significant work. It always seemed that in one way or another, the author had drawn significant inspiration from the Bible. So I ended up with the informal catchphrase of "Everything is the Bible."

As I started to explore more of Marketing outside of its most traditional forms, that catchphrase changed. No longer was everything the Bible. Everything is marketing. And politics are no exception.

In Marketing In the Post-Printing Press Era, I talked about Samuel Adams' "man on the street" approach to colonial politics, as well as Ben Franklin and his "Join or Die" flag.

There are many more examples like these, but the point I'd like to bring forward here is that this is marketing. This is personal branding - the same way I'm using this blog to establish myself as someone who knows what they're talking about, Adams and Franklin used their positions and their personal brands to make themselves the obvious mouthpieces for their respective communities on the political stage.

This hasn't changed. We talk about political platforms and positioning a person or party so that their audience wants to learn more from them. 

Political Identities are the subject of much discussion for strategists, historians, and journalists.

Author Yuval Levin, in his 2020 publication "A Time To Build", explains that institutions have become platforms. Specifically, he calls out Congress, the Presidency, and Journalistic institutions. To avoid getting overly political, let's look at Journalism:

Gone are the days of Walter Cronkite's "And that's the way it is." [1] Now, we exist in a world where news and newscasters are politically charged - stories are told to sway opinion rather than report reality.

And that's not a bad thing. Reporters tell their stories to the people who want to listen - and people listen to the reporters who say the words they want to hear. It's no secret that Fox News is the Republican bastion, while CNN caters largely to democrats.

I believe that “Good Marketing” is the act of putting the right message in front of the right person at the right time. It's the foundational principle behind Seth Godin's idea of 'Tribes,' or more broadly, the most fundamental element of audience development for marketing.

If you can drive a wedge between your consumers and people who aren't your consumers, you can speak to people who are going to buy from you and exclude those who won't.

And it's just the same for reporters and politicians. By speaking to the most loyal baseline of their following, those people can build loyal audiences - which grants them influence and makes it easier to get buy-in for future projects.

So I'll end this post with the question - if we look at the world through a marketing-focused lens, what else relies on the principles of modern marketing?

[1]I say "gone" are those days, but that was really a brief window of time. In this week's column on the History of H2H Marketing, I'll be talking about Henry (Marse) Watterson, whose writing style and very specific lexicon shaped the post-civil war South.