Positioning the Obama ‘brand’ in the political marketplace

Olin marketing expert says it's a balancing act

Michael Lewis, marketing professor at the Olin Business School, Washington University in St. Louis says the Obama brand was launched by a liberal and progressive web-based ‘net roots’ movement in the primaries, moved towards the center on some issues in the general election and now must figure out how it will it will position itself to govern.

“Obama needs to walk a fine line between keeping his core supporters happy (as they will fund his re-election bid) and acting as a centrist that will appeal to enough voters,” says Lewis. “This isn’t really anything innovative — Clinton governed from the center and even Bush tried to move to the center on many issues. I think what makes this occasion different is that the economic crises provides Obama with a justification of spending in ways that appeal to his base.”

Lewis says the challenge is how to keep all constituencies satisfied as President Obama begins to govern, “I think the first 100 days require a delicate balancing act that reassures the voters on the left that their efforts will pay off and reassures voters in the center that they have elected a reasonable man. It’s always a challenge to implement this type of dual positioning.”

Editor’s note: Michael Lewis is available for interview. Washington University’s provides free ISDN and VYVX lines for live or taped broadcast interviews. Contact: Melody Walker, 314-935-5202, melody_walker@wustl.edu