Corporate Identity: Today’s Politics


How do you recognize your favorite brands? By what they do? Their logo? The places and ways they make themselves known? Perhaps even their colors? Everything that you recognize, all of the moving parts of a brand, forms the corporate identity.

Political parties play a huge role in America. Primarily, we have two large political parties– corporations, if you will – that brand and identify themselves with traits and characteristics audiences will be able to identify. The Republican party has a logo of an elephant, the Democratic party a donkey. The Republican party primarily brands with the color red, the Democratic party with the color blue. The Republican party is well-known for holding traditional, conservative values, while the Democratic party promotes itself as built for change. Both identities allow the audience (American citizens) to recognize the party with all of their promotional materials.

To create specific corporate profiles for today’s political parties is to understand the ways the organizations are seen by the public, to recognize how the signs that represent each party are both received and transformed into a corporate image. How does a corporate identity differ from that of a corporate image? A corporate image is the official self-image or ‘reputation’ of a given organization, while the corporate identity is the collection of signs and symbols people associate with it. The two, therefore, consist of complementary parts that feed off each other. The recognition of the brand behind each of the two political parties comes from the communication each party constructs for itself according to ‘external’ impressions by the audience. These perceptions are often based on controlled messages (ads, releases, political slogans, logos, and even endorsements) put forth by the parties, allowing the organizations to help mold the image. In turn, the corporate identity can change as decision makers (party leaders) take these impressions into account.

The corporate identity of both the Democratic and Republican parties are influenced by their persuasiveness and credibility, or rhetorical power, in a world filled with signs and symbols. Each slogan, logo and ad must transfer rhetorical messages that connect with voters and call them to act. Do you think the symbols our country’s political parties use appropriately convey their brand? How do you interpret and connect with these symbols? Do you feel as though the “symbols” of each party were more relevant this year than with past elections? Let us know!

8 thoughts on “Corporate Identity: Today’s Politics

  1. It is interesting how this post brings up the idea of political parties being corporations because it is an idea I have never thought of before. I do feel that, in an election as divisive as this one, the symbols of a political party become more relevant than ever. They appeared frequently on signs, television commercials, billboards, etc. The two parties relied heavily on party loyalty in this election and this meant increasing the visibility of their messages and icons.

  2. I think one of the most interesting aspects of a presidential election in the modern era is that, most of the time, the candidates and parties no longer have control over their symbols. The symbols are presented through official channels, such as TV advertisements or flyers, but can be transformed quite easily by the people of the United States. The symbols or photos associated with a candidate or party can be turned into memes and instantly “go viral” on the internet. This can be detrimental to the image a campaign is trying to present. For instance, social media loved the meme that accused Ted Cruz of being the zodiac killer. The meme was so popular that “Is Ted Cruz the zodiac killer?” was one of the most popular Google searches for a period of time before the campaign was able to pay to have it removed.

  3. I absolutely think that the presence of symbols in this election have been more prevalent than ever. They are appearing everywhere within both people. This election was an extremely visible one and like the above commenter suggested they relied very heavily on support and input for their image and so that they could have a voter increase by making them visible.

  4. Very interesting article. I think the parties conveyed their messages well this election, but while doing so in some cases also diverted some negativity across television screens and radio advertisements, not intentionally doing so. Some of the scrutiny I have is towards donors and corporations that pay for advertisements either bashing the other candidate or presenting bleak information that does not portray well the candidates stance.

  5. I think you bring up some interesting points. The Presidential election has certainly been a hot topic issue this past year and found your article intriguing. Thanks for the info, i wouldnt have ever given thought to parties being anything like a corporation before now!

  6. I think the images they use have led to humorous interpretations and slogans from each competing party. I really like this articles focus on parties being labeled as corporations. It is so obvious now that I think about it. It is literally like two competing brands who are vying for the affection of political consumers. I think an image can help or hurt a political brand because it is exploitable by the other side in numerous creative ways but I think this is also healthy for the brands as well.

  7. The symbols our country’s political parties use appropriately convey their brand by the way the parties tailor them. For example, the color red is often associated with blood and war as well as passion and love. The Republican party can gear these concepts in their favor during times of war or strong passion over certain issues. Also, donkeys may be associated with low intelligence as well as dedication. Democrats use these to their advantage, affiliating themselves with the latter. With slightly diverse ties to red and blue, elephants and donkeys, I do not entirely connect to these symbols because they can partially be left to interpretation. I would only say these symbols are merely more relevant to this year because it is a high-profile election. During these times, I feel many people revert to the strictest association with a “Republican” or “Democrat” rather than thinking of them as a spectrum.

    I enjoyed your topic choice. It is very relevant. I appreciate your discussion of the branding of general political parties rather than specific candidates. That would probably turn into a large, very different discussion. Also, I enjoyed the simplicity of the post. It was straight to the point with a visual.

  8. I liked reading this topic choice. We think about politics in many ways, but oftentimes not from an IMC perspective. I don’t know of many people who actually identify the elephant and donkey as anything symbolic. They are more viewed as kind of relics from many years ago that have just kind of stuck around. Also, I think that the colors have little to do with the marketing. Red and blue just happened to be the two most popular colors. I think, however, the real branding is the messages and platforms that the parties tend to stick to. Democrats are supposed to be the party of change, social help, and progressive thinking, while republicans are for more conservative governmental roles in economic policy. This is the type of brand that people stick to even when individual candidates come along that don’t fit into these views. Donald Trump is a perfect example. He is not a small government republican, but was able to rally enough of the usual republican voters to win our last election.

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