Presidential candidates have their talking points memorized at this point. Whether its on TV, in advertisement copy, or through fundraising emails, the candidates have clear (and scripted) messages to deliver to the public. But have you ever wondered what the candidates are like outside of work? When the cameras aren't around, have you thought about what these people actual enjoy doing? What they are passionate fans of?
Over the past year, I’ve had an opportunity to visit over 20 US Presidential candidate town hall events in New Hampshire and I’ve asked each candidate a simple question: “Outside of your work and family, what are you a passionate fan of?” You can feel the tension as they consider how to answer a question they aren't expecting! This video pulls together what I learned and provides a challenge to American voters as they consider candidates beyond the traditional policy points.
Important note: This is a marketing blog, not a political blog. By analyzing and commenting on a Presidential candidate’s passions and their marketing strategies, I am not saying I do or do not support that candidate. This is simply a marketing analysis. Rather than commenting on any candidate’s views on the issues, I write about the US Presidential election because it is a massive marketing case study playing out for several years.
What are the Presidential Candidates fans of?
Direct link to One Simple Question for the Presidential Candidates: What are You a Fan of? on YouTube.
At the town hall events I've attended, the vast majority of questions are predictable. The same is true at the debates. Candidates are asked about the issues of the day such as climate change, income inequality, taxes, healthcare, the opioid crisis, and so on. Each candidate has already worked up the answers to these questions. Heck, you can find the answers on their websites!
But our question about what they are a passionate fan of is unusual. They aren’t ready for it. After we pose the question, candidates frequently pause to think and most look away from me while saying “um.” You can feel the suspense as they consider how to answer.
This video features most of the candidates who are still in the running for the Democratic primary as well as some who have suspended their campaigns. We hear from Andrew Yang, Bernie Sanders, Beto O’Rourke, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Eric Swalwell, Joe Biden, John Delaney, John Hickenlooper, Kamala Harris, Pete Buttigieg, and Tulsi Gabbard.
We did attend a Donald Trump MAGA rally and had hoped to ask the President what he is a fan of. However, he did not take Q&A. I wrote about the Trump rally several months ago in a post titled Trump the Marketer: Non-Political Observations on Last Night’s NH MAGA Rally.
The answers to this one simple question deliver incredible insight into each of the candidates. Voters may want to consider these answers together with where the candidates stand on the issues as a factor in choosing the next president of the United States.
When you share something personal — like the love of a musical artist or a favorite activity like surfing — there is a powerful human emotion unleashed among people, something I write about in my new book, Fanocracy: Turning Fans into Customers and Customers into Fans, that I wrote Fanocracy with my 26-year-old daughter Reiko.
How you can use fandom to transform your business
While learning what the Presidential candidates are fans of helps us learn more about who they are as people, it can also help transform your business.
If you ask yourself what you're a fan of, and what your customers are fans of, then you can deliver on their biggest passions. By focusing on what makes your customers excited, you'll be putting them at the center of all you do. Some of the many benefits of fandom include a better company culture, stronger branding, and better customer loyalty.
If you want to learn more about building a strong fanbase for your business, check out the steps to creating fandom here.
Thank you to Indigo Productions
I conceived this video about a year ago and over many months my wife Yukari and I visited New Hampshire more than twenty times. We shot the video on our iPhones.
It was clear we needed big time help to turn many hours of footage into something interesting, so we turned to Max Rosen and the team at Indigo Productions. Together we scripted the video and went through many iterations to get at this final version.
Video written, produced, and directed by David Meerman Scott
Producers: Yukari Watanabe Scott and Reiko Scott
Camera: David Meerman Scott and Yukari Watanabe Scott
For Indigo Productions
Executive Producer: Max Rosen
Writer: Kevin Arbourt
Editors: Joshua Teicher & Nicolo Ramirez