In order to understand the reputation of how brands work politically, I shall be covering two sports brands , likened it to the two Presidential aspirants and discuss how their marketing strategies and the brand itself have made their name in the market(Ghana).
For this writ-up, I will be covering and narrating about ‘ (Akufo-Addo ‘& ‘Mahama)’. Like Nike and Adidas, Akufo –Addo and Mahama are renowned political brands, who have penetrated, targeted, segmented and positioned their own brands in the minds of customers (voters).
Akufo-Addo although continuous to compete in the Ghanaian politics as the President and leader of the New Patriotic Party, Mahama is gaining grounds at the speed of light and gradually coming to the verge of giving Akufo-Addo a competition.
On one hand, Akufo-Addo and the NPP are currently ruling Ghana. While on the other side of the coin, Mahama stands with the National Democratic Congress, trying to wrestle power from NPP.
A brief history of candidate Akufo-Addo and Brand Mahama
The name ‘Nana Akufo-Addo’ had been coined after victory, which clearly shows its magical impact upon the electorate, yet amazing success of the brand in the market. ‘John Mahama’, on the other hand, has been framed as an iconic name that can act to support the purpose of his party NDC.
Nana Addo’s (NPP) motto is ‘Four more to do more’. John Mahama’s (NDC) motto is Peoples manifesto’.
Difference between Brand Akufo-Addo and Brand Mahama
Akufo-Addo and John Mahama are two of the most popular political figures in Ghana.
Both of their popularity has become so immense that they are literally household names. They pretty much have the same target: people who love politics and are eligible to vote December 2020.
Akufo-Addo is very well known to today’s generation because of Free High School Education (SHS) policy, NABCO, Planting for food and job, one district one factory, one village one dam, free water and subsidized electricity during Covid-19 etc.
He and his party principal target markets are Ghanaian eligible voters, his campaign message is mainly focused on the electorates.
Their market or concentration used to be solely on Ashanti, Eastern and Greater Accra regions, but in recent years, they have expanded to all the regions including Volta which is the strong hold of NDC. Their focus on education and agriculture is very prevalent.
John Mahama’s key markets are those people in the following regions: Volta, three northern, western and central regions.
They used to have Volta, western and the three northern regions as their sole focus in terms of the campaign, they are well known too.
This is because of their long stay in government, labeled as the longest serving party in Ghana.
Akufo-Addo’s target markets are the youth; Mahama focus is more on the grassroots of his party.
Akufo-Addo is pretty much ahead when it comes to the youth; John Mahama is behind the competition because of the Free SHS Policy, Youth in Forestry and NABCO. Akuffo Addo’s markets are more on youth but have expanded to the aged as well; John Mahama is well known in Ghana but his primarily focused is on the grassroots.
Akufo-Addo also target the elite in society and; John Mahama’ focuses on the ordinary voter hence his people manifesto.
Akufo-Addo has decentralized all developments to the municipals, constituencies, districts and the regions; Mahama’s’ development during his turner was centralized being managed from the presidency.
Overview of Ghanaian Elections
There is intense competition in the Ghanaian 2020 elections. The candidates and their parties nowadays have to be strategic and functional at the same time to survive the competition.
Within Ghanaian politics brand Akuffo Addo and brand Mahama are the two prominent names. Akuffo Addo and John Mahama are the most significant brand names in the minds of voters.
Akuffo Addo’s brand notifies “Four more to do more”, whiles Mahama tells people manifesto. One cater for the youth while the other caters for the grassroots.
Comparison of Strategies
Akuffo Addo and John Mahama operate and use same platform for their marketing strategies with different approaches of implementation.
Both candidates and parties focus greatly on direct campaign, technology, as well as make efforts to innovate and come out with new ideas and promises.
1. Focus strategies
Akuffo Addo concentrates more on the these regions Ashanti, Eastern, Greater Accra and Central, and the youth while on the other hand, Mahama focuses on the three Northern regions, Volta, Greater Accra, Central regions and the grass root.
2. Marketing strategies
Akuffo -Addo and Mahama follow different strategies.
Akuffo-Addo’s strategy focuses on the Youth (first time voters) and the elite in the society. This is evident from his policies, free Shs, Nabco, youth in poultry, youth in afforestation etc.
John Mahama follow a strategy of targeting the grass root of his party and non-party members hence peoples manifesto.
Key Differences in Marketing Strategies
• Akuffo- Addo focuses on the youth and the elite, while Mahama has a grass root focus.
• Akuffo-Addo has led the campaign in marketing and advertising strategies targeting the youth, first time voters and the elite.
However, Mahama has made an attempt to expand its campaign to appeal to the elite and the first time voters.
• To gain nationwide recognition, Akuffo-Addo shifted focus on coming out with social intervention policies that benefit all citizenry while Mahama focused on infrastructural projects during his term.
• Akuffo-Addo offers customized message targeted to its audience to gain competitive advantage. In contrast, Mahama tries to be direct and delivers its message on time to its targets to be more successful and sustain in the competition.
• Akuffo –Addo/NPP improved its e-sites with custom options of messages; whereas; Mahama/NDC increases its advertising and marketing budgets. Short videos as well are advertised on social media platforms to attract the attention of electorates.
Moreover, like most global brands Akuffo-Addo has a Facebook page for its campaign messages.
The page is dedicated for his campaign messages and it is updated on daily basis with videos or images. On the other hand, Mahama is all about creating hype on social media.
He has more followers on Twitter which is now cementing its position as a truly cult lifestyle brand.
Both Akuffo-Addo and Mahama does a decent job of marketing themselves using the various social media platforms.
Thus, Akuffo-Addo and Mahama have different marketing strategies in how both parties interact with electorates both online and offline.
The above discussion made it evident that a strategy of Akuffo –Addo wheels around creating a unique and distinct identity for the electorates.
However, both Mahama and Akuffo-Addo have a significant digital presence and magnificent viral marketing strategies.
Dr Alfred Owusu (Senior Lecturer)
Kumasi Technical University