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Winning the Presidency with the 6-Second Story

Date Icon Feb 23, 2016
Author Icon Bill Fasig

In a recent MarketingProfs’ interview, I discussed the “The Secret Sauce in the 6-Second Brand Story.” Why is this important?

Because in today’s frenetic world of digital noise, you have ONLY six seconds to earn the attention of your prospective customer.

A 6-second window for making a connection.

Six seconds to give your customers, your audience, a reason to care…a reason to want to learn more.

Does your story, and how your customer experiences that story, cause him or her to engage with you further, help move him or her closer to saying yes?

6-Second Story in Politics

Does the 6-Second Story apply to all brands, even political brands in the midst of 24/7 saturation coverage and long-form political ads and attack ads of political campaigns?

And if it does, what might that 6-Second Story look like for the candidates in the current Presidential race?

The answer? Yes, it applies, and is absolutely essential.

Candidates are selling themselves, their experience, their ideas. In fact, as with our discipline and methodology of how you get to a 6-Second Story — building from “why you do what you do” and “what then you actually do to deliver” against that why — a campaign is all about the building of a story, a narrative.

It is actually a content strategy, and the candidates themselves and their ideas are the products being sold.

While political or news junkies (and I confess I am one) may well want to hear and suffer through the long-form conversations, interviews, speeches, and ads, most “customers” of a campaign (the general election voters) do not.

In the real, non-campaign world normal customers or consumers (or voters), busy in their own lives, want “a reason to care…a reason to want to learn more…to want to engage with you further” in six seconds.

Let’s try this out for some fun.

What might the 6-Second Story be for the current presidential candidates?

An obvious disclaimer: the statements I am using on behalf the candidates are wholly fabricated. Some of you will agree or disagree strongly. It is politics after all.

It begins with a word. Is there a word that could thematically sum up what each campaign, candidate, and story is representing or selling as the underpinning of the 6-Second Story of their candidacy?

How would that word feed into a 6-Second Story of his or her “why,” followed by the “what” — why he is running, and what she would do if elected, all with the aim of giving voters that “reason to care…a reason to want to learn more… to want to engage with you further.”


6-Second Story By POTUS Candidate


Hillary Clinton: Experience

Why? The Presidency is about, and requires, experience.

What? Only I have, and can apply, the domestic and foreign policy experience honed over decades of service to protect and expand on the gains we have already made in this administration, and now need to take even further.


Bernie Sanders: Revolution

Why? Our system is rigged and corrupt.

What? I will lead us in a ground-up, peaceful revolution of fairness and equality, to restructure and rebuild our economic and political systems to take our country back from the 1% who are exploiting the rest of us for their own benefit.


Donald Trump: Anger

Why? America is falling apart, with incompetent and stupid leadership, and you have a right to be angry.

What? I will run America and the Presidency like my businesses, and will make America win again (make America great again), beat all competitors, wall off or destroy threats of any type, at home or abroad, and bring the American dream back for the benefit of true Americans.


Ted Cruz: Purity

Why? Conservatism in its purest form is the only answer to restoring American greatness.

What? I will lead with, and not compromise on, the pursuit of individual rights and greatly reduced government, reducing the intrusion of government into our daily lives and restoring a moral code of justice and policies based on true conservatism.


Marco Rubio: Opportunity

Why? America can still be the shining city on a hill that gives people like me, son of immigrants, a chance to be successful.

What? I will lead in the restoration of American leadership, greatness and opportunity in the midst of a volatile world, as Reagan did, by both protecting us at home and abroad, become the leader of the free world again, and expand economic and educational opportunities at home, for all.


John Kasich: Compassion

Why? The Presidency should lead in restoring a sense of compassion, caring and unity in the governing of our country.

What? I will lead with compassionate conservatism to change the tone and nature of political discourse, and change our politics, our economics, our social systems, into a fairer, more inclusive, common sense, balanced budget governing approach focused on unity, not partisanship.


Ben Carson: Outsider

Why? We need a different kind of leadership in America, not more politicians.

What? I will lead in governing by applying my outside, unique perspective of self-made success, critical thinking and problem solving skills honed as a neurosurgeon, not weighed down with political baggage or typical political behavior, to lead in a new style of quiet strength and leadership.



Regardless of your political affiliations, do you think these snippets capture the candidates’ effectively?

Here’s the thing to remember: 6-Second Stories are difficult, yet customers (and voters) are tired of the cacophony of noise they are assaulted with.

A 6-Second Story is essential to cutting through that noise.

Essential to giving them a reason to care.

To want to engage.

To want to learn more.

To consider buying (or voting).

Everyone needs their own authentic version of the 6-Second Story. What’s yours?


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