Part 1 - Cupcake flavors and voter’s desire for choice.
Cupcakes. They have exploded on the scene in the last several years like a zombie apocalypse. Cupcake wars, cupcake shops, cupcake shows, cupcake trucks and, yes, even cupcake wedding cakes. So why has this fixture of toddler birthday parties stormed back on to the scene? Could it be the same reason as Netflix and Amazon’s popularity?
Several years ago author Chris Anderson summed up the explosion of choice and its impact on business in his book The Long Tail. It basically theorized the explosion of choice in everything from cable channels to book selection. When given the option consumers want choices and the internet facilitates that. Now just because they want choice does not mean they exercise it. Top sellers will always be chocolate and vanilla but people are in love with the idea of choices. When selecting a cake flavor you are committing to pretty much just one big choice…but a dozen cupcakes from Sprinkles will allow you to indulge in a couple exotic choices but, ultimately, most of your box will still be heavy on vanilla and chocolate based treats. It is also fair to say that some people like to brag about their exotic favorite cupcakes flavors as a way to show a sense of “difference” from just a normal cupcake fan.
So what does this have to do with politics? Voters (economic consumers) do not want to be limited in their choices or limited to how they are grouped. They like to identify themselves with their politics. The days of a boring old “Obama-Biden” or “Romney-TBD” sticker will be closing soon. People love the idea of choice and diversity. They want to see themselves as exotic before they get narrowed down to chocolate and vanilla.
Part 2 - How “choices” in personal branding are the “frosting” on top of most voters.
**note** Yes, I know the President is more black and Romney is more white and I hate to narrow them to flavors but the coincidence of their racial background and the most popular cupcake flavors is out of my control. If you are looking to infer racial politics into this you should dip your head in a toilet and go for a long walk off a short pier.