Last week’s WikiLeaks dump had a surprising star: Wendy Clark.
The CEO of advertising agency DDB North America showed up in the hacked emails of Hillary Clinton campaign chairman John Podesta because of the work she did on the Democratic nominee's branding.
Clark, speaking at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit on Tuesday, called the leak “not part of a normal brand marketer’s life.” The hack gave insight into how Clark attempted to create a logo that represented Clinton “as fresh yet familiar, tenacity, resilience, empathy, creativity, action-oriented, future focused”—the words she used in the hacked correspondence.
Anytime a marketer works on a project, the body of work should represent “the core and essence of who that person is and what they believe,” Clark said on stage, and “distill the most compelling aspects” of what you want to represent.
Clark applied the same principles in designing Clinton’s logo that she does to all marketing campaigns. “There’s so much content out there,” she explained. “You have to stay rigorous and on message and deeply on your position and be very disciplined about doing that.”
Building brands is about fame, feeling, and fluency, Clark explained. In Clinton’s case fame was not the challenge so the focus became the “feeling and fluency of what Secretary Clinton was going to stand for as a president.”
The Clinton logo was filled with meaning, she said. Its transparency, for example, allowed people to add in their own image, making it “ownable.”
Clark pointed to the Obama campaign as a turning point for political branding and presidential campaigns. The previously used flag imagery and stars in elections was a “sea of sameness.” Obama’s team brought corporate branding ideas to the table by focusing on a “symbol that stood for something rather than a word.”
Clark’s work on the Clinton campaign preceded her current role, which she took on in January after some eight years at Coca-Cola. In August, her company won the entire McDonald’s business in what she called an “under dog” fight. “Those are the moments why we take these jobs,” she said.