Evolving Narrative of Barack Obama

Three Distinct Narratives during Presidency

President Obama’s State of the Union Address earlier this week provided the Global Language Monitor the opportunity to analyze the changing Obama Narrative since he rose to the national prominence some five years ago. GLM found three distinct narratives with the communication styles supporting each narrative forming arcs of their own, characterized by their specific word choices, styles of delivery, rhetoric, and diction.

Obama 1.0 Narrative
We had Obama 1.0 whose narrative was that of soaring rhetoric, of hope and inclusiveness, and meeting ourselves in the future.

Reprinted from The Hill, Washington, D.C.
Reprinted from The Hill, Washington, D.C.

This was the “Yes, We Can!” presidential hopeful who would lead us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, harness Iran, close down Git-mo, bring peace to the Holy Land and then get elected to the presidency. This was the time of short declarative sentences or finely honed sentences that would never end, but who cared? This was the un-Bush and proud to say it. This was yet another ‘New Order for the Ages’”.

Obama 1.0 Frequent Word Choices: Americans, Change, Hope, Dreams, Unity

Then the Bush Iraq war policies were kept in place (or even expanded), Guantanamo remained (and still remains) open. This transformation occurred as the hopes and dreams that Obama represented collided with a very real political reality, of war and terrorism, of K-Street operatives, and healthcare plans that had to be passed it in order to know what was in them.

This was the era when the top political buzzwords included ‘anger and rage’, the residue remaining from the (still-ongoing both then and now) global economic restructuring. GLM tested out the new meme and found that what had been characterized as ‘anger and rage’ was actually better represented as ‘frustration and disappointment’.

Obama 2.0 Narrative
The Obama 2.0 Narrative that emerged from the bitter and prolonged healthcare battle, where the behind the scenes wheeling-and-dealing seemed to equal (or even surpass) the worst in memory. Obama 2.0 was now viewed as an ‘aloof’ president who presided over the decision to ‘surge’ in Afghanistan, expanded Bush’s drone warfare, culminating in the president’s handling of the Gulf oil spill and the nationwide speech he then delivered.

Obama’s speech was considered a turning point by many supporters who longed for a leader who would demonstrate how an engaged president would quickly and effectively reach out to those in dire need during such an event (the direct opposite of the Bush response to Katrina). This was to prove not be the case – and the ‘Spill-Cam’ made it all the worse as the oil spouted forth, 24 x 7, for weeks on end.

The voters delivered their verdict on Obama 2.0 in early November 2010, where Obama’s party was pommelled by historic proportions.

Obama 2.0 frequent word choices: surge, Tea Party, deficit, oil spill, healthcare.

The Obama 3.0 Narrative

When President Obama delivered his third and possibly final State of the Union address, he used language that seemed to introduce yet another public persona. This would be his third since his emergence into the spotlight in 2007.

Judging from the language used during his recent State of the Union address, the Obama 3.0 Narrative will be very much like those of George W. Bush, with equal portions of the second term Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, and even a sprinkling of JFK. The Obama 3.0 Narrative’s word choices are only remotely attached to those of Ted Kennedy (and even Al Gore). Those of Lyndon Johnson and Jimmy Carter were definitely eschewed.

Obama 3.0’s Narrative, according to his word choices and focus was on “American Values,” even citing “America as the indispensable nation” (Madeline Albright’s phrasing) apparently an updated reference to ‘American exceptionalism’, a phrase normally verboten to the American Left, since it can represent cultural imperialism and American political hegemony.

The president also emphasized phrases and buzzwords that are generally considered to skew right:

  • Mentioned America and Americans nearly fifty times (vs. 11 times in his Inaugural Address)
  • Defining issue was reclaiming American values.
  • Offered unvarnished praise for the military
  • Praised increased oil and oil production.
  • Preaching fiscal and individual responsibility
  • Highlighted “More feet on the border than ever before”

Finally, the use of negative words and phrases nearly surpassing that of positive words phrases in the State of the Union address.

  • Weakened
  • Shrinking
  • Bailouts
  • Handouts
  • Cop-outs
  • Fraud
  • Dumping
  • Out-dated
  • Unnecessary
  • Phony
  • Obstruction
  • Fiasco
  • Plunged
  • Unstable
  • Corrosive
  • Loopholes

Summary

Obama Narrative 3.0 is strikingly different than that of his campaign and early administration.

In some ways this could be the Left’s worst nightmare: a potentially transformative president, now turning into a Bill Clinton/Ronald Reagan hybrid.

In other ways this could be the Right’s worst nightmare: Obama as the 1996 Bill Clinton, adjusting to his Mid-term ‘thumpin’ and rushing to the center to win a second term.

GLM used NarrativeTracker Technology in this study. NarrativeTracker is based on the global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what any audience is saying about any topic, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, the top global print and electronic media, as well as new media sources as they emerge.

Paul JJ Payack is the president of Global Language Monitor.

Tebow Tops Global Sports Brand Index

Ten-week rise of the Global ‘Branded Individual’ Phenomenon

The highest rated ‘branded individuals’ across fields include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and,  the former Kate Middleton.

Austin, Texas January 14, 2012 – Tim Tebow, the reverent, knee-bending, soft-spoken quarterback of the Denver Broncos, has now claimed another milestone:  Tebow now tops the Global Language Monitor‘s Sports Brand Affiliation Index (SBAI).   The GLM SBAI tracks the top athletes in a variety of global athletic endeavors and measures the strength of their ‘brand affiliation’  to their particular  sport.

Tebowing Child
Tebowing Child

For this analysis, GLM tracked athletes in American football, baseball, basketball, football (soccer), Formula 1, golf, NASCAR, tennis, track and field, skiing, and swimming.

The frenzy has only increased over the last week with Tebow’s dramatic touchdown pass on the first play of overtime to defeat the heavily favored (and defending conference champions) Pittsburgh Steelers.

“In the rankings, Tebow bested this week’s nemesis, Tom Brady, by a score of 100.00 to 38.96, and the defending Super Bowl winning quarterback, Aaron Rodgers of the Green Bay Packers, who scored 28.13 on the Sports BAI,” said Paul JJ Payack, president and Chief Word Analyst of GLM . “Perhaps more surprising, is that Tebow out-ranked fourteen champion athletes in more than a dozen global sports, among them the reigning champions of Formula 1, various Summer and Winter Olympic events, the National Basketball Association , Skiing, and Tennis.”

Click here to see the ‘Tebowing’ enters the English Language Video

Tebow Scores Twice as High as No. 2  in the Sports BAI

The Sports BAI is one of a number of  Leading Brand Affiliated Indicators that GLM uses to measure the influence of ‘branded individuals’ in fields as varied as Entertainment, Politics, Celebrity, Royalty, and the retired-yet-still powerful. The highest rated ‘branded individuals’ across fields include Lady Gaga, Justin Bieber, and, of course, the former Kate Middleton.

GLM has previous noted that the rapid rise of  ’tebowing’ as an English language word closely resembling the rate of  adoption of the word Obamamania in early 2008.   The first mention of ‘tebowing’ can be traced to the dramatic overtime victory of the Denver Broncos football team over the Miami Dolphins on October 23, 2011, when  Tebow ‘took a knee’  in a moment of prayerful reflection.

The Sports BAI is one of a number of  Brand Affiliated Indexes that GLM uses to measure the influence of ‘branded individuals’ in fields as varied as Entertainment, Politics, Celebrity, Royalty, and the retired-yet-still powerful.

GLM consultants employ its NarrativeTracker technologies for brand-affiliated tracking, forecasting, and analysis. NarrativeTracker is based on global discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture about any topic at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the top 75,000 print and electronic global media, as well as new media sources, as they emerge.

Top “Ambush Marketers” For London Olympics 196 Days Out

Top “Ambush Marketers” For London Olympics: KFC, IBM Global Services, Dell, and Nike among Leaders

Non-sponsors Continue to Rank High on Brand Affiliation Index (BAI)

Austin, Texas, January 12, 2012. KFC, IBM Global Services, Dell, and Nike were among the Top “Ambush Marketers” for the London 2012 Olympics as ranked by The Global Language Monitor (GLM), the Internet and Media Trend Tracking Company. In the rankings, encompassing Q3 and Q4 of 2011, GLM measured the strength of the brand affiliation for each official Olympic sponsor as well as those of their primary competitors.

“Though ‘ambush marketing’ is well understood to mean an organization knowingly exploiting a brand affiliation with the Games — without the benefit of official sponsorship. However, all perceived Olympic sponsors according to their presence in the global media, and statistically linked to the London Games, qualify for GLM’s Ambush Marketing Index, said Paul JJ Payack; president of the Austin, Texas based Global Language Monitor. “There is more than pride at stake, since the official sponsors generate some 30% of the revenue needed to stage the Games.”

There are twenty-five top official Olympic sponsors divided into three tiers: Worldwide Partners, Official Partners, and Official Supporters. GLM tracks over fifty non-affiliated companies that are direct competitors with the Official Olympic sponsors.

Measuring each tier against their ambushers, GLM has found that for the second half of 2011, each tier of Ambushers beats their legitimate competitors according to the Tier’s Q4 Brand Affiliation Index.

Q4 BAI
Wiorldwide Partner-A 30.09

Worldwide Partner
25.39
Official Sponsor-A
55.66
Official Sponsor
52.67
Official Partner-A
50.42
Official Partner
16.38

Among Worldwide Partners, Coca-Cola, DOW, and P&G scored the highest on GLM’s Brand Affiliation Index (BAI) for Q4 2011. In terms of movement, Omega and Coca-Cola both improved their BAIs by some 350%, over the last half of 2011. Among Worldwide Partner Ambushers, IBM Global Services, Royal Phillips, HP, Barclaycard, and Dell all scored significantly higher on GLM’s BAI for Q4 2011 than their Worldwide Partner competitors. In terms of movement, IBM Global Services, Dell, and KFC all improved their BAI’s by 250% or more through the end of 2011.

Among Official Partners, EDF Energy, Lloyds TSB, and the BT Group scored the highest on GLM’s Brand Affiliation Index (BAI) for Q4 2011. In terms of movement, Lloyds TSB, the BT Group, and BP, all improved their BAI more than 100% over the last half of 2011. Among Official Partner Ambushers, UnitedContinental (BA), the 3i Group (Lloyds TSB), and all scored significantly higher on GLM’s BAI for Q4 2011 than their Worldwide Partner competitors. In terms of movement, the 3i Group (Lloyds TSB), UnitedContinental (BA), and Nike (Adidas) all improved their BAI’s by 250% or more through the end of 2011.

Among Official Supporters, Arcelor Mittal, UPS, and Cadbury scored the highest on GLM’s Brand Affiliation Index (BAI) for Q4 2011. In terms of movement, Arcelor Mittal, Cadbury, Cisco Systems, and Adecco all improved their BAI more than 200% over the last half of 2011. Among Official Supporter Ambushers, Hebie Steel (Arcelor Mittal), Kraft (Cadbury), and PricewaterhouseCoopers (Delloite) all scored significantly higher on GLM’s BAI for Q4 2011 than their Official Supporter competitors. In terms of movement, Hebie Steel (Arcelor Mittal), DHL (UPS), and Ericsson (Cisco) improved their BAI’s by 250% or more through the end of 2011.

Customized GLM Ambush Marketing Rankings are released monthly up to and following London 2012. They can also be individualized for any organization. The Ambush Marketing London 2012 report features dozens of charts representing the interrelationship of each company to the Olympic Brand, their competitors and their partners. In addition, the reports contain exclusive and individualized Narrative Tracker analyses, the most advanced trend tracking analytics available. For more information, individualized reports, or a monthly subscription, call +1.512.551.3627 or email pjjp@post.harvard.edu.

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