A funny things happens if you measure a candidate’s media prominence over 4-years. You suddenly have a unique view into how they compared at exactly the same point in two different campaign cycles.  And with a very crowded GOP field this time around, there are a number of examples.

Take Rick Santorum.

It’s June 2015 and Mr. Santorum’s media rating is at a very strong 83, up +16 points over the prior month.  Of course, the outsized recent monthly increase can be attributed to his come-from-nowhere announcement strategy.  But looking back over the rating data on Santorum – all the way back to June 2012 – his media rating was idling at 76 points.  While the subtleties of campaign coverage are arguably different over a prior election period, the candidate is in exactly the same chronological position in the ramp-up to the 2012 election.

Rick Santorum is 7 points ahead of his 2012 bid for the GOP nomination.

In comparison, Hillary Clinton is 8 points ahead of her 2012 election position.

And Rick Perry is 4 points behind his position in 2012.

So what’s the take-a-way here?  Even with a more crowded field this time around, a few candidates are carrying their media gains from 2012 to the 2016 election.  Rick Santorum has a 7 point media buffer from his prior run for the nomination.  Hillary is taking slightly more with 8 points.  Rick Perry is not doing as well, dropping 4 points from his 2012 position.

Just like commercial brands, marketing campaigns and related events which add to the media base of a brand do build a kind of cumulative media value that can carry forward.  It can degrade over time without the proper attention and feeding (Rick Perry) or it can be an asset in future media ventures (Rick Santorum and Hillary Clinton).