Business Lessons from Presidential Elections
Business and Politics: Strategic Games?
Business Lessons from Presidential Election is about extracting business lessons from the presidential election process in the United States. I love presidential politics. Like much of the world, I was totally absorbed by the 2008 American presidential elections. So much so that I kept a journal of the events taking place as they occurred from a singular perspective: What does presidential politics teach us about business? I first published my findings in the spring of 2008 after the conclusion of the democratic primary and then again in November of the same year after the 2008 election.
It's that time again. This time, I thought I would put some of my findings to test and venture some - gulp! - predictions. I may be proven right or wrong but either way, I hope we will learn something new from the experience. If nothing else, we will have some fun along the way. Hope you will join me on the ride.
(April 12, 2012) With Rick Santorum dropping out of the race, it seems all but decided: Mitt Romney will be the nominee of the Republican Party. This one is shaping up to be an election that's extremely negative, more so than the ones before. I have a personal decision to make: Do I want to follow it as closely as I normally do or "turn it off" like I have already done with all reported news events. I am leaning towards the latter. If I do write more on the topic, it will be either on this site or a few others where I write. Feel free to send me a personal message through my profile if you want me to keep you posted.
(March 7, 2012) It's the day after Super Tuesday. Mitt Romney ended up fighting a close fight with two other candidates who forgot to file their paperwork in two of the most important states: Virginia (where Newt was not on the ballot) and Ohio (where Rick Santorum missed the filing deadline in some districts). Can you believe that? The man who spent millions of dollars and years campaigning for the job is fighting a tough fight with those who forgot to file their paperwork. How can this happen? Read below and you may find your answers. Or perhaps you might want to share your insights in the comments section.
(January 25, 2012) President Obama - his campaign, to be more precise - delivered a stroke of genius last night in his State of the Union address. He chose to speak about the middle class who are playing by the rules but somehow feel left behind, how unfair it must seem to them and what his administration will do to help level the playing field. He did two crucial things: 1) Carve out a target audience for his message - the brooding, dissatisfied middle class and 2) Play authentically to his position, principles and philosophy which is that the Government must step in and help those can't help themselves. I do think that his message needs to coalesce more, which he and his campaign must be fully aware of. Last night, Mr. Obama provided the broad brush-strokes to what his message will be, leaving plenty of room for it to be tweaked based on how it plays with the America people.
(January 24, 2012) Newt Gingrich won the contest in Iowa by more than 12 points! It's been reported that in the state of South Carolina, the polls for Mitt Romney swung by 20 points in one week. The reasons? Read below. The world of politics - and business - is not as unpredictable as it may seem. There are laws of marketing and strategy at work and those laws are against Mr. Romney. Remember, my prediction that Mr. Romney will lose the primaries was made some 7 months ago, when he was an undisputed front-runner.
(January 13, 2011) After winning both the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries, Mitt Romney looks like a favorite going into the South Carolina primaries. If he wins, it's hard to see what - and who - can stop him from becoming the nominee. If he loses, the battle goes on for a while.
(December 20, 2011) I just got tired of updating this page every other week with the rise and the ultimate fall of a new republican candidate. It's time to wait and see how the republican nomination shakes out. Don't let that stop you, however, from finding out for yourself which of these lessons apply to the nomination process and, more importantly, your business or place of work.
What's your attitude - Towards politics and business?
Politics and business:
Let's clear the air
Before going forward.
A couple of notes. I am registered "unaffiliated" in the state of Maryland, which makes me an "independent" by definition. (How boring? I know.) Do I have subconscious preferences and biases? Perhaps. Opinions? You will be reading them shortly! But in the end, this page is my sincere attempt to keep it neutral to all parties.
This page is not about issues, nor is it a debate on who is right and who is wrong. It looks at politics purely from the viewpoint of a strategic game. Win or lose. That's it. Do I care about the issues? Yes. Do we talk about them here? Not really, except when they are a strategic part of winning the election.
If you would like to suggest an "issue based" lens elsewhere on this community, please feel free to do so in the Guest Book. I will be sure to consider your suggestions for cross referencing to them from this lens.
Thanks for playing!
Barack Obama 2012
Who do you think is the best candidate to beat Barack Obama in the 2012 election?
"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." ~ Sun Tzu
Business lessons from 2008 primaries
Hillary Clinton & Barack Obama, John McCain & Mitt Romney
The approval rating of George W. Bush had sunk to its lowest for his presidency. Mitt Romney had put together a formidable campaign but his party would not warm up to him. For the Republican party, it ultimately came down to choosing between John McCain and Mitt Romney.
The democratic primary had a different energy, however. It had a woman candidate backed by the powerful Clinton brand. It had the first black candidate in the history of the country. Mrs. Clinton had been preparing for her turn at the presidency for years. On the other hand, many were captivated by a junior senator from Illinois who just 3 years ago had wowed the country with his soaring oratory.
So here we go. As you read these lessons, think about whether your business is on the right track or it needs to make a correction.
1. Secure the "3 M's"
As early as possible.
We need three things while starting and managing a successful enterprise - the three M's: 1) Message, 2) (Wo)Manpower, and 3) Money. Having these three ingredients in place won't guarantee success, of course, but we are bound to suffer if one of them is missing or weak. Hillary Clinton had money and manpower but her message was weak. Mr. Obama had all three. None of the candidates on the Republican side had all three to begin with. The only thing that John McCain had was message and he was seriously lacking in the other two.
Which brings me to my next point...
2. You don't have to be absolutely perfect
Only relatively better.
John McCain was relatively the best candidate among those who could put together some of these resources through the election process. He had a sincere message that resonated with a large population but seriously lacked enough funding and a strong team. There were other candidates, Mitt Romney, for example, who had funding and people in place but seriously lacked a strong message. By the way, a strong message will attract people and funding but people and funding without a strong, consistent message won't work. In other words, the Message is most important among the three.
And a strong message is not a trivial thing...
3. You must own your message
Not just deliver it as written by others for you.
John McCain owned it through his commitment to life-time of service and passionately living it. Barack Obama did it by writing two books, and in the process honing his message through deep introspection. Delivering a message handed by strategists and advisors does not stick. It's important to be able to listen to your team. But if you don't have your own message that you passionately and deeply believe in, you will get swayed too much by the shifting winds and opinions of the advisors, strategists and, god forbid, the media and the pundits. A business owner must own her message, too. Otherwise she will be swayed by the forces of the market, the employees, the consultants, the ad agencies and the customers.
But the message must be effectively delivered ...
4. You must connect emotionally with people
Through your message.
From the get-go, Barack Obama's message of hope resonated with a lot of people. He was able to connect with people through the content and also the delivery of his message. He was able to stir up deep emotions in people who listened to his speeches. Hillary Clinton could not do so, for the most part. But every time she did - the emotional display in New Hampshire combined with the Q & A style of speeches she developed, for example - she did well.
But how are we assured that we have a terrific message? One of the things it must have is that it's built on the strengths - and seeming weaknesses - of the candidate...
5. Turn your weaknesses
Even better, find a way to see your greatest weaknesses as your greatest strengths. For example, "lack of experience" for Barak Obama was reframed by his team as "lack of wrong experience which leads to wrong judgments" hence the "right kind of judgment" or "right kind of mindset" that would allow him to avoid mistakes like prematurely going to war. By contrast, the Clinton Campaign took her away from her biggest strength, her experience, and tried to frame her as a Change Candidate when it became a fad. In the process, her message became diluted.
A message should resonate with the voters, obviously, but it also must resonate with your team, in this case volunteers and supporters...
6. At the end of the day, it's people
Who will make you successful, or not.
If you have a team of energized, passionate, dedicated people supporting you, working with you, you become unstoppable. This is why Barack Obama won almost every contest where there was a ground battle, like the caucuses. This also generated millions of dollars from donors who donated small amounts adding up to about 30% of the funds raised by the campaign.
But your people must also be able to "close deals..."
7. You can't rely on great marketing alone
You need a terrific sales team - volunteers in this case - who will knock on doors and "close the deal" face to face.
Changing people's minds is no easy feat. Once made up, minds don't change very easily. Even after having all the elements of success in place, it was a tough, long, hard, hand-to-hand operation on the ground for the Obama Campaign, which ultimately tipped the scale. This is especially true against a well-established, well-positioned competition, like Hillary Clinton.
More so when the going gets tough...
8. Don't give up
When things look bleak.
One quality that all three candidates (Clinton, Obama and McCain) shared was their perseverance. Perseverance is not enough by itself but without it, none of them would have advanced as far as they did in the elections. Perhaps the best example of this is John McCain fighting on in the beginning of his campaign when everyone had given up on him.
But in the end, you must make "all of this" not just about you. It must be about something else...
9. Don't make it all about you
Make it about a higher cause, a purpose that's beyond any one person or a group of people.
In the end the Obama Campaign was successful in making the election a "Cause" and a "Movement" in ways that the Clinton Campaign was not able to do. They were successful in making the election much bigger than just a winning an election. Their campaign was about healing the wounds. It was about making the "wrongs" "right." It was about transcending the politics of small-mindedness, racism and prejudice. It was about reaching deep within ourselves and getting in touch with our highest essence. When you have a mission that's bigger than you, unforeseen hands begin to work with you.
"In preparing for battle I have always found that plans are useless, but planning is indispensable."
~ Dwight D. Eisenhower
Business lessons from 2008 presidential elections
John McCain and Barack Obama
Amazinlgy enough, all the lessons from the Primaries still apply in the presidential election, even more so in some cases. Here are 9 more lessons, not in any particular order. Once again, if you are a business person, think about how these lessons also apply to your business.
1. Stay above the fray
Don't take it in the gut.
It's a cruel world out there. In business, just like in politics, you can be accused of being too black or too white. Too pretty or too ugly. Too tall or too short. People may not like the way you walk around or sit down. Some will have a problem with scars on your face or your limbs being too awakward. We are a bored buch of people looking for entertainment in everything. And business and politics are no exception.
The world will judge us whether we like it or not. If we don't immunize ourselves against the world's judgments, we will end up losing. This was demonstrated in the presidential debates where Mr. Obama was often perceived as cool and calm and Mr. McCain was perceived as edgy, even angry. It seems John McCain let all of this get to him in the gut. Barack Obama didn't, despite the fact that he had every reason to, especially the racial stuff.
One of the ways to not let it hit you in the gut is to...
2. Don't make it about "me"
Make it about "them."
"Them" here is not just your customers (voters) but also your team, your volunteers (your employees, partners and other stake-holders) and your suppliers. When you make it about "them", "they" will make it about "you." They will give you their time, their energy and their money. They may even give you their hearts and their souls. They will bend over backwards for you, even follow you till the end. In the end, true leadership is never just about "me," it's about "us".
Great leaders demonstrate their leadership qualities through their action, not by talking about it...
3. The proof
Is in the pudding.
The way that Barack Obama ran his campaign showed his leadership skills. No matter what your political affiliation is, would a lousy leader be able to raise hundreds of millions of dollars, much of it from average people in small amounts? Would an incompetent leader be able to build the ground operation that Mr. Obama built to turn out the vote? Would a mediocre leader be able to lead a campaign organization with millions of volunteers who did not get paid a penny (actually many of them paid the campaign, in the form of donations)?
Sure, the winds were blowing in the direction of the democrats. But under an incompetent leadership, it would have still been easy to blow this election. It had already been done before - twice.
A good measure of a great leader, both in business and politics, is how prepared she is...
4. Luck is preparation
The 13-minute video created in first week of October by the Obama campaign was created by David Axelrod in April of 2008, 5 months before they used it. I suspect that the campaign ultimately used only a fraction of the total firepower they had collected. But being prepared gives you confidence that allows you to respond to problems and opportunities as they are presented.
Because of their preparedness, the Obama campaign was able to take advantage of the opportunity created by the economic crisis in October of 2008.
But there will be times when things just won't go your way...
5. Stay the course
When the wind is not blowing your way.
A good example is Barack Obama staying with his message throughout the campaign, even when things got rough. In some rare moments, he did get off his message (remember "lipstick on a pig"?). When he did, the campaign lost ground.
There are plenty of tempting opportunities to change the course along the way. A leader must respond to such opportunities with a cool head. That's why, a good leader will often seem like he is a slow decision maker...
6. Quick decision-making is not necessarily
A social and political leader - and a business leader - has many things to consider before making decisions.
Lately, it has been wrongly assumed that quick, hard-headed decision makers are good leaders. It's only in the last 8 years that impulsive, half-baked and stubborn decision-making has been associated with good leadership. Most Americans now agree that (77% to 23% as of the time of this writing) that's not true.
People recognized this when they saw Mr. McCain respond to the economic crisis with putting his campaign on hold and flying off to Washington. Same thing when he picked Sarah Palin, an untested and controversial figure, as his running mate.
Some of our best Presidents were slow decision makers. They agonized, they looked for counsel, they talked with their advisors and they sought to look at issues from many angles before making important decisions. One of the greatest American Presidents, Abraham Lincoln, was notorious for slow, deliberate decision making. And he was a war-time president.
Other examples of slow yet effective decision makers: Ronald Reagan, Winston Churchill, Franklin Roosevelt and Bill Clinton.
Don't confuse slow decision making with slow actions, however. Great leaders, once their minds are made up, take swift, committed action. Lincoln, once he had resolved that his fight against slavery was a just fight, never wavered from his commitment to winning the Civil War, even when it dragged on for years and hundreds of thousands of lives were lost.
When it comes to action, great leaders never get complacent, even when going is good...
7. Keep the sense of urgency
Even - especially - when you are ahead.
Three weeks before the election, when he was ahead in every poll, Obama had one message for his voters and supporters: "Don't Get Complacent." He wanted the voters to turn out to vote. He urged the supporters to keep knocking on more and more doors.
This is especially true in business. We need to prospect more when the pipeline is full and when we are hitting our sales goals. We need to service our customers better just when they sing our praises. We need to challenge our employees to accomplish even more, just when they have shattered their previous records.
Good leaders don't quit because they are ahead, they fortify that lead to set themselves up for even a better advantage...
8. Don't take chances
Fortify and leverage your lead.
After they raised $150 million in September, an astounding number by any measure, the Obama Campaign kept raising money in October. After they were ahead in polls in most swing states, which were Republican to begin with, the Obama Campaign started expanding their campaigning into other states like West Virginia, Arizona and Missouri. After building perhaps the most formidable ground operation in political history, they kept knocking on doors to turn out the vote.
When your business is doing well, it's easy to want to slow down a little. But we need to resist that urge and instead keep moving, keep growing.
And lastly, but perhaps most importantly...
9. Bring something unique
To the field of leadership.
One thing that Obama brought to his campaign and now to his administration is his ability to inspire and engage ordinary people from all walks of life. This is truly Obama's signature style.
No other President has brought this to his campaign, or his governing style.
Game Change - The Race of a Lifetime
This book is as neutral as it could get to both parties while keeping it entertaining, light and interesting. If you want to relive the drama around the events of 2008 politics, it's a must-read.
"If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything." ~ Malcolm X
Basis for my prediction
Why Mitt Romney will not win the republican primaries
Mr. Romney's campaign reminds me of Hillary Clinton's in the summer of 2007. She, like Mr. Romney, had people and money in place but lacked the most crucial thing: an authentic message that deeply resonates with people and causes a movement around the candidate. Rick Perry, on the other hand, has an authentic message, an engaging, passionate delivery that comes from his deep conviction to his message and a resume that backs up the primary claim of his message: Job Creation.
Mitt Romney and Rick Perry
You may remember that there are three ingredients - 3 M's - that a presidential election, and a business, must have in place for it to be successful. These three ingredients are 1) Message, 2) Man/Woman Power, and 3) Money.
The most important of the three is Message. In other words, if the message is strong, it will attract people and money. But a weak message cannot be overcome by large amounts of money or the people behind the campaign.
A good message has three components: 1) What you would get if I was elected 2) Why you should believe that I can deliver that promise, and 3) Why I am the best option to deliver that promise over my competitors. The stronger, more specific and more detailed the answers, the stronger the overall message. The better the narrative, the story and the personification of the message by the person delivering it, the more logical and emotional connection it creates with people.
Let's compare the messages of these two leading candidates.
"What's in it for me?"
Mitt Romney's is pretty good; Rick Perry's is better
Do a quick test with me. Visit the Mitt Romney campaign website. (Refer to the Candidates' Websites listed below.) What does it say on the first page? "It's time to focus on jobs. Let's get to work." Count the words. 10. With me? Now visit the Rick Perry website. What's his message? "It's time to get America working again." How many words? 7.
First the similarities. They are both focusing on jobs. They are also telling the American people "What's in It For Them" if they elected that particular candidate.
Here's what I notice about Rick Perrry's message: 1) It's shorter, 2) and it uses an action phrase. His message demonstrates results orientation, which is what America is looking for right now.
These differences may seem trivial. But I assure you, they are not. They say a lot about the candidates and their thinking styles. Rick Perry is results oriented. Mitt Romney is more of an intellectual. A results oriented person won't talk about "focusing on" the thing, he would just get the thing done. If you watch their speeches, I think you will agree with me.
"Reason to believe"
Rick Perry's is strong; Mitt Romney's is weak
A good message gives people the reason to believe the primary claim of the message. In other words, it answers the question, "Why should I believe that you will deliver what you say you are going to deliver?"
Back to the campaign websites. Let's get past the first pages, (unless, of course, you want to donate to one of the campaings), and whoa, this is where the contrast become crystal clear.
Look at the top of Mr. Perry's website. It says: "With faith in God, the support of my family and in unwavering faith in the goodness of America, I declare to you the candidacy for the United States of America."
When you read those words, you have no doubt as to where this man stands. It's wholesome. It's short. It's to the point.
Second slide at the top (still on Perry's website) says, "It is up to this generation of Americans to take our future back from the grips of central planners who would control our healthcare, spend our treasure, downgrade our future and micromanage our lives. It's time to get America working again."
He has painted a crystal clear picture of why he thinks America is facing the problems it's facing today. From his unique standpoint, of course.
The third slide is where he got my total respect as a communicator. It says, "Texas' unmatched record on job creation is based on a simple few ideas. Don't spend all the money. Keep taxes low. Make reguations fair and predictable. And stop the frivolous law suits that paralyze job creators."
There, his entire plan as to what he will do to deliver his promise of creating jobs. In five sentences.
More importantly, this slide is also about why you should believe his claim that he can deliver what he says he will deliver: Job Creation. He can deliver Job Creation because he has done it before in Texas. In other words, his plan comes from his experience in leading Texas as its Governor when Texas created record number of jobs. People respect experience and it's something that's hard to refute.
For comparison, let's look at the second page on Mitt Romney's website.
Slide #1: "A day on the road with Mitt. Sign up today."
(Me: Why would I want to do that?)
Silde #2: "Tim Pawlenty Stands with Mitt."
(Me: Um, isn't that the boring guy who lost to Michele Bachmann in Iowa? Why would I care if he endoresed Mitt?)
Slide #3: Believe in America. Mitt Romney's Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth. Read More.
(Me: He finally got to the point! Let me click the button. Well, it takes me to an Introduction page that reads like the first paragraph of a scientific research paper. When I click for the PDF version, it turns out that his plan is 87 pages long. 87 pages! 87 pages!!! And he still has not given me, an avergae American, anything that I can sink my teeth into. Not a thing.
In all fairness to Mr. Romney, I think it's admirable that he has put together an 87 page document to fix our problems. But, he could have shown some respect for my time and simplified his points into 3 to 5 talking points. That's what a communicator does. That's what a leader does.
Politics, as business, is a competitive game. To win, you don't have to be perfect, just better than the competition. As long as the competition is weak and you are strong, you are assured a victory. But when you have a competition that is stronger, you have to work harder.
Rick Perry's message clearly distinguishes him from his main opponent, Mitt Romney and everyone else in the field. Mitt Romney's does not, perhaps because he has not made it crystal clear what he stands for.
"Owning the message"
Comes more naturally to Rick Perry
If you gave Rick Perry's message to Mitt Romney and asked him to deliver a speech based on it, would he be able to do it justice? No. Why? This message is tailor-made for Rick Perry and Rick Perry alone. And he believes in it. Deeply. That's why his speeches are passionate and people are inspired when they hear him speak.
The messenger is at least as important as the message, perhaps more. The messenger, whether it is the presidential candidate, the business owner or a sales person working for a business, must personify the message, and connect through the message with the hearts and minds of people, not just relay the message handed down to her.
When a message is not true to the messenger, people see through it and we are perceived as inauthentic and insincere, even phony. Mr. Romney looks and feels like a slick salesperson who will say what you want to hear to get the sale. He comes across as inauthentic even though we know that he has most of the right credentials for the job.
My guess, and it's only a guess, is that Rick Perry was involved much more personally in the message creation for his campaign than Mitt Romney. Mitt Romney seems to have outsourced much of his message creation to his team. Big mistake! A mistake I see business owners, presidents and senior executives make all the time.
Will Mitt Romney
Fix his message?
Can Mitt Romney fix his message? Certainly, if he chose to buckle down and go through some intense, honest self-analysis, first by himself and then with his advisors.
Is he likely to do it? No. Why? Because it's not in his nature. In other words, self-analysis does not come to him very naturally. If it was his nature, he would have done it by now. If he did not do in the last four years, when the pressure was off, he is unlikely to do it now when the pressure is on and getting more intense by the minute. I don't see how his campaign people would let him ease off his busy schedule and allow him to lock himself up in a room for some hours every day so that he can truly figure out what he is all about. More importantly, I don't see how he will allow himself to do it, simply because that's not something that he would rather do if he had a choice.
The Reason for Herman Cain's Rise
And Potential Fall
So why is Herman Cain doing so well recently? For a very simple reason: There in only one thing that the Americans care about at this time, economic recovery. Mr. Cain is the only candidate who has a plan for economic recovery that is simple, easy to understand and seems doable. In other words his 9-9-9 Plan is credible yet simple.
For comparison, Mr. Romney's plan is 87 pages long with no bullet-point summary. Mr Perry's plan looked good in comparison for a while but seems overly simplistic compared to Mr. Cain's.
So why are there those who doubt his electability? (The harassment charges surfaced recently and at the time of this writing people seem not to care much about them.) It's because people just can't see how someone who ran a pizza restaurant chain can govern a country.
Candidates' Campaign Websites - And Their Messages
Read these message summaries from the candidates' campaign websites. If you had to vote for one person based entirely on their message, who would you vote for? Read them carefully. May be even visit their websites. Then take the poll that follows.
- Herman Cain Website
"It's Time to Renew the U.S.A." "Cain's Vision for Economic Growth" "Herman Cain's 9-9-9 Plan" "Vision for Economic Renewal " "Economic Guiding Principles" "UNITE, never DIVIDE; UNITED around ECONOMIC GROWTH" "Phase One" "9-9-9 Plan: Summary"
- Rick Perry Website
"It's Time to Get America Working Again." "With faith in God, the support of my family and in unwavering faith in the goodness of America, I declare to you the candidacy for the United States of America." "It is up to this generation of Americans t
- Mitt Romney Website
"Believe in America." "It's time to focus on jobs. Let's get to work." "A day on the Road with Mitt. Signup Today" "Tim Pawlenty Stands with Mitt. Will You sign the Petition?" "Believe in America. Mitt Romney's Plan for Jobs and Economic Growth.
- Michele Bachmann Website
"Join the Fight to Reclaim America" "Michele Bachmann is a principled reformer who holds an unwavering commitment to the conservative values that helped her succeed as a small business owner, a U.S. tax attorney, a state and federal lawmaker, and a
- Ron Paul Website
"Restore America Now" "Declare Your Support for the Champion of the Constitution" "$1,110,369.20" "Number of Signers 19608 as of 11:02:58"
- Barack Obama Website
"2012 BarackObama.Com" "Are you in?" "Email Address: _____________" "Zip Code: _________" "I'm in."
Your turn - Who has the strongest message?
Please read the message summaries of each of the candidates above. You may even want to visit their websites. Then answer the question below.
Which candidate has the strongest message?
Is he ready for the contest?
While we are on the subject, where does Barack Obama fit into all this? Well, he has the same problem that Mitt Romney has and Hillary Clinton had in 2007: A lot of money, a great team, but a weak message.
What I find interesting is that what was Mr. Obama's biggest strength in 2007 and 2008 is now his biggest weakness. In 2008, his message resonated with hundreds of millions of people and caused a movement around him that ultimately put him in the White House. This time around, a consistent message has been almost non-existent from the Obama Campaign.
If there was one thing that he can do for his reelection campaign right now, it would be to buckle down and hone his message.
Would he do it? I think that Mr. Obama is more likely to do it than Mr. Romney. Why? Again, because self-analysis comes to him naturally. In fact, being contemplative is probably one of his very basic needs. He may have even carved out enough mental space to allow him the opportunity to reflect, even in the midst of his grueling schedule as the president. Also, the fact that he did it so effectively in the last election should give him plenty of confidence that that's where he needs to focus his attention.
Some sincere advice
For Barack Obama
Here is some unabashed, and unsolicited advise for Mr. Obama's campaign.
To have an effective message, Mr. Obama needs to look for one thing that American people care about the most and make it a corner-stone of his campaign. A good bet is the economy. Then he needs to paint a clear picture of what he expects things to look like in 5 years in that area and what it will mean to Americans. Then he needs to lay out specific steps that his administration has already taken in the direction of that vision and those that they will continue to take if he is reelected. In other words, he needs to layout a logical, step-by-step path to recovery that would have been followed by his administration all along and will continue to follow after the reelection.
He also needs to emphatically and unequivocally point out all the mistakes that he thinks he has made, which will allow him to also lay blame on others where appropriate and claim credit for the things that his administration did get right. In other words, he needs to be ruthlessly honest, authentic and direct. Lastly, he needs to lay out a case for why he believes that reelecting him, and not his opponent, is the right choice for the American people.
Would it guarantee his victory? No. Could it generate a new sense of enthusiasm around him? If done right, yes. One thing is certain though, without a strong message, Mr. Obama will have to rely on a weak opponent, and that's not a good place for him to be right now.
Business Books - For Developing a Message, Market and Positioning
I enjoy helping business people create messages and marketing strategy, sometimes for their products and services, sometimes for their sales and marketing teams and sometimes their personal branding. If you enjoy marketing strategy, branding, positioning and message creation, the following books are a priceless addition to your bookshelf.
Jump Start Your Business Brain lays out specific, proven steps for creating a marketing concept for a product or service which could also be applied to personal branding, whether in politics or business.
Made to Stick lays out a formula for creating messages that will stick in the minds of those who are exposed to them so that they will remember them and pass them on to others.
In a competitive environment, most people's instinct is to fight head-on. Blue Ocean Strategy is about creating uncontested market space where the competition is made irrelevant and a head-on fight deemed unnecessary.
The tipping point is a threshold beyond which an idea, a product, a concept or a candidate breaks through and gains an unstoppable momentum. This book lays out strategies on how to architect and achieve that tipping point.
Our brain has strategies for simplifying the processing of incoming information so that it can effectively categorize and decide among the various options it has available for a product, a service or an idea. This book lays out ideas and strategies on how to be perceived favorably by people who are exposed to our ideas.
Copyright Â© 2011 by Bhavesh Naik and Awayre, LLC. All rights reserved.
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