Business Lessons from Election Strategy

At the time of writing, there are eight more days until elections in Barbados. The strategies employed to win an election campaign (or not) are highly similar to strategies in business when considering the competitive landscape. After consideration, you may decide which is best for your business.

The Attack Mode

You may have seen election ads in different countries which try to discredit a candidate or opponent.  Likewise, many companies use comparative ad approaches when it comes to similar but competing products. Some may not support this approach, since it highlights the competition and can cause clients or voters to consider someone or something they may not have even been aware of, before.  The Attack Mode can sometimes be used as a weapon of mass distraction. When a competing product may be performing better in sales or is actually a superior product, some strategists use the distraction approach and attack, in order to highlight the opponent’s weaker points.

The Love Sessions

Research shows that positive campaigns are usually stronger than negative ones, as aforementioned.  You may say that Hillary Clinton had a positive campaign, but here is where I will state that this is not necessarily so. The tagline for her campaign was, “Love Trumps Hate”. First word, wonderful. Second word, a witty pun, but it also mentioned her main opponent every single time. Final word. Hate. A word that has perhaps one of the most negative connotations ever.  It is important therefore, when using the Love Sessions approach, that you stick to the positive and not use it as a guise to highlight the negative. Many candidates and advertisers therefore love their clients and supporters by implementing bonuses or programmes for them, without focusing on the competition.

The Track Record

When the facts speak for themselves this can be a powerful thing. However, in this age of ‘alternate facts’ one must be very careful. Even the word “fact” is losing its potency…and that’s a fact! So, while your product may be super indeed, you must support your campaign with concrete results. Testimonials are great ways of doing this, along with showing how a product works, if possible. The OxiClean ad is a perfect example of this. It is indisputably good at removing stains. How can you prove that your product is the best option? Think about it from the other side’s perspective. When using the Track Record strategy, think of your competition utilizing the Attack Mode when it comes to you or your product. How will you defend it?

These are only three strategies when it comes to politics and advertising, but it gives you brief insight into how important strategy is to winning the market. Yes, there are dirty tricks and games in some cases; and some people seem not to even bother with strategy and are still successful.  These may be the exceptions to the norm. If your forte is not Marketing, I highly recommend a Marketing Strategist for your business. And remember: not everyone who calls himself or herself an expert is one! Do your research and hold them up to the Track Record test before investing in them! It’s for the good of your business.

If you want to know which polling station you are assigned to, visit The Barbados Electoral and Boundaries website here and use the chatbox.

Lots of love & good vibes, Veoma Ali

Veoma Ali is an Advertising Executive, with a Ph.D in Communications and a Masters in Business Administration.