Most of us enjoyed watching the spectacle of the Romney/Obama war from a human and political point of view.
But there are also some important marketing lessons that can be learned by analysing their battle.
1. ENTHUSIASM MATTERS.
When Obama turned up at the first debate as a seemingly unenthusiastic, quiet, taciturn leader he endangered his chances of staying President.
The next day the polls showed a substantial shift in public sentiment against him.
Why? It wasn’t the brilliance of Romney’s suggestions for the country’s future that damaged Obama, It was that nobody likes a leader without passion, energy and verve. Many were shocked by Obama’s unspirited performance and began to wonder if he was the right man to lead in these dire economic times. His lack of emotional energy cost him plenty.
The same is true when you’re trying to sell your product or service.
People buy enthusiasm, as much as they buy the product itself. If customers don’t feel that you’re totally committed to and excited by what you sell, why should they be?
Are you showing total enthusiasm in your presentations? Or only going through the motions? The difference can be worth a fortune.
2. DETAILS AREN’T REMEMBERED.
I assert that the average voter found the endless statistics and facts of both partys’ leaders totally befuddling. They not only didn’t understand the ramifications of much of the data proffered by Romney and Obama, but had very little memory of it anyway soon afterward.
It’s the same with your brand. Unless you keep your message really, really simple (then endlessly repeat it) then it’s unlikely you’ll make a memorable dent in your audience’s consciousness.
Most of us do the opposite. We say too many things about our company, so few are remembered. We list endless features of our products rather than talk in depth about the one or two that really matter .
As a result our brand doesn’t stand out amongst the countless other competitors who are all doing the same.
There’s money in simplicity.
3. COMMUNITY IS PRICELESS.
Anyone who was on Obama’s email list couldn’t help but marvel at the deep sense of community his team created with it.
Several times a day for months, emails were sent asking for donations, keeping supporters in touch with the latest news and taking every opportunity to make those on the list feel like they were playing a major role in the re-election of the President.
I remember that even on the election day itself, an email went out asking for 750 volunteers in my state (California) to leave what they were doing and lend a hand down at the polling booths. (I assume every state got their own email with this extraordinary request.) Because millions of people were brought into Obama’s ‘inner circle’ by these emails, they not only helped him raise over a billion dollars, they felt a deepening sense of comradeship and loyalty to his cause.
Which inevitably led to increased votes.
What about you? Have you developed a community of customers that believe in what you’re doing, what you’re selling and what you stand for?
Do they feel that you are about more than making the sale? The more powerfully you make a stand for something the more customers will get behind you.
To his audience, Richard Branson isn’t about selling airline seats.
He’s about making flying fun.
Steve Jobs didn’t strive to be number one in computer or music sales, he stood for an intense drive for product excellence.
Ralph Lauren doesn’t get up in the morning purely to make more money, he’s inspired to create a more beautiful life for his customers.
As a result, in all three cases these people created a community of millions of people who believed in them – and therefore the products they sold.
In your own way, you can do the same.
4. THE MESSAGE MUST BE CONSISTENT.
One of the key differences between Obama and Romney was their consistency of message.
One month out from election day Romney fundamentally changed many of his positions on important issues.
So much so, that Obama mocked him by saying there was a new disease of forgetfulness, known as ‘Romnesia’.
In contrast, Obama stuck with his core campaign tenets right throughout the election campaign. Yes, he adapted what he said about them, in response to Romney’s attacks, but he did not change his stance in any significant way.
It was tough to do, but was a crucial component of his ultimate victory.
How consistent are you? With your company’s message and brand positioning? Your standards of service? Your follow through? Your operational systems?
It’s not what you do or say occasionally, it’s what you deliver and how you come across day after day, year after year, that creates your reputation and engenders deep loyalty amongst your customers.
Consistency builds trust. Trust creates long term customers. Long term customers are the crucial element in building business wealth.
In summary, while politics may seem a long way from business, it’s easy to see that many of the same elements generate success:
Enthusiastic delivery of message. Not getting too complex with the details. Building a community of followers. Maintaining consistency.
It pays to focus on them. Whether you want to become President. Or President of your company.