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Jason Ervin

Yes, I couldn't agree with you more. I wrote about this happening on my BO blog, back in May of 2007 http://my.barackobama.com/page/community/post/jgervin/CQBL.

I do think its the message or mantra that matters here the most. Just having great marketing follow through (processes, tactics, etc...) doesn't get you much without a message and a vision.

I think the more important take-away from this that most C levels need to understand, and that most C-level individuals struggle with is they don't understand how important innovation and vision matters. This election has mirrored the pattern that happens in business every single day.

You have one business (McCain) who is like most 20 year old risk averse companies and Obama the other business that is the newer upstart. McCain lacks vision for his company and brand and lacks a road map for his product (what McCain is trying to sell). McCain has not cohesive strategy or vision, he and his campaign team have decided to go with several different tactics combine those and call it a strategy. McCain, like Dell, Ford, Microsoft and most other conservative run businesses, rely on tactics and old school thinking. These type of companies even borrow from competitors messaging, such as Dell trying to be cool and hip like Apple or Ford copying Nissans "_change" messaging. McCain stealing the "Change" messaging Obama has had from day one. Then McCain like most of the old conservative companies here in the US are saying we are change leaders (Maverick), but like those old companies really isn't. Like the old companies they, "say we are innovative", but its very tiny micro change in features that really isn't change. I am sure McCain, just like the managers at Ford and Dell, are risk averse and don't want to much change as they don't want to take the chance of losing anything. Guess we are seeing what happens when a business says "We need change just not radical change". Like Dell, Microsoft, Ford and so many others they like McCain are going to fail.

Then you have Obama, who had a clearly defined vision and strategy from day one, which most conservative CEO's don't understand you need to start change or in this post change management from the ground up. The little people need to echo or mirror your message. You must start your message on both ends as the middle people, managers don't want to lose that nice house, car, and status so they are the bottleneck. Obama and his campaign understands this. They also understand the reverse of what I have stated about McCains crew. They also understand demographics and market share much more so than McCain and most of the those old businesses. McCain, like old businesses, don't want to take risks on new products or to much change because they are it might cannibalize existing revenue, but in return they are choking their own throttle cutting off new or future revenue or in McCains case new voters.

Presidential elections are just like business. Their is only so much market share available so you either need to push your competition more to one side, liberal vs. conservative or hip (Apple) vs. acting hip (Dell; Dell trying to be hip is like Bush trying to dance it doesn't work), or you can bring in new customers who weren't customers before (read blue ocean strategy for more information on this). Getting customers who were not customers before is how Obama and market leaders like Apple, Google, and YouTube win. They all have converted non-customers, people who their competition never thought were related to their industry into customers. They (Obama, Apple, etc)have all done this by being innovative, combining features that seemed not connected, possibly even from other industries. They have also done this by targeting the youth, by having a strategy and, most importantly, a real message that they all share, which is where the blog post above comes in, distribution mediums. Unseating your competition in the eyes of the market is what Bush did with Gore, pushing Gore to extremely green freak. Bush couldn't try this tactic with Kerry because Kerry was a conservative Democrat so he got people to the voting booth with fear based marketing and gay marriage vote. They got potential customers into the store and new if they were there they would buy or in this case vote straight ticket. This worked for Bush because Kerry nor Gore had a vision,strategy, communications or brand strong enough.

Also, for you CEO's out there or SMB's, their is no such thing as "Change we need" or "small change". Change gets diluted if you have middle managers or middle class that are risk averse, by the time your change management is over its almost no change at all. So to get real change you need to be radical (to account for dilution), and it needs to start with C-level and the bottom up. Once you have both ends then middle management has no choice, they will be seen as not participating or the road block and will conform.

As far as messaging goes, combining tactics isn't a strategy, its a bunch of tactics all combined. You need a vision "Change", not a copycat vision "Change we need". The market will see through this tactic.

James Cherkoff

Thanks Jason, great stuff! I couldn't get that link to work though. Pls resend.


Totally agree.

I liken it to being a Long Tail president but with a Big Head. He really captured best of both worlds.


James Cherkoff

Thanks Amelia, a big head and a long tail sounds about right!

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