Author: Tim Morris, The Alternative Board Ivel Valley
The news is still full of commentary on the recent general election, which produced results which have never been seen before. Having allowed a month or so to pass and without getting into the political aspects, I think we should examine what business owners can learn from the result , and how they can apply that learning to make their businesses better.
It seems that there are three principal reasons for the significant swing in public opinion since the last election.
- (Clarity) on the position on Brexit
- The personality of the leaders and their (celebrity) status.
- The manifestos (promises) of the two parties.
I am sure that there are other reasons, but most commentators seem to agree that these are the primary reasons, and that the order that I have placed these three issues in probably reflect their significance.
So what can we learn as business leaders from the general election?
I think there are real lessons for business owners that can make a tangible difference to our success.
Firstly, that there is real value in a clear brand message. ‘GET BREXIT DONE’ was a clear, unambiguous brand message and resonates with other brand messages which help to differentiate an offer in a competitive market. Remember Steve Jobs presenting the first IPOD? He simply said “5,000 songs in your pocket’. This is a clear brand message which creates both a desire in, and an offer for, his customers.
The second lesson, can be learned from the effort that Boris Johnson made to gain celebrity status. He knows that through history, celebrities develop a following. His own brand of celebrity took his personality into people’s living rooms. He is an immediately identifiable character, and it could be argued that the whole Johnson family is a part of that celebrity status. Having created a friendly recognisable persona, he then avoided situations which might damage this impression.
Business leaders who develop a local or industry reputation develop a similar following. They can support their brand values and perception within their sphere of influence and become a figure-head. The best internal PR is external PR, winning awards and being recognised within your industry has a real effect on your staff and their motivation.
The third and final lesson we can learn relates to the manifesto. This is, in effect, the proposal that each party made to the public. Rather like the proposals we write to our prospects, it is often something which can break a deal more easily then it can make one.
If you take time to look at the respective manifestos, you will see a striking difference. The Labour Manifesto attempted to be complete and costed, while the conservative manifesto is much less detailed and incomplete. What we can learn is twofold. Firstly, that decisions are often made on the basis of clear branding and reputation rather than specific detail. The second is a classic lesson, when preparing a proposal, particularly in response to an invitation to tenders- answer the brief and then stop.
So to succeed in a competitive market we need:
- Clarity in our brand.
- Celebrity from the leader.
- Promises which resonate emotionally.
What do you think?