Australian election

What an event, what a result.

Australians have endured weeks of electioneering by the major parties in the lead up to the recent election and the chance of a hung parliament means that it will be a slow and detailed process to decide who will form a government.

What has the election got to do with thedemoguy? Well as an Australian I was bombarded with messages, slogans, commercials etc to convince me of the efficacy of the political parties and their capabilities.

In business sales it is good practice to not dump on the competition in a public way. Typically you do not know what your prospect thinks about the competitors products so overtly putting them down may simply reduce your credibility in the mind of your prospect. The best strategy is to drop comments that may cause the prospect to question the accuracy of the competitors products and let them draw their own conclusions.

In the election we were bombarded with “they did this [bad thing]” “they can’t be trusted because…” “we did this [good thing]” and so on. Nothing subtle at all just plain old dumping on the competition.

The problem is that we are not all inexperienced and gullible people. Often we are knowledgeable, insightful and have good memories. Try to con us and we know. Try to tell us that black is white and we will not believe you. Try to tell us that everything that you do is good and we definitely do not believe you.

What was missing from the campaign is plain old truthfulness and recognition that the public is looking for reliable, quality information.

What was missing was clarity of message that leads to a clear understanding.

I listened to a radio interview where an ex-politician stated that we need people who can lead the country not people who can manage the county. Sometimes decisions need to be made that will not be popular but will be the right decision. We seem to have political leaders who are more scared of how they are seen to be behaving and how that will impact their popularity. The safe actions, the minimal responses to questions [that does not even answer the question asked], the heavily staged managed photo opportunities, the staged progressive release of ‘good news’ stories and damage control over bad news.

As could be seen the population of Australia baulked at the decision process. The incumbent government lost seats and had clear swings against them in the polls. What did they learn from this. Not much it seems, as delivering more ‘how good are we’ rhetoric on the night just made it all seem even more pointless.

Lessons for all

  • Understand what your audience wants to hear
  • Not all messages will be good news, and that is OK
  • We are all grown ups and you can tell it like it is
  • You may capture the naive with the power messages but the rest of us will not be impressed

Having focus groups to test your messages on is fine but does your message deliver the real content that the audience expects to hear?

Remember…it’s all about the message and how you deliver it…

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