Try to imagine politics as a business
Have you ever heard of the Edelman Trust Barometer?
It could be straight out of an episode of Brass Eye.
Except it’s not.
Established in early 50s America, Edelman has grown into one of the most influential PR / Communications companies in the world with a client roster, which includes, Kelloggs, American Airlines and Adobe.
Each year for the last 5, Edelman publishes a “Trust Barometer” and in their 2017 report, things aren’t looking great – and it’s only February.
Their view, for what it’s worth, is that trust has declined dramatically across business, government and media.
As if you needed to be reminded.
People now feel more detached than ever before and the general feeling is that the system in place currently just isn’t working.
In fairness, it doesn’t need a global annual study to work that out.
At a local level, the lies just keep coming and the latest RHI scandal only sits momentarily on top of Red Sky, NAMA and Cerberus, the Kincora scandal, etc…
Across the island, financial institutions have systematically fractured our economy only to hand over the remnants to vulture funds like Cerberus who continue to plunder and murder their way through local businesses and communities.
Over the last number of months in the United States, two of the biggest protagonists, government and media, have turned on each other in a fight that most likely neither can win.
Grown men and women speak to each other of “post- truth” and “alternative facts” as we sit and look at each other with an expression that can mean only, “Did they really just say that…?”
Get the right people to say “the right thing” often enough and it becomes fact, right?
There are many similarities between politics and the marketing of a product or a service where occasionally the promise of so much, results in the underwhelming delivery of so little.
At the end of 2016, the north of Ireland held its breath as media and politicians both recounted the RHI debacle and a possible debt of £500 million.
Any normal business uncovering such a shortfall would most likely react swiftly and definitively.
The electorate now faces a further financial penalty with the cost of another election and the likelihood of no change to the status quo.
Politician after politician, spurred on by the local media, continue to argue with each other rather than presenting a fresh approach to a set of old problems.
It might be time for the political parties to look more closely at rules of sales and marketing where sales is the art of persuasion and marketing is the telling of a good story…
UNDERSTAND YOUR AUDIENCE – why are so many voters locally, including myself, disengaged from politics? We’re not all caught up in the world of “them’uns” and “us’uns” and it would be really smart for some of those parties to try and step inside the shoes of the voter occasionally.
ESTABLISH TRUST – With NAMA, Red Sky, RHI and no doubt myriad other examples of deceit and corruption surely the best way to establish trust is to prove that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable and fit an appropriate penalty to the crime. Why should we be put in a position of having to vote for the same corruptors?
MAKE YOURSELF UNDERSTOOD – Consider a world where Pepsi and Coca Cola run marketing campaigns which exclusively poke fun and antagonise one another? Sound familiar?
Last week I Tweeted the following to Alliance, SDLP and Sinn Fein.
“In 140 characters or less, why should I vote for you?”
No reply. From anyone.
Being understood by the chattering classes of BT9 and BT4 is hardly making yourself understood.
If Trump can do it…#MAGA
BE CONSISTENT – in a good way, that is.
DELIVER ON YOUR BRAND PROMISE – you all know the line from the Ronseal commercial?
Trouble with politics is that in a 4 year election period, the winning parties spend 2 years undoing the damage of their predecessor and the next 2 preparing for the next election.
Ours is a system which doesn’t allow for success, yet tolerates almost continuous failure.
Failure in business is unsustainable.
Pity it wasn’t the same with politics.
Shift Control is a business growth consultancy specialising in joining the dots between branding, marketing and sales strategy. I’m on Twitter @shiftcontrol66 and Instagram, Facebook and Linkedin