What Business Owners Can Learn from Election 2016
What I find fascinating is the aftermath conversations. All parties say their message wasn’t right and didn’t appeal to the people.
Fine Gael is the majority party and they went to the people with ‘Let’s Keep the Recovery Going‘.
What did recovery mean?
- Recovery in terms of jobs?
- Recovery in terms of more money in your pocket?
- Recovery in terms of being able to buy the new car?
- Recovery in terms of smaller classrooms?
That was the problem with using a word such as “a recovery” – it was open to different interpretations than the person who came up with it intended.
(I’m always saying words are so important – get results with words).
Lets face it – the government did some things right. The economy is recovering compared to what it was five years ago. But I could assume that when people think of recovery, they think of 10 years ago at the height of the Celtic Tiger.
Can we change the message for the future?
Regardless of what party went for election, they pretty much had the same old clichés. Nothing new, the opposition produced the same old rhetoric as the government parties. What I don’t understand is why the parties couldn’t share their achievements and admitted that it’s tough being in government. And that they get things wrong, but don’t we all get things wrong? Twitterland is full of quotes that say what counts is getting back up again if you fall down.
Lets take Ged Nash, was a TD now a Senator – he’s from Drogheda and we’re friends. That’s the only reason why I know this story. And I so wish he had put it on his material. I believe it would have connected with people on an emotional level.
Around 60,000 Republic of Ireland citizens fought on the Allied side in World War 2. About 5,000 of them were Irish military. These 5,000 were found guilty of going absent without leave from the Irish Defence Forces at a military tribunal.
Special powers brought in – which became known as the starvation order – saw the deserters barred from state jobs, refused military pensions and faced with widespread discrimination.
So Irish soldiers – who fought Nazi Germany – for the greater good were black-listed and shunned.
Ged Nash was one of a few who waged a long campaign to get these soldiers vindicated. Almost 70 years later, they achieved that. Time was running out as there were few soldiers still living (5 to be exact).
In June of 2012, Alan Shatter, Minister for Justice at the time apologised on behalf of the government for the manner in which members of the Defence Forces were persecuted on their return to Ireland after the war. The Defence Forces (Second World War Amnesty and Immunity) Bill 2012, passed in the Dail in May 2013, now provides for the granting of an amnesty and immunity from prosecution.
This was a significant achievement for Ged and I’m delighted for all involved. I know he was personally engaged with this campaign. But why wasn’t this put on his manifesto? Sure he was a Minister for Small Business and did lots of good work there too. But not everyone is interested in business. You have to cover all bases in your manifesto.
A Politician’s manifesto is the same as a business owner’s website or marketing material:
- You have a make a connection.
- You have to share achievements on an emotional level.
- You have to be clear on the message.
- You have to write different messages to different people.
I’m constantly telling my clients – A Confused Mind Never Buys. As business owners, avoid the mistakes of the politicians. Be clear on your message, tell engaging stories and be personable…even if you’re selling a multi-million euro product. People buy from people. And more importantly, they buy from people they like.