Tuesday, October 07, 2008


Will the 'change' campaign succeed?

It is argued that changing a person's mind is the most difficult thing to do in marketing. This makes the focus on 'change' in the current political race such a fascinating challenge. The images of a 'tax-cutting, you're on your own Republican' and a 'government knows best, we can spend it better than you Democrat' are well ingrained in our minds. Yet it was the Democrats who did welfare reform and the Republicans did the most for AIDS in Africa. These attempts by both parties at remolding the cubby holes of our minds are a very tall order because the rules of the game are still the same - bills get proposed, details get worked out and pork gets added.

Two of the influential works on 'change' in a business context have been Christensen's "Innovators Dilemma" and "Blue Ocean Strategy" by Kim and Mauborgne. They argue that to shake up the establishment you need to change the rules of the game and first go somewhere the incumbents aren't - start by focusing on either the overshot or non-consumer. It's real hard to see how substantive change can occur when the political target market(s) are the same: Congress and the electorate. It may come down to the 'base' vs. the 'newbies'.

Why 'new and improved' usually doesn't work in the long run?

The 'new and improved' slogan might give a product a bump in sales, but unless the added features are truly beneficial to the consumer it ends up being more of the same.

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