I was reading the polls and looking at approval ratings. And I thought I’d look at Governor Palin's record (please keep reading). I found it interesting that in February of this year well over half of Alaskans would say she's done a good enough job to be re-elected in 2010. Governor Palin enjoyed approval ratings and also has shown that she can build on important emotional triggers like trust and pride.
This is interesting because she dropped the Governorship, but it is also interesting in light of what people think elsewhere in the country. Oregon is much bluer than most states with an active Democratic membership. There was no doubt Obama would win in Oregon. However, I would guess that many Oregonians would feel like Governor Palin would have little chance at re-election. And, Governor Palin clearly has some power to kill off Republicans too as she demonstrated in New York recently when she did not back the Republican candidate and chose another conservative candidate. It's hard to deny her power and ability to generate media attention. And also little covered was the reason why ex-Governor Palin didn’t back a Republican, which is the topic of other people’s blogs and perhaps your church…
Knowing your constituents and customer base is really important. In fact, I was listening to a panel of many of the greatest business writers of all time. If you were to list out the top 15 business writers of all time, you'd probably have these guys on your list. These were people who had more than one best seller. All of these experts on the panel agreed that knowing and talking to your customer and surveying customer opinions was important. They also acknowledged that it is easier than ever to do so. One person on the panel called this strategic listening, which is a great way to look at market research. And another said, God gave us two ears and one mouth to show us what we should be doing twice as much – listening!
The funny thing is that most organizations don't do a good job of looking at the key factors that would improve their success because they don’t listen and compete like a politician. Politicians like Governor Palin get re-elected because they work on finding out what it would take to get re-elected and then delivering that to their customer base (constituents). They also work on messaging so that they have a consistent message when speaking to the media. And, they work to be relevant to their base. Like her or not, Palin is consistent on many issues, and being consistent builds the perceptions of feelings and the important emotional trigger = TRUST. Humans are hard wired in the limbic system to work with and for the people they trust most. That’s why branding needs to be repetitious and focus on the three Cs of Clarity, Consistency and Constancy.
Some of the messaging you may need to use, is often different from what is most important to you or your own business goals. The big example in clean technology marketing is that reducing greenhouse gasses and stopping global warming is often PERCEIVED as the biggest benefit to be pushed for companies competing in green marketing and clean technology marketing. The problem is that when you measure what will SELL the most products, it is extremely rare that climate change and greenhouse gas mitigation are actually the top reason people buy anything. In fact, I have not seen it where green is the top factor for buying ANY green product. In fact, if you think you have bought a green product because it is green, I would argue that you bought that product because of the emotional appeal of my second favorite emotional trigger= PRIDE of ownership. This may surprise you, but Hollywood stars drive Priuses because it looks good for their image and Toyota’s are reliable ahead of it feeling good that it is green even if the first thing they say is: “I love my Prius because it is green.” I love Kermit the Frog because he’s green too. I’m not saying green has no bearing on purchase decisions, I’m just saying you can’t use green alone to get people to buy anything, in part, because most of us have been burned by green offerings (see TRUST above).
In fact, you are not even able to convince many Chambers of Commerce that climate change is even happening. Do not assume you know what people think. Further, do not assume that if you, as a representative of an organization ask one of your customers if they agree with you, that they are going to give you a straight answer, because if someone says they support green/clean tech then it is extremely rare for someone to attempt to change their opinion. Think about Greenpeace, what would you say to someone if they said “Hi, I’m with Greenpeace do you support global warming?” Similarly, if you work for the Chamber of Commerce, it is probably rare, until recently, that you have had people comment on your position against "climate change." And do not mistake that there are huge differences because the devil is in the details. If I support the Chamber of Commerce I could be saying that I support “commerce” as a focus and not climate change as a focus FOR THE CHAMBER OF COMMERCE. This doesn't mean that I support environmentally unfriendly activities. By the way, I’m for the US Chamber of Commerce making great strides towards a more sustainable US. But they didn’t ask me, and I don’t think that changing their focus to green will sell more memberships for them. If they just changed to a green marketing would you join? (see TRUST and PRIDE above).