Friday, 24 April 2015

Kill The Opposition


My husband is a news junkie:  newspaper delivered every day; news switched on the telly first thing in the morning.  If he’s home during the day, the 24 hour news station is chattering away in the corner. When we’re in the car, he likes to know what’s happening and when we go abroad he has to find a way to watch the BBC News.

But of late, even he’s had enough!

The election juggernaut is so predictable, so inexorable, that Mr News Junkie is resorting to reruns of Flog It! and Time Team.  At least Paul Martin and Tony Robinson are genuinely passionate about what they are doing.

But seriously folks, why the turn-off?  Why does this year seem even worse than previous pre-election hustings?

Much has been noted of the negative campaigning, the snipes and attacks; the scare tactics, the dire warnings, the threats.  Cameron, Miliband, Clegg, Farage, Sturgeon, Salmond, Blair, Burnett, Wood – they’re all having at it, with words like ‘chaos’, ‘danger’, ‘disaster’ being bandied about as to how awful it will be if X gets elected.

So this got me thinking about why we tolerate this degree of destructive electioneering.  We wouldn’t actually tolerate it anywhere else in our business lives.  Oh, occasionally there’s a product on the market that pokes fun at its opposition or makes a point of how much better they are:  remember Hertz vs Avis and the “We try harder” marketing campaign?

For the most part, however, we don’t snipe at our competitors and tell our customers how worse off they’d be if they chose someone else.  We don’t try to kill the opposition.

Can you imagine!

So let’s picture Impact Factory pitching for business with a new client and we find out that Acme Training Company is also pitching for the same work.  What on earth would our potential client think if we spent our 60 minute slot highlighting the dire consequences if they hired Acme instead of Impact Factory?

What we do is highlight what makes us different, what our core values are, what they can expect working with us, how we listen to what they need and ensure we will provide it.  All positive stuff.  We create an image of the outcomes and how it might look rather than paint a picture of disaster if they go elsewhere.

Quite simply, we wouldn’t be in business for long if we chose that tactic; nor would too many other companies. Ultimately, negativity is a big turn-off.  Britain may be a nation of moaners but we don’t really like being moaned ‘at’.

Again, I ask, why do we tolerate it in politics?  Is it all about witnessing a gladiatorial battle where the last man/woman standing is the victor? 

More to the point, are we tolerating it?

Or are more people watching re-runs of Time Team and turning off the politics?
  

By Jo Ellen Grzyb, Director, Impact Factory

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