An Audience Counts

May 4th, 2009

The numbers don’t lie. After Sen. Arlen Specter voted in favor of President Barack Obama’s stimulus bill on Feb. 13, he was all but doomed. Within two months, his stock in the Republican Party had plummeted. His approval rating dropped from the 60s to low 30s and by all measures a reelection was out of the picture.

Specter Announces Switch

At the same time, Specter was gaining support among Democrats and Independents. And not just among Gov. Ed Rendell and V.P. Joseph Biden. He has agreed with Democrats on abortion rights, gay marriage and embryonic stem cell research, among other issues.

With this in mind, Specter asked, “How can I stay in the Senate?” Which is really the same question as, “How can I stay in business?” Naturally, he did what any successful, nimble business would—he changed his offering.

It’s not a decision based on emotion. It’s based on evidence.

Many businesses are asking the same question. Some can’t find a solution. Thanks to Specter, we have one:

1. Analyze the evidence
2. Switch parties

It sounds simple, because it is.

Take, for example, the auto industry. For decades, Americans have begged for cleaner, greener cars. We’ve proven we’ll pay more for it (Toyota Prius) and we’ve cried when what little progress was made, was yanked away (GM’s EV-1).

So, what has the auto industry done? Did it analyze the evidence? Did it switch parties? No and no. Today, at the brink of failure, it’s still unclear whether the American auto giants have heard the music.

This isn’t a rule just for Fortune 100 companies. Take, for a minute, your company’s offering and audience. Do they still align? Is your audience demanding something different? Higher-end? Faster? More efficient? Cheaper? And, what about your offering? Do you have the right approach? Right message? Right team? Right product? Are you delivering the right results?

The numbers don’t lie. Study the data and objectively, not emotionally, determine what it says. If it says you’re doomed as Republican, be afraid enough to switch parties.

Posted Under: Branding, Greater Philadelphia
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