Red States. Blue States. Wither Marketing?
This isn’t the place – and frankly I don’t at the moment have the heart – to wade in on the election right now. I find it best to focus on the business of our business in order to move through the process of processing the news. As I think about the potential implications for business and marketing strategy, I can see four coming at us pretty quickly.
Thing 1: As a mentor of mine once pointed out with more than a little edge: “If BASES concept testing could predict marketplace success, there would be no failures.” We’re all pretty aware of the errors in the polling predictions this go ’round. Perhaps we’re on the cusp of resurgent era of fingerspitzengefühl? The German word referring to a reliance on “finger tips feeling,” or instinct, aka gut-checks to encourage re-engagement with consumers in real life and real time as a better predictor of passion.
Thing 2: Remember after the 2008 “Hope” election there was a seeming uptick in optimism and inclusiveness marketing messaging? Remember the emblematic Cheerio’s commercial with the bi-racial girl and her dad? The male couple adopting a child? The way Blacks, Asians and Hispanics seemed woven into the fabric of scenes? If not starring all or even most of the time, then certainly included. There. Part of it. Part of us. An eon ago. Will we see a more polarizing world view emerge now, perhaps a return to the all-white nuclear suburban family as the presumed aspirational vision baked into new campaigns, comfortable gender stereotyping revived? More hard-edged communication in general?
Thing 3: If all the chatter of “I’m going to hibernate for the next four years” is not the simple hyperbole of the disenfranchised denizens of blue states, will there be a toll on our TV viewing habits? No more Fox, CNN, MSNBC round-the-clock news and/or vitriol for 50 percent of the population? Note to Netflix: Film Faster. We await the next installments of The Crown.
Thing 4: If the real fury unleashed was because of the fundamental re-structuring of our economy due to the Technological Revolution and/or globalization, will American-based companies re-think their productivity gains and consequent workforce downsizing so they don’t feel the backlash? Could there actually be some sort of populace uprising silver lining in a call for corporations to behave as good citizens within the communities they affect, beyond the shareholder community that is?
We all have questions about what happens next. Email me yours.
Courage, as Dan Rather used to rather piously say at the close of the nightly news.