How to win when you’re not the majority

Split the vote

The quick answer is by dividing your opponent.

With the US elections a year or more away, the fight is on between the larger democratic base and the smaller (by numbers) republican base. I won’t delve into US partisan population data but instead talk about how the republicans effectively use their smaller base to win elections on a national scale. Part of that has to do with getting more people out to vote but a significant part of the campaign is dedicated to getting democrats to abstain.

And it is this second part that is soo interesting because it is a time tested strategy of divide and conquer. When colonial powers went to their soon-to-colonies they needed a strategy that would allow them to rule a large population with a small force. The strategy they used was “divide and conquer” essentially playing up all the small differences between local populations so that they would never band together and form a formidable collective opposition to the colonizers.

This same tactic was used by the Trump campaign in 2016 – by playing up the internal infighting between Hillary and Bernie they managed to fragment the democratic base and get likely democratic candidates to abstain or not vote for the democratic candidate.

Trump is already deploying the same tactics for 2020 by playing the democratic candidates against each other while ensuring that the republican base is united in their support for Trump.

How to disinform

Image Courtesy – New York Times

If like me you work in advertising or any industry that requires communicating and convincing then the strategy and tactics used in disinformation and active measures are worth studying. They reap huge rewards (US Presidency and national discord) and are effective tools that you can either choose to employ or mitigate against. I am in equal parts awed and enraged.  #Advertising #politics #USPolitics #communication #messagingstrategy #commsstrategy

Absence makes the heart grow fonder

Or does it? I have not been active on my blog since last year. Mostly because we had a baby and the work life balance has been an uphill task but also because i’m spending an inordinate amount of time on netflix, the trump show and non computer related self improvement. That said I wanted to re-start showcasing some stats on the growth of digital in the past 525600 minutes.  I guess my Netflix habit is shared by many 😉 Enjoy!

What can you do to ensure the integrity of your online media spends??

ICYMI – According to Whiteops: Methbot a Russian run ad scam has made over USD $3-5 million per DAY over the past month amounting to over $200M in fraudulent ad revenue by tricking algorithms and mimicking legitimate US web traffic. Though this is an expensive and temporary hiccup (some advertisers who have identified the fraud traffic have gotten their money back), it is one that has gotten the attention of the big players and will hopefully lead to a stronger online ad bidding system with greater transparency and increased efficiency. That said, one of the key takeaways for me is the over reliance on automation and the lack of relationship based selling in the ad space. There will always be imposters when the transactions are automated and the players are not vetted. Not to mention that automation is an oft used reason to explain away poor due diligence.

Social Media is shrinking the marketplace.. and thats a good thing!

Everyone’s Opinionated and now opinions matter.

Small Business owners have always known that knowing your customer is the secret to success because they have operated in a small area where word of mouth is prevalent and a big influence on how your brand is perceived by prospective customers.

In this smaller more connected world the market dynamics are changing and no longer can corporations hide behind their size and claim ignorance to the woes of their customers. Customers can amplify their grouses and other perspective customers are always listening, always reviewing companies before they purchase, before they decide to go to a restaurant or buy a product or engage a service they want to know other peoples experiences and now they have a forum (the world wide web) to go and get that information.

Everyone says technology is making the world smaller and it is. It’s making the marketplace smaller too and the rules / best practices of doing business in a smaller marketplace with an extremely connected consumer base (as in a small town or city) are good practices that are playing a greater role today.


An eye for an eye

This might not come as news to many of you but for me it’s been an epiphany.

There is the school of thought that argues fight fire with fire, be tough and get results. The more i see the probelms of this world the more i am convinced that this is a flawed logic.

The war on drugs – Being tough or brutal with drug traffickers has only led to tougher and more brutal drug traffickers.

The war on extremist ideals – The harsher the world got with extremists the harsher the extremists got.

It is naive to think that people will not fight back. They will.

It is even more naive to think that you have superior fire power or smarter soldiers who will win you the war. There is no superior warrior race.. every empire has crumbled. The only solution I see is inclusiveness and adaptability.

Repetitive Journalism

The collective conscience can be a powerful tool. But what happens when we use it all for the same purpose. The beauty of diversity is in multiple narratives, from that trial by fire emerges the best idea, the best narrative, the most compelling change agent.

Repetitive Journalism or the simple act of sharing the same thing that others have shared takes over the collective consciousness and leaves very little room for other news stories.

When one story gets shared so many times that it drowns out all other stories and takes over the days news narrative.

We really need to think before we share. It’s drowning out everything else because as a result of promoting the most trending (entertaining) story other Important bits of news are not registered and pass their news cycle lifetime.

Using science for marketing goals.

Image Courtesy - BBC
Image Courtesy – BBC

Ever seen a person act irrationally. Well there might be a simple age old answer to that.. behavioral bias.

Marketers can take advantage of a hardwired ancient bias in all human beings. Which for one associates a great weight on losses versus gains. Ever wondered why fear is a greater sales agent than happiness, wonder no more.

Ever wondered why we prefer half a gift right now rather than one tomorrow but if offered the same gift in the future with a one day delay for half vs full gift we prefer to wait the extra day in the future. Defies logic doesn’t it.

The evolutionary answer would point towards the fact that mistakes could easily lead to death in prehistoric times (before we had a written history that might assist in remedying mistakes) and hence our minds are hard wired and allocate a greater importance to errors as a survival mechanism.

Why we do what we do and why it doesn’t always make sense!

Our hard-wired ancient behavioral biases make us act in irrational ways but once understood they can be used to influence decision making. E.g. Losses have a greater impact on our decision making than gains. To quantify it we need twice as much of a gain to offset half as much of a loss. This is a relic of the fact that in prehistoric times, mistakes could easily lead to death and hence our minds have been evolutionarily coded to allocate a greater emphasis on remembering mistakes and avoiding them in our decision making. For marketers that translates as fear is a greater sales agent than happiness.

Want to know how to influence people. Simply put, understand and use their biases to influence their decision making..
We all have ancient hardwired biases that irrationally influence our decision making and when used tactfully can lead to desired results. E.g. As an evolutionary mechanism our brains allocate a great weight or emphasis to losses versus gains, because in prehistoric times mistakes could easily lead to death, hence our minds have evolved to remember the mistakes as a survival technique i.e. fear is a more compelling sales agent than happiness.
To understand in greater depth the root of such bias, how it makes us act irrationally and how deeply imbedded into our minds these bias are click on the image to read other fun facts and even take a few tests that will shed light on the burgeoning field of behavioral economics.

Advergaming evolves to Travergaming

We’re all familiar with product placements in Movies and Sitcoms. Enter the new kid on the block Advergaming where Advertising meets Gaming or Gamification as the industry calls it.

With the ascent of Web 2.0 and the social gaming realm this was to be expected.

Advergaming meets Travel = Travergaming

Not too sure about my feelings about this new trend in traveling. As if traveling wasn’t entertainment enough we need to make a game out of it?

But i do like the fact that exploring can be made into a game and hence we might have more people going off the beaten path and that means the mcdonald-ization of the world might slow down a wee bit.

Click here to read an article that talks about travel and gaming