Leadership

5 lessons from the federal election

Written by Ian Portsmouth

1. Too bad elections and attack ads go hand in hand. The Conservatives were slamming Stéphane Dion even before the election call, and eventually the Liberals fought back. The result? Increased public antipathy toward the political process. Lesson: Negative advertising raises doubts about your entire product category.

2. Got an amazing new product but can’t give a demo? Then you’d better be able to explain how it works. Not so for the Liberals and their complex Green Shift; revealed with great fanfare, it was soon relegated to the back of their election platform. Lesson: Provide proof of concept for groundbreaking products.

3. Sure, Harper took some flak for calling a snap election after legislating fixed election dates. But by acting at a time of his choosing, he caught the Liberals at their weakest while near the peak of his own party’s powers. Lesson: Don’t let external forces set your business agenda.

4. The attempts to preclude Elizabeth May from the leaders’ debates gave her more positive publicity than she could have dreamed of, outraged countless voters and suggested that nayMayers Gilles Duceppe, Stephen Harper and Jack Layton didn’t think they’d fare well against the Green queen. Lesson: Suppress the competition’s brand, and you could weaken your own.

5. With 10% of the popular vote, you could win 50 seats. Or you could win none. It all depends on the concentration of your support — which shows that it’s better to achieve critical mass in a few places than to have a small presence in all of them. Lesson: Devote significant resources to just a few priorities.

Originally appeared on PROFITguide.com