McCain, Obama, and the Subtle Power of Suggestion

I was reading an excellent ebook today called "The Psychological Power of Suggestion" by Lee Hopkins (more on Lee in a minute) that is very timely here in the US.  While it's always best to stay away from political discussions in a business forum, as marketers, there's a lot we can learn from the candidates and their campaigns.  After all, our desire to sell a few more widgets is nothing compared to their desire to be the Commander in Chief of the most powerful country in the free world.  Surely they must have the most creative marketing minds on the planet working on their campaigns, don't they?

According to Lee, "The psychological basis of suggestibility is simply a tendency in human nature to believe any statement that is repeated a great number of times."  He goes on, "statements which rely solely on suggestion for their acceptance must be simply expressed, confident in tone, and repeated often if they are to be effective."

Take a look at the two major party presidential candidates.  What are their brands?  Obama = Change.  McCain = Experience.  That's the message each man is trying to convey.  It's simple.  It's proclaimed confidently.  And it's repeated, not just often, but ad infinitum.  Change vs. Experience.  Experience vs. Change. 

Forget the fact that both men have chosen running mates that represent exactly the opposite of their stated brand.  Forget the fact that both men's former oponents in the primaries are now stumping for them trumpeting as virtues the very same things that they called fatal flaws just a few months ago.  With everyone on the "blue" side shouting "change" and everyone on the "red" side yeling "experience", both campaigns are counting on the power of suggestion to drive voters to punch, press, or otherwise mark their candidate's name on the ballot on November 4.

The lesson here is pretty simple.  In all your marketing, whether it's traditional advertising or web 2.0, you must have a consistant theme, simply expressed, confident in tone, and repeated often.  If it works when the stakes are as high as the job of President of the United States, it will certainly work for us.

I said I'd tell you more about Lee Hopkins and here it is.  You can download the aforementioned ebook from his web site, along with several other excellent articles for free.  He also has some very good stuff that you have to pay for.  During the month of October, Lee is offering all his materials for 1/2 price.  For example, his "Better Business Writing", which normally sets you back $69.95 is just $34.07 for the rest of this month.  You can only take advantage of this offer by going to his special sale web page.  Besides the BBW program, you also get a plethora of free stuff by Lee and some other very good writers.

MYOB doesn't normally promote or sell other people's products, but we do want to help you save money on worthwhile tools whenever we can and this is a good investment.  [FYI, we aren't affiliated with Lee Hopkins in any way, shape, or form, except as a fan.  Your humble blogger paid $34.97 of his own hard-earned cash to download "Better Business Writing".]  Check it out.

2 Responses

  1. WOW! Thanks very much for such fulsome praise — I’m very flattered!

  2. You’re welcome. I’m usually too cheap to pay for online content, but this was the best $34.00 I’ve spent in a while. [There was that big bottle of Jameson I bought in Ireland. But that’s another story. Besides, that was Euros so I really don’t know exactly how much it cost.]

    In fact, I’ve spent so much time reading the bonus material I haven’t gotten to “Better Business Writing” yet.

    Thanks for the comment. You made my day!

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