Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Perceiving Hilldog

A unique value proposition is a characteristic about your product, service, strategy, or offering that gives your company a strategic point of differentiation against your competitors. Articulated effectively, the UVP becomes the central reason why consumers would buy in to your message, converting prospect to partner. The UVP is well-reasoned and well-thought out. It is not merely a unique trait, but a unique trait that presents realistic or tangible value to the consumer. UVPs build on a company’s complement of intrinsic skills to grow a way of selling that is sustainable and speaks to the triple bottom line (people, planet, profit). I acknowledge the unique value proposition to be the cornerstone of any successful strategy or marketing campaign. In the absence of a unique value proposition, a strategic point of differentiation against your competitors can still be founded by tempering perceptions of your company by your target market.

Hillary Clinton’s failed campaign for president is actually interesting to compare here for how she may not have done enough to sculpt public perception…and frankly, what kind of self-described blogger would I be if I didn’t analyze the presidential primaries! ‘Scrappy’ is a good way to describe Hillary and her dogged determination to continue an increasingly losing battle.

More young voters should have gone with her. More black voters should have gone with her. And more women, especially educated, independent-voting, older women, should have gone with her.

So what happened?

She underestimated the sea change that Barack Obama’s message of change and dynamism could catalyze among voters. Clinton simply couldn’t match Obama’s charisma and optimism. Perceptually, Obama resonated with more types of voters than Clinton could.

Perceptually, there is a star quality about Obama. Did you know that the words-per-minute count in his speeches is on tempo with Lincoln and Martin Luther King? Everything was new. Lots of things were likeable. Slate explains that "there's been nothing of the ecstatic in her presidential bid—that mode, instead, has been embodied by Barack Obama".

So who really knows about the unique value propositions of either Obama or Clinton. I think that whatever deeper meaning either person stands for is lost in rhetoric and crafty speechwriting. But it was the perception that put Obama over the top. The perception that he was different and that Clinton was the same. The perception that change can and should be tolerated and that America must enter a new period of hopefulness and goal-setting.

…of course even at the end, Terry McAuliffe, Clinton’s campaign manager, introduced her last night as ‘the next president of the United States’.

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