The concept of Logic of Industry has taught us that in every industry, there are rules. Ignore them and you risk not becoming successful. This concept is especially popular when senior executives mentor younger people on how to succeed in an industry. Many share so-called success formulas, but in reality, these are only indicators. If these so-called formulas would be valid, then all industry players following them would be successful.
Moving through the logic of industry concept is especially risky in a zero sum game where there is only one winner. An example is the 2016 presidential elections. Traditional election logic dictates the importance of political machineries, big budgets and heavy tri-media spending, among others. However, these formulas were not followed by the Duterte campaign simply because they were not as equipped as the Goliath in the political arena — the Liberal Party of the incumbent president.
Majority of their donations came in toward the homestretch when Mayor Duterte’s chances of winning, indicated by voter’s preference, increased after vice president Jejomar Binay and then senator Grace Poe could not sustain and defend their leading position. Duterte’s media spending became heavy only in April 2016. Instead of traditional logic, the Duterte campaign created new logic — authenticity and heavy social media, backed by his value proposition of track record as the anti-crime, anti-corruption and anti-drugs mayor of Davao.
First on authenticity — Mayor Duterte likes to have his shirt unbuttoned at the top, to banter, and even to curse. He readily admitted on national television that he did not have an original political platform. He was planning to copy the good points from other candidates but he did emphasize on execution or getting things done, which re-positioned other candidates as good in only making political promises. This was unprecedented for a presidential candidate but was well taken by his supporters as being authentic.
Duterte’s social media campaign, on the other hand, had a measly budget of P10 million which they were not even able to completely spend. This is according to Duterte’s campaign head for social media, Nic Gabunada, who was able to leverage mostly on 500 volunteer groups each with their own followers who turned into his pack of community managers that helped amplify Duterte’s message, thus offsetting the need for a huge budget.
While they say the rest is history, the value-laden messaging of this camp was essentially a success indicator. Other candidates remained in the arena exceeding each other’s proposition. Duterte left. He had one intention, anyway – change.
A common mistake in marketing is following industry logic instead of strategy logic. As in commercial campaigns, political communication always demonstrates what has always been done – portraying various characters in a single persona, beefing up resumes and the highly publicized adversarial series against other candidates.
One of the lessons in value proposition is to not focus too much on uniqueness and putting relevance first. When all the other candidates were rallying to outdo each other and be the better choice, Duterte remained steadfast and leveraged on his authenticity and stood out rather differently. Hence, the undecided became decided.
It can be observed that to be able to create a new logic, the existing industry logic or practices will have to first be defined. Each element can then be challenged to determine what to stop doing as well as what to start doing. Often, lack of resources and time have forced companies to be more innovative in reformulating both their value proposition as well as their marketing strategies.
Do not just level the playing field, change the name of the game and own it. When the entire competition implements the best practices, up the ante and spot the next practices.
(JOSIAH GO is the Chairman and Chief Marketing Strategist of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., the only advocacy-based training and consultancy firm focused on marketing, sales, strategy and innovation. For feedback, write to firstname.lastname@example.org or log on to www.mansmith.net for more information.)