The Power to Pivot. Messaging Lessons from the 2016 Campaign

election 2016How flexible is your business message? I’m wondering if you can take your basic message and apply it effectively to a variety of situations. This question assumes you already have a message that is able to attract new customers and comfort existing ones.

Let’s use the current presidential race as an example. Since the beginning of her campaign Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been accused of not having a clear message that breaks through the din. Some of her statements like, “I’ll fight for you,” or “I’ll work for you,” are clear but not inspiring. Donald Trump, on the other hand, with his clarion call of, “I’ll make America great again,” hit a central nerve and roared his way to become the Republican nominee. Senator Bernie Sanders made wealth inequality his central theme and has thousands of people at his rallies cheering on his movement.

As convention time approaches, each of these candidates has had to find ways to adapt their message to the ever-changing circumstances of the race, current events, and poll numbers. Hillary Clinton has stepped up her game of late by defining what she sees are the disqualifying aspects of the Trump temperament, political knowledge, and outlandish statements that would be harmful to the country. Senator Sanders is staying on message and differentiating himself from Mrs. Clinton. And, Mr. Trump has waded into dangerous messaging by attacking a federal judge in a way many people view as racist. Is this a new message for Donald Trump? Or, are people hearing him with more discernment now that he is the nominee of a major political party?

For many people coasting along, half listening to the constant chatter of an ugly campaign season, recent events and remarks are becoming game changers. Hillary Clinton took an opportunity to deliver a speech that was well crafted, well delivered, and a zinger of an attack on her Republican opponent. This was a refined message and a different approach. In other words, Hillary made the pivot to General Election mode.

One could argue Donald Trump has not. He is still employing the same tone and tactics that won him the nomination. Leaders of the GOP and members of his inner circle had tried to assure the public that The Donald could – and would – become more presidential once the nomination was secured. There’s no indication that’s going to happen.

So, let’s bring this back to your message and your ability to pivot. Is your explanation of your business flexible enough to address changing trends and customer needs? Does it have staying power? Do you have a way to measure how well your message is working?

Has anyone asked you this before?

If no one has made you aware of the importance of a message that connects and converts – let’s talk!

header-author-portait-125Mary Jane McKittrick is a Messaging Expert and professional story-teller who specializes in the art of the pitch. As a Consultant, Mary Jane inspires and empowers business professionals to craft messaging that gets measurable results. Mary Jane is a former TV News Anchor, Reporter, and Producer for 3 network affiliate stations. She has worked behind the camera in Entertainment TV, and as on-camera host of 2 nationally syndicated TV shows. Ms. McKittrick was in charge of overseeing communications for 5 statewide offices while serving as Director of Corporate Communications for a large healthcare company in North Carolina.


Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.

Password Reset
Please enter your e-mail address. You will receive a new password via e-mail.