You know the old saying: “Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.”
Which brings me to an old New York Times article from almost 10 years ago. It talks about how the Obama campaign used a “consortium of behavioral scientists” to help create the winning messages used against the GOP nominee, Mitt Romney.
The team, the article explains, suggested “little things that can make a difference” in people’s behavior. For example, one team member’s research showed that “when deciding on a candidate, people generally focus on two elements: competence and warmth.”
Romney may have been competent, but warm? Hardly. So the Obama campaign portrayed Romney as “distant” and “unable to relate to the problems of ordinary people.” It stuck. It worked.
And the GOTV (get out the vote) scripts used by Obamaites included “subtle motivational techniques that research has shown can prompt people to take action.” For example…
“Another technique some volunteers said they used was to inform supporters that others in their neighborhood were planning to vote. Again, recent research shows that this kind of message is much more likely to prompt people to vote than traditional campaign literature that emphasizes the negative – that many neighbors did not vote and thus lost an opportunity to make a difference.”
The article went on to note that “Consortium members said they knew of no such informal advisory panel on the Republican side.”
If Republican candidates are smart this cycle, they’ll learn from this history lesson and start paying attention to the need to PERSUADE voters using time-tested marketing and psychology techniques.
If not, they’re doomed to repeat the mistakes of the failed Romney campaign ten years ago.
To read the full article and learn a little from history, click here.
FAMOUS LAST WORDS
“Here’s the truth of the world: You are going to sell your way through life. Therefore, you might as well make a point of getting good at selling, because everybody is selling their way through life.” – Dan Kennedy