Sunday, November 22, 2015

Observations of the Presidential Race And What's Likely Ahead

The blog I write after each year’s trend posts is always a dull one.

No question that part of the situation is being driven by the magnitude of the trends predicted. 

Since I posted the last two blogs, I have made more than a dozen presentations and many attending are also still pondering both the opportunities and challenges ahead.

So I write this post about the presidential election and what we are seeing transpiring in front of us.

Topline, here are a few interesting observations…

(1)  The number of candidates on the GOP side that threw their hat in the ring.

Market splintering often happens when new technology or new innovative thought initially hits the marketplace.  I remember the diversity of brands with the advent of personal computers… I remember the initial diversity of cell phone providers. 

Although I will quickly say that I do not think the same dynamic is driving what we are observing. 

Instead I think that the culture of social media and the belief that we are only a “click” away from influencing the change agent are more the drivers. 

Also… the culture of social media transcends beyond the Millennials who grew up within in it.  Old and young alike … even candidate specific… are addicted to the belief system right now.

(2)  The networking of the media. 

The consolidation of media and its conversion to 24/7 programming has culminated into what we now have before us. 

“Debates” that are really more Q&A “60 Minutes” news “shows.”

News nets attempting to “brand” their forums, formats, question sets and exchange dialogue.

The conversion of “grass roots” politicking to “media visibility” and “story bytes.”

Tracking public sediment not too unlike tracking television ratings.

(3)  The Dems riding a wave of assumptions vs. proactive strategy.

Whether you like her or not, you have to admit Hillary carries a lot of baggage.  So far to date, she has not necessarily performed well as a “unifier.” 

The Dems have historically way out performed the GOP in unifying divergent camps.  Single moms, union labor, 20-something Millennials and gay folks… not much shared, common ground. 

The Dems marketplace has changed.  Not too sure that their strategic approach has change much – if at all. 

I still believe that Joe Biden may still enter the race.  He just might be strategically staying behind the scenes… for now.

(4)  What might drive continued attention.

As I write this blog, global security and a flow of standard logic is being challenged.  Today’s headline story in the Wall Street Journal is that the economy is cooling… yet again. 

Many assert that the large media coverage of the election way in advance of the primaries will ultimately “burn out.”  That people will simply get tired of hearing about it and focus their attention on other things.

That assumption might have some supportive rationale to it if we were not in the midst or fluid, radical challenge and change.

From Islamic Terrorist to a struggling China to an erratic Wall Street, the future is not predictable… nor like any past models.

A number of the media channels showcased Jeb Bush and his third campaign theme born again experience.  They commented on the lack of “brand” equity. 

I agree to a large extent.  But I think that the campaign challenge for many will be to secure a brand strategy that can be extended over a course of radical change.

For all his craziness and lack of thought-out implementation strategy, I hate to say it, but Donald Trump might have the most adaptable strategic brand platform given what is likely to evolve in the next 12 months.

The election is always a very good read of marketplace thinking.  It also provides a rich understanding of how individuals align their viewpoints with others. 

Sad to say, but it also provides a rich perspective of the group, “The Unconnected Sub-Generation,” highlighted in the 2016 EXPERIENCE Trendcast report.

The next blog I post will showcase the changes that have evolved and produced a set of new 2016 PRIZM neighborhood lifestyle groups that wear a new set of nicknames that include “Generation Web,” “Metro Grads,” “Networked Neighborhoods,” “Second City Start-ups” and “Pick-up Patriarchs.”