Governments are not judged by large profit in the P&L at the end of the year. Governments do not declare profits and no dividends at the end of the year for any shareholders. Yet governance is serious business. There are dividends of democracy as they say here. No government can afford to continue running it at a deficit. You cut costs and save for development.
That is where we have to look at some business lessons from the presidential election. Here we go.
Product Performance. No matter how hard you sell a bad product, it won’t gel on the long run. Your product must perform. It must do what it promises to do. This is the only way you can get a repeat purchase to keep old customers and win new ones. If your toothpaste claims to make teeth white, it better does that, otherwise people will only purchase once and won’t make the repeat-buy which is crucial. And they won’t recommend it to others and do not forget, word of mouth recommendation is the most effective form of promotion. President Goodluck Jonathan did not perform as promised. Light is not better. As I am writing this it is down to under 3000 megawatts. The Chibok girls are still in captivity, the economy is in shambles and our young ones are still roaming the streets. The government claimed reformations, but Nigerians are not seeing any. So this product is bad and it was rejected.
An Old Brand Needs Tweaking. No matter how good a product is, it needs tweaking now and then. It is not for fun that companies change packages. Star lager beer is probably the oldest in the market and it has experienced about 4 changes in packaging. The PDP stays as it was. No innovations, no new things. Just the umbrella and the same old people except some exciting ones like Burujui Kashamu, even as I do not like him much. On the other hand, the APC looks more exciting with a well-packaged team. Press releases by Lai Mohammed are as interesting as informative. You can hardly fault his reasoning. The big party will respond with abuse and out of logic reasoning. And when Jagaban sneezes from Bourdillion road, the whole lot of them catches cold. The business lesson, keep it exciting and tweak all the time. It is not for fun that Google changes their image all the time.
Keep Your A-List Staffers. When the conglomerates want to employ they get the best, first class and 2:1 and they try as much as possible to keep them. When your good staffers are turning in their resignation letters, find out why. The biggest party in Africa does not care. First, it is known for sacrificing it’s best for it’s worst and fires the brilliant ones. Nnaji was doing a good job on energy when some inner politics sent him out. Since then, electricity has been nose-diving. When the 5 governors left, the big party said they were not affected as the decampees were of no effect. Atiku was not important. Kwankaso not important, Amaechi, a nobody and the big masquerade himself, Ebora Owu, Olusegun Obasanjo. He was just a vote, Jonathan said. People who knew better like IBB advised them to start begging, but they declined. Now they know better, for the first time Obasanjo won his ward for APC. The business lesson, keep your a-listers.
Advertisement Is Good, But Not All. If adverts win an election, the PDP would have won hands down. The last check, they spent about three times the APC. For advert and promotions to be effective, all other elements in the mix have to be OK. The product, the price, distribution, PR, human capital, the mix has to be strong and balanced. Yes, the PDP won the promotion battle but lost the real war. The product is not good enough, the human resources not the best, so how could they have won. The billions spent during the six-week postponement did help the PDP, but the damage had been done. If the elections had held on February 14, it would have been 4:1 to APC. The business lesson, yes, advert is important but so also are the other elements.
Integrity is It. Your consumers must be able to vouch for you and your company. No, it cannot happen in that company. Oh, that Man at corner shop cannot sell outdated products; he cannot do a thing like that. The APC presidential candidate has a lot of integrity going for him. In fact, that was the biggest joker of APC. Nigerians so much believe in him that they didn’t ask a question when they alleged he would make a dollar and Naira at par. Economic forces do this and not decrees and yet Nigerians didn’t ask the APC people how Buhari was going to do that. The integrity was so high that Nigerians believe Buhari cannot tell a lie. What do we have on the other side – Integrity at the lowest ebb. Those speaking for them cannot put a candle to the faces of Lai Mohammed and Garba, the press guy for Atiku when talking about integrity. Lai Mohammed, a barrister with a pedigree as clean as the snow. Garba, a hardcore press professional with a clean background. On the other side, two of their spokesmen have cases hanging on their necks like an albatross, the third, a first class journalist, but always haunted by what he wrote in the past against his principal. People see them as either insincere or just writing so that the door of the Jailhouse is not open for them. The business lesson, your company must build and sustain a high level of integrity.