How do you destroy a great idea? The first step is to share it with everyone. Don’t believe me? Be the first person to clap along in time at a concert. People who know how to join in will do so, and likely in time. Quickly this will spread throughout the audience until everyone wants to get in on the action. It will not take long to hear that entire second separate group clapping out of time, and then the third group who doesn’t have a notion of tempo or time signature joins in and it’s all over. The end of the breakdown better be up by this time, or the song better be over, because this is just applause at this point, not an addition to the music.
I am sure, right now, you are thinking – how can someone be so stuck up about clapping at a concert? It’s the idea which is important to me, and it is one of the fastest examples of initial influence, an action spreading, and what market saturation could mean for a given product. Although out of time clapping peeves me, it is merely an observation I must make because I am also a musician and as such it is impossible to ignore.
People take ideas and apply them in their own ways, for better or for worse.
A little aside about those who start the clapping rhythm at concerts – these are the people who are willing to take a chance to spread an idea because they know it will work. When it comes to marketing, it takes the same kind of confidence and timing to know when an idea is appropriate and how it will catch on to achieve a certain effect. Not everyone leads.
Speaking of following
On Sunday, the Governor General of Canada dissolved parliament and a federal election has been called for October 14th. I am not sure about you, but after watching the Americans wind up over the last year with nominations and competition within each party, it scarcely seems like we know our candidates in comparison. I hear a few suggestions to turn off CNN or to stop looking at international media so that we can concentrate on our own election, but I think an important question at this point is how much time do we need to get to know our choices? in 2006 we had an 8 week campaign, which was referred to as one of the longest campaigns in history. October 14th will be the 3rd election we’ve had in 4 years. It would appear we are rapidly making decisions about the leadership of our country but they’re clearly able to stick. Perhaps we should be slowing down?
Right – so in that capacity, our last (and current?) government legislated a further away election time. That time was supposed to be Fall 2009 according to the new law. This has been ignored somehow, and I wonder what it means to communicate something as law and then, while still in government, be the first to break that law. I find it confusing to say the least. What does legislation even mean?
I have brought up more questions than answers here because I don’t know the answers, or I used to think I knew the answers, but recent events have caused me to question what I have been taught in law class.
Back to the point – following. There has been much speculation that the current government wanted to renew its leadership before the influence from the south would effect Canadian’s voting. Sound ridiculous? See here, here, and most prominently here. This kind of sweeping influence is not imaginary, yet it will extend to everyone’s imagination when they think of the future of our country. That is powerful stuff right there, so how do you harness it? Well, if you are aligned with the emerging influence, you wait and gain power in the process. If you are not aligned wit the emerging power, you act hastily and call a premature election to pre-empt the spilling of a different way of thinking.
Time to market
On Sunday, the announcement to dissolve parliament was made. The same day, the highway boulevards were pummeled with red, green, orange and blue signs. In a 35 day campaign, losing even a day of time means wasting 3% of a marketing budget from the time coverage basis. Campaigning isn’t cheap, so getting the most bang for your buck means maximizing up-time for advertising material. It doesn’t matter if you want to wait a bit, the call has been made for a federal election on October 14th.
The various parties are not messing around with this. They would be fools to – the hands have been dealt. So how far ahead of the announcement did they know about this? I suspect that since they have been a part of the legislature, they must have suspected all along that confidence would fail it. The writing was probably on the wall for a long time. They were ready to go.
Are we ready to go?
From my events planning point of view, 5 weeks is barely enough time to promote a small concert, but yet we say it’s enough to plan the future leaders of Canada. How can this be? From my experience, people need more time to get to know their choices, to learn the issues being championed, and dare I say, be inspired.
The politicians of Canada have a big job ahead of them, a job that relies completely on their ability to communicate with all eligible voters in Canada, and possibly other places as well – as we’ve seen Obama campaign as remotely as Berlin, Germany. It will be fascinating to see how it is managed, and what the communication ambitions of our future leaders might be.