The facts are beyond dispute: George Bush was as much of a flip-flopper as John Kerry. But Bush told the story first. He and his team did a masterly job of telling a story about Kerry and his inability to stick to one story. The Kerry team responded with a doomed effort to point out that Bush flip-flopped as much as Kerry did. Of course, this story couldn’t take hold because the other story was already in place.
Then the Kerry campaign tired to make the case that flip-flopping was a good thing, that it was another word for flexibility. In order to adopt Kerry’s story, people would have had to admit that they were wrong–and that almost never happens.
The best strategy would have been to go first. Failing that, the appropriate response would have been to tell a completely different story, one that used a frame that matched the worldview of the undecided voter.
Seth Godin’s “All Marketers Are Liars“
Tactical victories are brutal. It’s spending more hours at the office than someone, spending another few million on commercials than the competition, or compromising on your last remaining principles. It’s playing a game that you really have no power over. It’s the +1 strategy–they’ll bid 100, I’ll bid 101.
Do you really think there is a niche out there for you to be slightly more efficient than Tim Ferriss, or a little more of an asshole than Tucker or to read .5 more books than I do? There is a guy on YouTube and all he does is make response songs about other popular people’s videos. Not only is it cringingly lame, it’s just picking up garbage views–it’s their video plus a small twist.
Attacking strategy (Robert’s most valuable lesson) is not only the most productive channel for your resources, but it’s the most authentic path you can take. In a world of Global Microbrands, your positioning in crucial. The best possible position to be in is you. When you’re you, you don’t have to do any work. All you have to do is wake up each morning and refuse to be defined by other people.