The Politics of Onions

OnionsThere’s an interesting dynamic taking place in India right now.  It’s a lesson about creating political change, but it also offers a great insight into how to be more effective as a leader and/or a  marketer.

Indian politicians have been battling one another as to how to reverse the country’s declining economy, but no consensus has been reached.  (Sound familiar?)  However, the weakened economy has taken an interesting twist.  It’s driven the price of onions up dramatically – nearly 5-fold in a month!

While this may not seem like a major event to many of us, in India, it’s catastrophic.  Indian families of all social strata eat onions in or with just about every meal.  An increasing portion of the population cannot afford to buy onions, and therein lies the interesting dynamic.

As we all know, politicians tend to argue for solutions which favor their own agenda or the agenda of their party.  But a groundswell of public protest and discontent is about to change all that.  It will change the politics because unhappy constituents tend not to re-elect politicians.  Appreciating the impact of this dynamic can give us an insight into how to be more effective in our leadership and in our marketing.

If you want to motivate people to take action, you must address something that matters to them.  Whether we’re talking about politicians, members of our team, or potential customers, people tend to act in their self-interest.  When it comes to leadership, if you want to motivate people to take action, you must appeal to something that matters to them.  Setting goals does not motivate most people.  Yes, some love the challenge , but many are not motivated by goals.  And, as you’ve probably observed, most people aren’t motivated by more money, either.

Study after study has demonstrated that more money is pretty low on the list of things that are important to people.  Instead, people appreciate things like getting respect, having autonomy, gaining recognition, appreciation, having a purpose, and/or taking pride in their work.

When it comes to marketing, that old acronym comes to mind – WIIFM – “What’s in it for me?”  Prospects are mot moved to action by logic – they are moved to action by emotion.  In your marketing, if you can appeal to what matters to them (the benefits) rather than how great you and your products are (the features), you’ll have far more success getting people to take action.

Whether it’s politics, leadership or marketing, if you want people to act on your behalf, you must give them what they want – what matters to them.

By the way…

If you'd like help evaluating or implementing any of these concepts, please give us a call. We specialize in developing effective leaders and developing sound business strategies. 503-928-7685