What happens in politics when you don’t have a value proposition

Today’s Times newspaper shows a great example of what happens when you come up with a great idea, even ‘The Big Idea’, internally but fail to ask and test it with your customers, in this case UK voters.  A salutary lesson for all those internally made-up value propositions.  As we repeatedly say, you MUST engage your customers in the process.

“The unpalatable truth, say critics, is that for decades the most well-funded, professionally organised and disciplined Tory campaign has come up short. Disaffected MPs have identified two early scapegoats: Andy Coulson and Steve Hilton. Mr Coulson, unfairly insist some, is being blamed for allowing Mr Cameron to be trapped by his own rhetoric in the television debates. The decision to give Nick Clegg a platform was a grave blunder, as even Mr Cameron has come close to acknowledging. Mr Hilton, meanwhile, shoulders responsibility for crafting a message that failed to connect with sufficient force. Behind-the-scenes anecdotes are starting to emerge. One records how Bill Knapp, the US political consultant hired to help Mr Cameron, had a simple question on the eve of the vital second television debate. What research had been done into what voters thought of the Tory campaign’s key theme of the Big Society? The answer was an embarrassed silence. When results from a hurriedly convened focus group detailed a negative reaction at a subsequent meeting, Mr Hilton is said to have stormed out.” – The Times, 8 May 2010