My Name’s Chuck, and I’m Running for Governor
Everyone else is, so why not?
Ah, election season. My great home state of Ohio has been blessed with an impending gubernatorial race coming in 2018 which already features eight — yes, eight — candidates, with rumors of at least three more joining the fray. Four more, if you count me. Among them are some well-known candidates with solid state, local and federal government experience, so the competition is keen.
Really, These Are Simple Questions!
A local radio station recently interviewed several of the candidates on the air. The host asked all of them the same questions, giving each the opportunity to state their respective case. What makes them different from their counterparts? Why should voters consider them for governor? Simple, direct questions one would think they could easily answer. After all, it had to be a huge life decision to consider running. Surely, they of all people know their key differences from other candidates and what makes them the best choice.
Disappointedly, none of the candidates could make a succinct, impactful statement covering their key differences or how they wanted to be positioned. Opportunity wasted. You could sense the eye-rolling from the listening audience.
Answer Them Honestly and Succinctly
Whether you’re running for a government office, applying for a job or promoting your brand, it’s critical to know what makes you different and even more important to be able to express it clearly. Creating a meaningful, well-polished, 50-word (or fewer) pitch can help you discover what that is.
Here are some pointers for what to include so you can get started:
- Explain exactly what you do and for whom you do it. Be specific, and stay away from ambiguous language.
- How will a relationship with you benefit your audience? Again, be specific and stick to one, essential benefit: a problem you’re the best at solving and why that matters.
- Why is that different from others like you?
Just being able to quickly answer these questions, especially the second one, may prevent you from having to participate in a barter war with competitors. Or, if you’re running for governor like me, it may allow you to create some much-needed separation.
Boil it Down
A 50-word elevator speech allows you to tell your story in 20 seconds. That’s pretty good. But if you’re really ambitious, try finding the essence for what you stand. That doesn’t mean coming up with a tag line. But being able to boil it down to a few words can help you and the team responsible for communicating stay focused and carve out a space you definitively own.
Don’t believe me? Google this: “The Economy, Stupid.”