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2016 Election - Harnessing the Power of a Win Theme

October 20, 2015
Author: LaVon Koerner

As unbelievable as it may sound, the campaigns for the US November 8, 2016 Presidential election are in full swing. This intense political sales cycle allows us to see best-in-class sales practices as Presidential campaigns are nothing more than expensive and colossal sales cycles. They make an inviting landscape for learning what sales practices work and which do not.

The 20 candidates are all competing for the ultimate position of President of the United States. In the early stages of this battle royal there will soon be a few who manage to distinguish themselves and pull away from the pack leaving the rest to fade away. Sadly, and perhaps unfairly, that early on reduction of the number of candidates will be a decision made more on style and less on substance. 

For a candidate to distinguish themselves they must simultaneously accomplish three things:

  1. Differentiate themselves from the pack.
  2. Emotionally engage people to actively support both them and their cause.
  3. Engage the public in a way that gets people to believe in them.

This is the job of a Win Theme. Failure in any of these three areas will spell the premature end of the candidates bid for the White House. 

As this is being written, the first successful Win Theme to emerge belongs to Donald Trump, and is worn on his bright red cap that states in bold white letters, “Make America Great Again.”  He peppers this phrase throughout all of his speeches and interviews.

Can you immediately quote the Win Theme of other candidates? If not, that is a sign that one does not yet exist—they have yet to differentiate themselves, emotionally engage a following, or gain belief in them. The clock is ticking.  Failure to establish a successful Win Theme will be the beginning of their end.

What is a Win Theme?

Win Theme – a single compelling short phrase that, when acted upon creates the dominant emotional component in the buying decision.

The proof that a Win Theme is powerful is when you see the leader using it, connecting to their audience, and stirring them to action.

What does it mean when you hear, “They have really connected.” Connected to what? In Revenue Storm terms, everyone is interested in something outside of themselves that is directly linked to something inside of them. Any leader, politician, or sales professional who can do that will have uncovered what it takes to make a powerful Win Theme.

Connecting an external cause to an internal feeling is the ultimate motivation to action. People are moved by their emotions and then justify their actions by logic. Therefore, a good Win Theme becomes a rallying cry around which people coalesce.


Something on the inside connects with something on the outside

For the next several months, the world will all be able to watch how well the US candidates develop their Win Themes as their campaigns unfold.

To uncover the right messaging for creating and branding a powerful Win Theme for your organization, or your strategic sales campaign, keep in mind these three key intentions:

  1. It must resonate emotionally with the most influential and powerful people involved in your deal.  In the end, they have to be able to feel and possibly say internally – this is what is most important in our decision making.
  2. It should define and differentiate you.  It not only must represent you well, but preferably does not represent the competition.  If the competition could claim it too, but it is the most important thing to the client, then grab it early and execute it well. That way they will look like they are only following you, because they want to be more like you.
  3. Your potential client must see, feel or experience it.  It is less about verbalization of the exact phrase, and more about how the client experiences it consistently with your team.

Once you do the intellectual heavy lifting and have worked through these three points, boil all your thoughts down into one simple phrase. (Think bumper sticker, mantra, rallying cry, or slogan). Some examples of Win Themes are:

  • A Good Night’s Sleep,” suggesting the client can rest comfortably because you will take care of the situation.
  • Your Safety Net,” suggesting this is a high risk change or initiative and with our experience, we can help assure you will get it right. We will protect you from painful mistakes.

With that you will have given birth to a powerful Win Theme. Now, do not be shy! Tastefully plaster it everywhere—in emails, on PowerPoint presentations, and taglines. Make a concerted effort to brand it, knowing that when you have accomplished this, you will have created one more strategic reason that will cause a customer to buy from you. At the very same time, cause them to NOT buy from the competitor!

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