By Jose Oscar Magpusao
Photo Credits: AP, Reuters and EPA/Jiji
Voters were reminded to scrutinize political candidates closely through a simple test that anyone can do to have an initial understanding of their capabilities and see if they are fit to lead the nation.
As aspirants for leadership posts in the country finished filing their certificates of candidacy (COCs) in the past week and the discourse between candidates are already heating up, Josiah Go, a marketing guru and the chairman of Mansmith and Fielders, Inc., listed a 10-point test on Oct. 8 that voters can use to assess candidates ahead of the 2022 national elections in May.
"I hope you can be guided properly in the forthcoming election," Go said in a blog on Thursday.
"If you don’t agree with one or two, please don’t throw the baby with the bath water," he added.
According to the post, voters should first ask themselves these 10 questions to see if their political bets are fit to be the country's top leaders in the next 3-6 years.
10-Point Test are the following:
1. Does he / she have enough experience to effectively lead the country?
2. Does he / she treat his fellowmen and even his enemies with honor?
3. Is he / she and his / her household honest Filipinos?
4. Does he / she display integrity at all times in word and deed?
5. Is he / she morally upright?
6. Does he / she respect human rights?
7. Can he / she be trustworthy and not be corrupt?
8. Can he / she be trusted to have no hidden agenda?
9. Is he / she healthy and not sickly?
10. Can he / she be a pride of our country?
Meanwhile, Go also reminded candidates of the seven top marketing lessons that have been used in 2016 elections in garnering votes, citing his previous blog published on Sept. 24.
"Winning a presidential election, like winning market leadership in the marketplace, entails a lot of mass media advertising to be top of mind. The basic idea is you convert positive thought leadership into market leadership," he wrote.
The first lesson is understanding the target market by determining their needs, wants and expectations, he said, as this will help candidates assess the portion of the population that connects with their agenda and believes, and will likely vote for them.
In the previous 2016 national elections, Go noted that incumbent President Rodigo R. Duterte was able to attract 6.1 million voters from Mindanao given the idea of having the country's first-ever president from the region.
"A candidate need not please everyone, they just need to choose the target market big enough to win them a plurality vote, in the range of 4 out of 10 voters, based on the 2010 and 2016 presidential elections. Remember, the Philippines is not a two-party political system," he said.
On the other hand, two strong candidates attracting the same target voters should give way to one political bet for higher chances of winning.
He said candidates should also maintain a clear yet unique value proposition that would address the problems of Filipinos to garner believers.
In terms of communicating their messages to the public, Go highlighted the need to explore all forms of communication channels, including the so-called "digital keyboard warriors" to reach a wider audience.
Capabilities of the candidates will also be shown through the traditional election debates held by mass media, which he said propelled then-Congresswoman and now vice president Leni Robredo, during the 2016 campaign season.
"The image of a candidate can be packaged, but debates will reveal the candidate’s mind and demeanor to help voters make informed decisions," he said.
The fourth and fifth lessons for their campaign strategies were to "build consistent brand awareness" and "establish powerful brand association," which Go said helped Duterte to stay in the news and win more of the undecided voters that time.
While these tactics worked for the successful candidates during the 2016 elections, Go noted aspirants today would have to deal with complicated pain points as the coronavirus pandemic pushed unemployment and poverty rates high, the economy into a recession and branded the country's pandemic response among the world's weakest.
For the sixth marketing lesson of ensuring that the message is memorable, he said "gaining votes come from three major sources – – loyal followers, making people shift their preference, as well as convincing the undecided voters, each may entail different messaging."
Lastly, Go stressed the need for candidates to make their message to the public persuasive, similar to how Duterte performed unusual acts to make himself relatable when he was campaigning, such as folding his barong sleevers, wearing checkered shirts, and even raising a middle finger.
"There is also an element of destiny in all this, and the future is in our hands – a collective energy that a united people can generate – that can be gained by voting wisely, and by prayers," he added.
Link here to view the entire Sept. 24 blog: