The largest data breach in Facebook’s existence has led to increased discussions in topics ranging from data security, the passive and active collection of data, controlling/influencing of public opinion and the absence of privacy in our world today.
Cambridge Analytica, a data firm owned by perennial U.S. Republican Party donor, Robert Mercer, has been accused of using data improperly obtained from Facebook to build voter psychographic profiles to target members of the voting population. They were instrumental in President Donald Trump’s electoral victory in the U.S.A. presidential elections of November 2016.
With the identification of concerns, thoughts, attitudes and leanings of targeted voters, Cambridge Analytica was able to advise President Trump on tailoring his stance/rhetoric when addressing the electorate. Particularly telling was President Trump winning the electoral college vote without winning the popular vote. His success in edging out close contests and a plethora of swing states can be credited to the identification of winnable battles and adjusting his message and schedule accordingly.
We must state that the issue with Cambridge Analytica has never been about the use of data to influence voters, but rather, the alleged illegal methods in which this data was collected.
The upcoming 2019 Nigerian elections raises the question of Nigerian politicians. Are Nigerian politicians ready for the use of much more sophisticated insight solutions in crafting messages that will resonate with voters?
President Goodluck Jonathan’s defeat in the 2015 elections points to potentially freer and fairer elections as it is the only instance of an incumbent president losing a presidential election in Nigeria. This was a major step towards Nigeria becoming a true democracy as it ‘hypothetically’ returns the power to the populace.
In a perfect world, this would ensure politicians would be more focused on meeting the demands of the voting public due to the fear of electoral defeat or recall. Examining this through the lens of Porter’s Five Forces, customer (voter) power is on the rise, while supplier power is on the decline due to the threat of substitutes.
We foresee a future where politicians are acutely aware of the needs of their constituents through rigorous consumer insight analysis. This would include examining the concerns of voters by various demographics to determine what message/vision to convey during campaign season, and indeed, while in office. Different factors appeal to different people according to age, location, religion, income, education level, marital status, etc.
The prudent politician will identify the stance on issues that will guarantee the most votes. An unmarried individual, for example, would be less concerned with a candidate’s views on the education of children or his/her views on pensions, in comparison to an individual with children or a retiree respectively.
It is fair to assume that all this is moot when discussing Nigerian elections for reasons such as the freeness and fairness of elections. The threat of rigged elections, underage voters in certain parts of the country, and low voter turnout due to security concerns or the inability to get registered for a Permanent Voter Card (PVC) may make it sound like we are still years away from the need to do proper voter insights.
However, 2015 leaves a lot of memories of power of voters, even in the midst of incumbency. We think that Consumer Insight Analytics will only become more relevant.
Thoughts? Sound off in the comment section.
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