Pulse Asia recently released results from its December 6 to 11 2016 survey on trust and satisfaction ratings of public officials and institutions. The results echo the SWS survey on satisfaction held from December 3 to 6. As I went over the results of the surveys, I thought about how the surveys reflect the critical importance of having a clear and credible message.
I suppose I thought about this in marketing terms because it is the time in the Master in Entrepreneurship program when we begin to seriously talk about marketing.
In the SWS survey, Duterte continued to be highest ranked in net public satisfaction with what SWS calls a “very good” net rating (satisfied minus dissatisfied) of +63. The national administration received a net satisfaction rating of +61. In the Pulse Asia survey, Duterte ranked highest of national officers snagging 83 percent approval in trust and performance, 4 percent low trust and 5 percent dissatisfaction.
However, the real news of both surveys was the decline in the vice presidential ratings. The SWS survey showed a double digit drop in Robredo’s net satisfaction rating to +37 from +49 in September. Pulse Asia reports that “only significant movement” in the national leadership performance ratings from September was the increase in disapproval percentage of Robredo by 7 percentage points to 16 percent. In terms of performance, 62 percent found Robredo satisfactory. Trust in Robredo dropped from 66 percent to 58 percent, also a significant drop.
To be entirely clear, Robredo’s numbers, while lower, are still high and the 58 percent trust rating is not far from her July rating of 62 percent. By contrast, Duterte’s July trust rating was 91 percent, with a miniscule 0.2 percent in low or no trust. However, it is important to understand that 83 percent is still exceedingly high. By contrast, Noynoy Aquino, began his administration with an 85 percent trust rating. Also, as those who follow these surveys must know, presidential trust ratings always start out very high.
Well, so what? Unless you are one of those conspiracy theorists who believe that these trust and performance numbers can be used to gauge the feasibility of forcing a change in government, what good use can be made of these numbers?
In marketing, one of the most fundamental of principles is that your attitude towards a brand drives your behavior concerning it. That critical goal of brand loyalty typically relies on a foundation of brand trust.
In politics, as in marketing, the problem with broad strokes numbers such as trust is that it does not provide enough insight concerning how to hold on to that trust. Understanding which features of the brand create customer preference and loyalty is a critical part of brand management. Marketing managers know that brand loyalty relies on a clear identity, and that identity should define a brand set of promises that is differentiated, valuable, and credible.
In the job of government, much of what needs to be done requires multi-party cooperation. For much of this work, a certain level of political legitimacy is required. A government that enjoys a high level of citizen trust has at least one of the most important ingredients in legitimacy.
For those in the Duterte administration, the more important numbers can be found in citizen satisfaction. The SWS report on net satisfaction with government performance as of December 2016 should be good news. The current +61 general satisfaction rating is rivaled only by the first half of the previous administration. In the area of helping the poor, based on available numbers, this administration currently beats all previous administrations. Net satisfaction in the area of providing jobs is significantly up from the previous administration. In what should be the most painful result for Duterte critics of the yellow variety, this administration’s net satisfaction rating on both eradicating graft and corruption, and promoting human rights is second highest since the Cory Aquino administration, and even that, only by the earliest months of that administration.
There are other numbers but here are the cautions concerning these numbers. First, these factors are not equal. Some factors are more important than others. Public officials need to pay attention to the factors that citizens and other stakeholders care about. Brand managers need to pay attention to the factors that customers and influencers care about. You need to know what drives the customer. Second, even if you are doing well in something, you will always be compared. Customer expectations are typically lifted by what is currently available in the market. You must pay attention to competition and substitutes. Third, even if you are doing well versus competition, the customer has an internal benchmark. This is especially important for products that are not basic goods. Simply think about at what point a product is suddenly adopted on a wide scale—that is the point at which the product’s value to price ratio becomes acceptable to the wider market. Also, even if you believe customers cannot afford not to have your service (think telephones), if your service is bad, your customers will jump very quickly to the first new entrant who meets his needs. Understanding the customer’s situation is critical.
As to those who seek to understand why Robredo is losing ground and Duterte is keeping support in spite of all of the negative media Duterte inspires, the results concerning the administration’s performance should be educational. It is not enough to criticize your competition. You must, yourself, have a clear and credible platform and message. In politics, as well as in business, credibility is a function of actual track record.
Readers can email Maya at [email protected]. Or visit her site at http://integrations.tumblr.com. For academic publications, Maya uses her full name, Maria Elena Baltazar Herrera.