May the best win

February 11th, 2010

One of my recent columns entitled The underdogs basically talked about Gibo and Villar being the underdogs. Prior to that column, Noynoy’s lead in most surveys was quite big.

In business, many of the brands we developed were once underdogs. Because of the sheer desire to succeed, we have been able to make some of our brands market leaders. This is a caution for market leaders. Their biggest fear should be about those who have the strong passion to succeed, even though they might seem to be the underdogs.

In basketball, I remember that we were the underdogs for many years in the PBA. Eventually, we won four championships in our whole stint.

Right after the column came out, results of the surveys showed that Noynoy’s lead over Villar was just seven points. Some even showed only a two-point lead. It was surprising to see the lead of Noynoy over Villar narrowed-down so quickly.

I liken the names of the candidates to a brand. One has to carefully position a brand. It is most important to never feel overconfident. This is the basic mistake of most market leaders.

During the early days, we challenged the giant multinational brands in soft drinks and ice cream. Those times, the market shares of both brands were so huge. These types of results most likely cause market leaders to be overconfident. They think that they would be able to hold on to that lead. The same mistakes can be made by candidates with a huge margin in the beginning.

Remember the basic rule in marketing: Complacency is the worst thing, which will lead to failure. In branding, market situations must be watched.

While we say that everyone is destined for greatness, one still has to work on it and put his brains and correct attitude to good use.

The course of events has worked for some, like the death of Former President Cory Aquino. It has led to a change in landscape. The sympathy of a great woman who commanded a lot of respect from the Filipinos changed the results of the surveys during her passing. The tables turned in favor of Noynoy. Even Mar Roxas had no choice but to realize that the wave has changed. He responded correctly by giving way. As a result, he now leads the Vice Presidential surveys.

Some people would say that if not for Cory’s death, all these would not have happened. Even Mar would have probably not given in to take a VP candidate role. The same is true for Manny Villar. People say that he is spending billions on advertising. I find nothing wrong with this. He had a successful Initial Public Offering (IPO) in Vista Land, raised close to 200 million dollars on the secondary offering. This means he sold his personal shares so the 200 million dollars goes to him and not to the company. On top of this, he had primary shares sold that went to the company. But, 200 million dollars is close to 10 billion pesos. Count the interest earned, since the IPO at 10 percent alone is one billion a year, and that was several years back. So, this is his personal funds and he can use it to his advantage. A correct IPO timing before the financial crisis has given him the advantage. Without the financial muscle, Villar would have a different strategy or probably even political plans.

Certain events in our life give us opportunities. It is up to us to move and maximize this in order to benefit our vision. We are all destined for greatness, some to a larger extent. We need to be aware of this and use it the best we can. Opportunities come and go.

The race has begun for the highest position in our country. It still can be anyone’s game. It can be seen as the formidable lead of Noynoy has been broken. While some people would say that I am for Manny Villar, I always tell them that I respect each candidate. Gibo is very talented and he is definitely a capable leader. Noynoy comes from great parents who have brought forward a legacy that Filipinos should emulate. Manny Villar goes with the same tune we have been playing for the last four years: Negosyo (and a Negosyo attitude) is the solution to poverty. Villar’s line is “tapusin ang kahirapan”, giving Filipinos a better life through negosyo.  Corruption has always been a big problem for decades and centuries already. However, if we solve the level of poverty in our country, make more Filipinos wealthy and with better attitude and character; in time, corruption will be lessened.

Each Filipino has a reason for his own choice. We should all respect the choice of the majority. Come May 10, 2010, a clean and honest election will definitely move our country to the next level of progress. The race has begun and may the best person win.

* * * * * * *

Less than a month to go and we will be celebrating Women’s Month. We would like to invite all women (and men) to our “Go Negosyo: Babae, Tagumpay Ka ng Bayan” Women Entrepreneurship Summit on March 8, 2010 at the World Trade Center. This will be our first biggest event for the year. Expect this to be bigger and more explosive than our first women summit last year. We have prepared a day packed with information, education and entertainment for free. Everyone is welcome.