Polarization in Business
What would Coke be without Pepsi, a lone cola company with a single, weak product and a mediocre advertising campaign? Without competition, new markets would not be created, products would not be invented or innovated, and advertising would be a joke. The concept of competition itself has created massive associations such as the NFL and NBA that bring in and dish out more money than most people can comprehend. With so much of our society depending on the businesses that competition built, it is safe to say that it is a necessity. Therefore, polarization must be necessary as well, but not just any basic polarization. Businesses need extremism.
Although it is a bold statement, it has proven true in the past and will continue to be true in the future. The easiest way to see extremism in business is in advertising. In 2012 a major company would spend $3 million for a 30 second commercial during the Super Bowl just so the minuscule amount of people watching that have never heard of them would consider buying their product. It is extremism at its finest, yet it happens year after year, and why?
Perhaps the most interesting study of the issue was published last year by a team of researchers from the University of Wisconsin’s Eau Claire campus. In a paper titled “Super Bowl Ads Linked to Firm Value Enhancement,” the authors bypassed traditional measures of marketing efficacy in favor of directly measuring stock market outcomes. Companies that buy Super Bowl ads, they report, end up outperforming the S&P 500 during the subsequent week. (http://www.slate.com/articles/business/moneybox/2012/02/i_paid_4_million_for_this_.html)
A business can't afford to sit back and tell people that their product is not the greatest thing since sliced bread. No, they get out there and sell to as many people as possible, and the best way to do that today is to be extreme. People love extreme. They want to be told that if they buy a product it's going to be the greatest decision of their life, and that all the other choices aren't worth their money. Imagine these companies stayed quiet and moderate, decided to cut down on the ads, maybe make a compromise with their opponents saying that they are just as good, and start being realistic about the value of their products, then what?
These concepts are easy to see in politics as well. Two companies (candidates) are selling a product using an array of advertisements in order to persuade the public that they are selling the best product for the consumer (voter). I believe that if it were not for some level of extremism, the candidate would not successfully persuade the voter that their product is supreme.
In the end, whether extremism and polarization are viewed as positive or negative, I have no doubt that they are necessary in the world of business and politics. In order for a company to build itself it needs competition, it needs to show that their business is “good” and their competition is “bad”, and it must be bold in its attempts to expose its products to the world if it wants to generate a profit and contribute to our country's economy.