Archive for the 'election 08' Category

Too Early to See Change From Obama…I Think Not!

Yesterday’s inauguration certainly was an unprecedented event. Whether you voted for President Obama, or not, it was tough to deny the feeling of excitement, renewal and hope. And with today’s digital media capabilities (thank you CNN!) how could you help feeling empowered – huddled around your computer with your colleagues watching every second like you were there yourself.

We heard a lot about change over the last several months, but what does it all mean to our everyday life and how much longer will us impatient Americans wait. Since I can’t look into my crystal ball and predict the future, I can say that change has already come to the White House…in the way of a blog!

Shortly after Barak Obama was sworn in, Macon Phillips, the Director of New Media for the White House blogged on how the President and his administration would stay in touch with the rest of the world and laid out their priorities and new media efforts. Communication, transparency and participation were cited as their top priorities. In addition, Phillips encouraged all of us to send ideas. The blog is going to include video, full texts of speeches and slideshows on Obama’s first days in office.

Communication, transparency and participation may seem simple, but should be top priorities for all organizations looking to build a brand as Obama did from his early days of campaigning. As my colleagues noted back on Election Day the Obama campaign was a best-practice marketing case study on building a brand. And true to his word…change came to the White House on day one…

— Posted by Kim Pegnato

Brand marketing and power of aspirational messaging


(Photo credit: Flickr DJBrianE)

As a marketer, I have been watching the development and execution of Obama marketing campaign with awe. This presidential campaign was the first in my memory to be marketed as if it were a corporate brand. Everything from the backdrops on stage to the well-chosen typeface on the signs held by fans has been just right. The use of the Obama logo was also powerful. In fact I didn’t realize I had been seeing a logo, until I saw it spray-painted on someone’s lawn with no supporting text, and immediately knew its meaning.

Another key to the success of this campaign, as a brand, was their aspirational messaging. The Obama campaign sold hope and change, not a man or a simple solution. They aimed to inspire others to look higher and dream big. The sign I saw held by supporters most frequently read “Change we can believe in”, with a subtle “Obama 08” at the bottom.

It’s often hard to build aspiration into a marketing campaign, and we can often get lazy and just settle for “motivational” or “actionable”. This success story, while perhaps not directly applicable to your work, should motivate you to get back to basics. What are you marketing, what is the value? Is there value? What does your brand aspire to be or to provide? How can you communicate that effectively? Does the name you just chose for your client’s new company really aspire to something? Can you back that up?

I have to admit, in full disclosure, that my interest in the Obama campaign reaches far beyond marketing. To me, this election represents a shift in the American psyche; it represents new opportunities for my husband, and his family in Haiti. Most of all, it represents an America that I’ve always hoped was possible for my 6-month-old daughter. My vote was for her.

— Posted by Liz Moise

Presidential Nominees Evolve from Individuals into Brands

Election Day Countdown: 0.

Like many of you out there, I am excited to find out who the next President of the United States will be. It has been a long and interesting road since both Barack Obama and John McCain declared they would be running for office this year. As a young voter it has been interesting to see how both candidates have run their campaigns because voters are no longer just voting for an individual, but rather for their favorite brand.

As funny as it sounds, Obama vs. McCain can now be compared to other brand battles like Coca Cola vs. Pepsi or Microsoft vs. Apple. Ask anyone you know whether they prefer a Big Mac from McDonalds or a Whopper from Burger King and in most cases the responder will fervently tell you which brand they prefer and why.

It’s uncanny to preference of politicians isn’t it?

To further prove my point, in a recent Advertising Age article, Team Obama was selected as “Marketer of the Year,” by a group of CMOs at the Association of National Advertisers. Team Obama beat out big brands such as Apple, Coors, Nike and yes, even John McCain made the list (barely).

In years to come, will future marketing students be reading case studies on how Obama won the 2008 Presidential Election through a viral-social networking-grass roots campaign?

I guess we will find out in a few hours!

Focus on Strength, Not Weakness

I was listening to NPR Marketplace on my way in this morning as they ran through a recap of the events, speeches and overall takeaways from the Democratic National Convention that took place at Invesco Field in Denver, Colorado last night.

One of the morning host’s raised a good point worth giving some thought to – how in this current presidential campaign election, not only are opponents weaknesses being attacked (common in any election), but their strengths as well – what they cited to be a new political tactic. They went on to discuss how Senator Obama’s speech raised the question of Senator McCain’s touted expertise at foreign policy – an area that many feel is one of his biggest strengths and a backbone to his campaign.

On a more “everyday applicable level,” it got me thinking about how our general tendency can be to do just that: focus on the weaknesses of something we are up against versus capitalizing on what something or someone does well. Many of us work daily in settings where we face competition from other companies, products, sales and marketing incentives – and are put in scenarios where we are one of several companies vying for a business “win.” Our instinct can be to hone in on what an opponent doesn’t offer and what we do. Instead, why not focus on what they do well……..and then make ours that much better? Not only are you taking the high road, you are raising the bar for the next guy – and in many senses increasing the breadth and sophistication – of the overall landscape.

Recently my father – a sailing fanatic – was teaching me some shipmen knots that had come in handy for him over the years. “Kristen, a line is only as good as its weakest point,” he said. Okay, very true. Maybe we….whether that we is an individual, a team, a company or a nation, may only be as strong as our weakest link. But adversely, we are a combination of a multitude of great strengths, ideas and passions that both challenge us and enable us to question everything. On the road to any type of success, whether on the high visibility campaign trail or simply just following our own vision – this is something we all need to capitalize on.


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