That's why I thought that It would be good to share their comments on the Obama campaign. Mainly because I agree with them, but also because I've been looking for a good summary of takeaways and I believe this is one of the best.
I'm writing just the highlights, please visit their site for the whole article. It's worth it.
1. LEAD WITH HUMILITY AND ALWAYS STAY COOL
Obama exemplified a new way of thinking that meets the demands of leadership in a complex world: “Adaptive Leadership“. While a visionary puts forth a specific plan to be implemented, an adaptive leader works with constituents to devise one together. The goal is to get your employees to tell you how they would improve your company. The less constrained they feel, the more you’re going to learn and the more your organization will benefit.
2. BE A GAME CHANGER AND PLAY BY YOUR OWN RULES
To grow, you have to invent a new game and beat them at that, too. Change the rules of the game where you can.
Obama didn’t accept any campaign contributions from large companies or lobbyists. He tapped the power of the small time donor through the Internet and went on to win the nomination. His fund raising methods and strategy of foregoing government funding have changed the future of American electoral campaigns.
Brilliant marketers don’t just fight for a bigger share of the pie. They expand the pie by bringing new consumers into the market.
3. CARVE OUT AN AUTHENTIC & RELEVANT POSITIONING AND STICK TO IT
Obama made and delivered a simple, consistent and aspirational promise: “change”. He coupled that with an empowering call to action, “yes we can.” By appealing to both the rational desire for change and the emotional need for hope, Obama presented his brand as a movement.
For Obama, however, “change” was more than a political slogan. He could not have been elected if he had not embraced and embodied the change he promised. Too many companies lurch from one strategy to the next, one consulting fad to another, because, deep down, their leaders don’t really understand what makes them different, better, and special. When you understand that, it gives you the confidence to stick to your positioning and strategy.
4. KEEP IT SIMPLE AND STAY POSITIVE:
Obama’s team understood that his message needed to cut through the clutter. “Keep it simple ” is a cliché, but it works. If you ask any Obama supporter to define what Obama stands for, you will always get the same answer: “hope and change“.
Obama understood that politics was about more than just rational argument, it was about emotional connection. People want to be inspired.
Obama always stayed positive, no matter the twists, turns, and psychodramas from the other candidates or the media. In that way, he stayed above his rivals.
5. THINK AND WORK BOTTOM-UP:
Obama wanted to make sure that his campaign was consistent with his philosophy of “ground up” rather than “top down”. When he was a political organizer, Obama had seen how a grassroots campaign could succeed. The internet allowed him to form an electronic grassroots, or netroots. He reached millions, built a formidable war chest and mobilized a dedicated army of supporters.
Online communities have become the place where billions of people of every age, social rank, and ethnicity hang out, where decisions are made about what to think, where to go and what to buy. The Obama brand was the creation of the community rather than of media or advertising.
6. MASTER MEDIA AND EMBRACE TECHNOLOGY:
Obama was the digital candidate while McCain was the analog candidate.
BarackObama.com beat the 24-hour media cycle with dynamic updates and offered a digital toolbox that allowed users to get involved. But the social media strategy of the Obama camp extended far beyond his site. His image and messages were everywhere on the web. His team not only created content for Web 2.0 sites, they also designed it to suit each individual site and its viewers.
Email marketing was fully integrated with these tools. “Be the first to know” was the email campaign theme, asking voters to sign up for exclusive email and mobile alerts. Obama‘s iPhone application transformed the phone into a campaign instrument to mobilize and inform supporters. Real time campaign updates on twitter made Obama the most followed person on this ever-growing microblogging service.
On YouTube, Obama staff constantly put up hundreds of cheaply and rapidly produced videos. Footage of events was edited from multiple cameras and uploaded, often only 20 minutes later. Toward the end of the campaign, they were being uploaded at a rate of 20 or more a day. Obama’s YouTube channel became a controlled media outlet. And he continues to use YouTube for his weekly addresses – a radical departure from Bush’s weekly radio address.
His message also appeared on billboards in 18 online video games, driving traffic to VoteForChange.com.
In the end, Obama’s familiarity with the most advanced new media technologies provided a huge advantage over his opponents.
7. FOSTER CO-CREATION AND GIVE UP SOME CONTROL:
Obama enjoyed a “co-creation” advantage – the passionate support of creative people. Their independent viral marketing impact was phenomenal. It’s hard to think of a political candidate who has inspired so much creativity.
The user-generated viral video “I got crush on Obama”, the “Yes We Can“ music video was conceived by Black Eyed Peas front man will.i.am and director Jesse Dylan.
Another prominent example of co-creation was the limited-edition print created by Los Angeles graphic designer Shephard Fairey. He used the proceeds from sales to finance a guerilla poster campaign. In addition to popping up on many streets, the image made its way onto bumper stickers, T-shirts and so on.
8. USE BIG MEDIA WHEN YOU HAVE BIG TASKS:
For all his mastery of new media, Obama also used also the old-fashioned route to the White House: he out-spent McCain 3-to-1 on TV advertising.
One week prior to Election Day, Obama turned up the heat with a prime-time 30-minute infomercial shown across most major TV networks. The half-hour simulcast was an extraordinary climax to his media blitz. Channel flippers had a hard time avoiding the ad because it was seemingly everywhere.
9. CREATE A SEAMLESS BRAND IDENTITY BUT LET IT BE FLEXIBLE AND ADOPTABLE:
The primary brief given to the design agency behind Obama’s brand identity was to create something different. The designers (who had never worked on a political campaign before) were informed and inspired by Obama’s two books, as no identity can work if it does not stand for something real.
Instead of taking a closed approach to his brand identity, the Obama campaign let people remix the brand for their own uses. With the mark being easy to modify, it was an invitation for social interaction. A good reminder for marketers that, as with any mark, meaning and impact comes from what people bring to it.
10. FAVOR CONSTANT CHANGE OVER CONSERVATISM:Brilliant points.
Obama ended his last speech before the election by saying: “Let’s go change the world.” Obama’s change-driven election is a reminder that the status quo is a dangerous place.
The biggest risk is to take no risks – especially now. Business leaders can’t expect break-through results by following conventions. In an age of me-too products, where the consumer is in control, keeping up with the competition is no longer a winning strategy. Winning companies don’t just embrace change—they are the change.
• Be an inclusive leader • don't let the rules stop you • choose a strategy and stick to it • inspire, • use the right technology for the right medium • foster co-creation • use big media for big tasks • make your brand custumoziable and • be the force behind change.
My main "top-of-the-soap-box" message is that running an Obama-like organization or delivering Nike-like advertising are choices we can make. They are available to us. We just need to make the decision, get the right people in place and do it.
Just talking about it won't turn us into Obama or Nike.