Sunday, 12 October 2008

7 Things Obama is doing to leverage Web 2.0

When we look back at this presidential election, I have a sneaking suspicion that we will see web2.0 as having played a big role in the candidates' ability to create buzz, build traction and won significant hearts and minds in the race to the white house.

Enclosed are the few things Barack has done to leverage Web 2.0:

  1. Leveraging social networking to bag funding and votes- the key is around MyBarackObama thro which you can set up your own webpage to raise funds for Barack – nifty gadgets including a thermometer with a level of mercury that depicts how close you are to success- the socialsite allows you to send invitations and also keep track of invites- eg reminders etc- and, of course, there is a payment gateway
  2. Leveraging the YouTube channel which has close to 1600 videos to look at and many are added every week
  3. User Generated Content- eg individuals that have created video tutorials to help the activist community get traction and - example; example2,
  4. phonebanking1on1- a 1on1 tutorial focused on creating activists out of interested people that want to help
  5. Neighbor to neighbor: program to connect community activists thro ip calls, by giving them access to voter lists etc…
  6. Drive to register- leveraging community
  7. Viral videos- eg the obamasong by will.ia.m

This election, I suspect, will teach all of us new tricks to use in our own campaigns.


Strategic Positioning: Obama one up on McCain?

Allright, I admit it- I am fascinated by the US presidential elections and am devouring all information on what's happening there. That said though, for my craft (marketing), there is plenty of drama and stuff to learn from.

As I was listening to the podcast of the second presidential debate, I was fascinated by something. McCain's campaign positioning, at least after the Republican Convention, has been "why Obama is not the right person for the job". But, this is the interesting part, the more he tries to move the argument to Barack, the more the debate seems to be around him and his VP pick, Sarah Palin. The big challenge with this campaign for McCain is that now, he to move the debate away from him, and into Obama's camp, and he has 25 days to do it, and Barack is gaining daily…

So what are my 3 points?

  • McCain should have been true to his DNA- a "maverick" view, which John genuinely is, is a very self led, internally focused view- Mavericks generally do not care about what other people do, or think. However, his campaign is focused on going after Barack rather than focusing on himself???
  • If his game was to go after Barack, he should have done a better job of battening down the hatches in his campaign, with "extreme" picks like Palin, what he has done is to expose his campaign to serious cracks in his argument- you want the focus to be Barack, you don't want anyone to focus on you, right? How many of us doubt that the 70 Million people that watched the VP debate, amongst the most watched in history, came to watch Sarah commit gaffes after the Katie Couric interviews?
  • Finally, there is a serious amount of negative energy involved in going after someone. This negative energy is offputting, and turn quite a few people off, as well as take the focus of the campaign away from trying to get better, to trying to prove that the other person is worse off. I wouldn't do it.


Why Offense is better than Defense?

My dinner with Sriram Aylur last night at the Quilon Restaurant , a Michelin starred south Indian restaurant turned out to be very interesting. The conversation steered around his success at Quilon, and we ended up discussing a concept that I found insightful.

The concept is this: by playing offense , eg., going after competition first, you force them to respond, and, when that happens, more often than not, the responses are likely to be tactical "knee jerk". The idea is that as you force them to play the short-term tactical game, you continue to ensure your longer term important pieces continue to move.

This puts a premium on playing offense/ moving first.