How the "Average" American became the star of the 2008 Presidential Election.
From "Joe the Plumber" to the myriad blogs, viral campaigns, and grassroots efforts, it feels for the first time in modern history that the power of deciding the election has been placed directly in the hands of the average US citizen. Thanks to YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, and text-messaging--the way we get and share information today--voters have greater access to information, they can research what they don't understand and they can and will share that information with others. There are valuable branding lessons to be learned of the ingenuity and potential challenges of hyperspeed marketing that will guide our future campaigns, electoral or not. Microtargeting helps you know exactly who and where you need to reach Although Howard Dean was the first to understand the power of the internet to help build a campaign from the bottom up, Obama was the first to truly harness the internet's power to revolutionize the way to run a campaign. From mobilizing unregistered, previously uninterested voters to raising record amounts of cash, Obama succeeded in using the internet to find out exactly where he needed to be. The challenge: Your connections to your audience must be meaningful or you risk burning them out. The internet has made detectives of us all Obama's campaign manager, David Plouffe warns in today's New York Times, "You do focus groups and people say, ‘I saw that ad and I went to this Web site to check it'...“They are policing the campaigns.” Case in point, I was very surprised by some of the small-business claims made by Obama and McCain during the debates and immediately researched their quotes. Got my answers and discussed with at least 10 people. The challenge: Never fudge little details or you risk losing your audience when, not if, they find out. An excited, mobilized audience is a loyal one I've been twittered, I've been Facebooked, I've been enticed, cajoled, guilted, and bribed to get out my vote
today. Whether my colleagues, friends, and local businesses are for McCain or Obama, their message is clear: they are excited, mobilized and won't take defeat lying down. To this, Plouffe reminds us, “Without the candidate who excites people, you can have the greatest strategy and machinery and it won’t matter.” The challenge: You must deliver a consistent message that inspires and be prepared to make good on your promises.
Is it beginning to look a lot like Christmas? What does Christmas "look" like? Is it the unveiling of Simon Doonan's witty, irreverent windows at Barneys? Santa's reliably jovial appearance at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade? Salvation Army bells on every corner? The "miracle" tree at Rockefeller Center? The rush, bustle and flurry of gift buying, receiving, and yes, sadly occasionally returning? I guess the question on everyone's minds this year is what does a pared back Christmas look like? We're interested in observing how some of America's biggest brands are approaching their consumers this year, examining which carefully crafted holiday campaigns will set just the right tone and hit their mark:
Williams-Sonoma Brands: Thanks and Giving campaign to support St. Jude's Hospital. For the fourth year, a portion of proceeds from holiday purchases will benefit St. Jude Children's Research Hospital. The campaign has helped raise over $6.6 million dollars for the cause. The takeaway?: Let your holiday purchases make a difference to those less fortunate.
The Gap Brands: NEW! Shopping made Simple: 4 Stores - 1 Checkout. Gap has finally, cleverly grouped their four brands (Gap, Old Navy, Banana Republic and Piperlime) into one shopping experience with one low flat-rate shipping price ($7), and free returns. The takeaway: Gap makes it easy to get through the holidays with your mind and wallet intact.
Barneys: Have a Hippy Holiday Sweepstakes: Barney's offers good vibrations with peace-themed gifts, free shipping on all online orders, and a chance to win a $2500 shopping gift card. The takeaway: Even luxe consumers could use a little lovin' this season.
Bath & Body Works: Experience the Season: Buy 1, Get 1 at 50% off: Bath and Body Works invites consumers to get in the holiday spirit with three new tantalizing fragrances, Twisted Peppermint, Vanilla Bean Noel, and Winter Candy Apple. The takeaway: You can get in on the holiday spirit even on a budget.