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The Obama Strategy


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The Obama Strategy: Practical Application of the 2008 American Presidential Election to Marketing Communications

The Obama Strategy: Practical Application of the 2008 American Presidential Election to Marketing Communications

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  • 1. Practical Application of the 2008 American Presidential Election to Marketing Communications Presented by Jimi Awosika With Franklin Ozekhome
  • 2. A Week Before The Election… Over 150,000 invites had already been sent out to people for attendance at Obama’s victory address The venue had already been selected; security details put in place…
  • 3. Few Days Before The Election… David Plouffe [then Obama’s Campaign Manager], commenting on Obama’s campaign future, revealed on ABC News that they had devised 6 routes for winning the electoral votes… … And Obama’s victory speech had already been prepared weeks in advance
  • 4. Three Days Before The Election… During the election, McCain was still campaigning in two states… while Obama had retired to watch the poll results after voting, already assured of victory
  • 5. Obama’s campaign team were ‘certain’ of victory…and had put things in place to prepare for this eventuality Their attitude was that of ‘we know WE WILL WIN’
  • 6. Why was this? Knowing that with people, you can never be too sure
  • 7. What Did ‘It’ For Obama? The Winning Formula
  • 8.
    • A Very Strong, Well Defined & Structured Strategy
    Clinical Disciplined Execution Style
  • 9. Plotting Strategy
  • 10. What Issues Were Identified?
    • Inexperience
      • 2 years in the Senate when Obama announced his intention to run for the presidency
    • Race
    • - African-American?
    • - African??
      • - Black???
      • - Mixed????
      • - Not American????
  • 11.
    • Other top Democratic frontrunners [who were also a strong
    • part of the Democratic party establishment] were identified
    America – the Nation-though scared of Internal security - became war weary
    • John Edwards & Hillary Clinton
  • 12. The Political Landscape
    • Public Opinion was beginning to turn against the Republicans
    • Approval ratings for the current President were dropping dramatically
    • It was clear that 2008 was going to be the year for the Democrats
  • 13. Competitor Analysis Focus on the Two Front Runners
  • 14. John Edwards & Hillary Clinton
  • 15. Strengths Had run in 2004 as Vice Presidential running mate with John Kerry Self-made millionaire An Attorney Very strong debater Strong speaker Powerful orator Seen as strong with labour unions and labour issues so he was seen as far left
  • 16. Draw Backs Weak fund raising capability and too far left Could John deliver the south, aside the primaries, in the overall elections ? Hails from North Carolina, a Republican bastion
  • 17. Hillary Clinton
  • 18. Great Orator Strong views on health care, social issues and foreign policy Strong foreign policy credentials More importantly the leading light for the Democrats; and a near-appointed democratic spokesperson in congress Strong Debater Her Strengths Highly focused; popular with the party’s liberals and moderates; strong democratic base Former First Lady
  • 19. … and finally
    • She was Bill Clinton’s wife
      • Meaning: The Democratic Institution Was In Their Hands
  • 20. Perceived as a Washington Insider Some unproven cases of under-hand dealings Very entrenched opponents both within the Democratic and Republican parties Her Draw Backs
  • 21. The Obama Strategy
  • 22. The Strategy The Candidate The Organization The Message The Style Taking on Competition Getting Things Done
  • 23.
    • Build the message around Hope & Change; capturing everything in the one line: “Yes, We Can !!”
    • Make the message simple and inspirational
    • Connect with mainstream America
    The Message Strategy
    • Avoid message coloration to keep the fidelity of the message
    • Don’t be abusive
    • Avoid drama with the message
  • 24. Getting Things Done
    • Build a strong team with all clearly defined roles; advisers to be advisers, strategist to be strategist, organizers to be organizers…all should talk to each other but one person speaks for the ticket and that’s the candidate
    • - In effect, make the Candidate the Message
  • 25. Organization
    • Build the base of support around the ordinary American both to ensure commitment and passion
    Use both conventional and new technology to ensure connection and information flow
  • 26. Taking on the Competition
    • Never play the underdog
    • Stand sure footed on issues and project leadership and respect
    • Build the field organization from primaries to the general election
    • Be ready for a long drawn battle
    • Restructure the electoral map and break the myth of toss-up states
  • 27. The Candidate
    • Exude Confidence, Leadership & Passion for the message
    • Avoid Drama
  • 28. Disciplined Implementation of Strategy
  • 29. Organization
    • Built a very strong field operation through the use of community organizers and volunteers by working with a database of current and new voters
    • Encouraged new voters registration by exciting apathetic voters, disaffected youths, blacks and Hispanics
    • Use of mobile banking, internet and SMS to reach out to this people consistently
    • Made an early strike: winning Iowa was critical for the strategy. Prioritizing & wining Iowa to set the tone for the election; build traction and momentum
  • 30. The Message
    • They kept the message simple
      • It was all about Change and Hope
    • The message was dynamic enough to take any shift; Iraq, politics etc
    • Consistency of message and delivery
    • Presentation of the message was without any drama
      • He came out like a man who had his eyes on the ball
      • A pair of steady hands
    • For message delivery they avoided the use of surrogates. There was the message & Obama – one single entity. The message was ‘ Obama ’
    • Everything had to be linked to the message; including his style. The style has to fit his strategy
    • Engage endorsers
      • But not be linked to their posture on politics
  • 31. Redrawing the Electoral Map
    • All the same structures of the 50 states were kept in place, even after the primaries
    • Obama kept resources in every state, building support & creating pressure even in Republican states
    • The number of swing states were increased –
      • Where demographics have changed, especially middle & low-income class – youths, blacks, Hispanics
    • States that had serious economic and employment issues
    • States that had disaffected and apathetic voters; that didn’t appear on the Republican radar
    • Serious massive voter exercise was encouraged
    • Early voting was encouraged – state wise – because of the fickle nature of the disaffected new registered voters
  • 32. Style
  • 33. Style
    • Link the style to the strategy
    • Project Poise, Leadership, Forward-thinking and Measured restraint
    • Avoid brick bats
    • Be generous & charitable to opponents and losers
    • Build consensus - but Lead!
    • Project Youth, Vibrancy, Passion & New Thinking
    • Make the style the ‘hallmark’ of the candidate “OBAMA”
  • 34. What are the Learnings from this?
  • 35. Lessons To Note…
    • Belief in your goals and objectives
    • Create a Winning Team that believes in these goals & objectives
    • Delegate tasks and assign responsibilities
    • The team must develop fresh new ideas and strategies to beat and consistently outsmart the competition
    • They should pursue and selflessly implement these ideas and strategy
    • Develop an IDEA in your communication that is consistent, relevant and believable, and that people will readily buy into
  • 36. Yes You Can !!!
  • 37.
    • Jimi Awosika is the Managing Director/CEO, Insight Communications
    • Franklin Ozekhome is the Head, New Business & Brand Management, Insight Communications