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The Impact of Communication Technology on Politics


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The Impact of Communication Technology on Politics

  1. 1. The Impact of Communication Technology on Politics<br />And its Implications for Branding<br />Colin Hogan<br />
  2. 2. Election Night: November 4, 2008<br />Over 71 million Americans watched the 2008 election night coverage<br />24% of Americans said they regularly learned something about the campaign from the Internet, almost double the percentage from the 2004 campaign (13%).<br />Youth vote: 37% of Americans aged 18 to 24 say that they have gotten information about candidates and their campaigns from social networking sites<br />People had never before experienced an election like this one<br />
  3. 3. Election Night 2008- My Story<br />Madrid<br />
  4. 4. Obama’s Change<br />Obama and his political team used the relatively new medium of the Internet and applied it to politics in a unique and effective way<br />By using interactive Web 2.0 tools, Obama’s campaign changed the way politicians organize supporters, advertise to voters, defend against attacks and communicate with constituents<br />Changed the donations formula: $500 million in online donations from more than 3 million people<br />Used the new medium to highlight his personal strengths (eloquence, authenticity, opportunity)<br />Online community translated into real results ($$, votes)<br />Truly a unique campaign<br />
  5. 5. or was it?<br />Was the Obama campaign really the first time that “new media” was used to effectively drive a campaign or cause? Or was it the latest in a long tradition? <br />
  6. 6. 1898: William Randolph Hearst<br />His newspaper, The New York Journal, sensationalized the news in order to drive circulation<br />This strategy later became known as yellow journalism<br />Hearst was one of the first to recognize the political power of the medium of mass print<br />The tactics used by Hearst to influence popular opinion contributed to the onset of the Spanish-American war<br />“You furnish the pictures and I’ll furnish the war”<br />Hearst’s insight: If it’s in print, people will assume it’s true<br />
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  8. 8. 1933-1944: FDR’s Fireside Chats<br />President Roosevelt used the medium of radio as a way to build support for his New Deal programs<br />He relied on anecdotes and analogies to explain the complex issues facing the country<br />Often began his talks with “Good evening, friends”<br />The "fireside chats" were considered enormously successful and attracted more listeners than the most popular radio shows during the "Golden Age of Radio." <br />Every U.S. President since Roosevelt has delivered a weekly address<br />Roosevelt’s insight: Radio enabled the politician to build a relationship with the citizen <br />
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  10. 10. 1960: Nixon vs. Kennedy Debates<br />Presidential candidates John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon faced off in a groundbreaking series of televised debates<br />"A perfect storm of factors ensured Nixon was not going to look presidential," says Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania.<br />Radio listeners thought Nixon won the debate, while TV viewers preferred Kennedy<br />Nixon was playing a new game by old rules<br />Kennedy’s insight: Non-verbal communication is just as important as verbal communication<br />
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  12. 12. 2008 Election: Obama vs. McCain<br />Heavily updated Twitter account showed transparency into his day-to-day campaign<br />Logo effectively branded the candidate<br />Text messaging campaign effective with young voters<br />Obama’s open-source campaign was much more appealing to younger generations than McCain’s, which had a top-down commanding feel<br />Obama’s website was chosen by experts over McCain’s website at the rate of 4:1 (most pleasing design, most appealing content, more effective for telling the candidate’s story)<br />Obama had more than 3.4 million Facebook supporters, six times McCain's number<br />Obama’s insight: Social media can create an atmosphere of authenticity that can’t be created through the use of “controlled media”<br />
  13. 13. Why McCain’s Social Media Efforts Failed<br />The McCain campaign did not approach social media organically. Instead, used “Astroturfing”<br />The utilization of the pay-to-play system<br />The usage of “artificial” language defeated authenticity of the social media outlets <br />Heavy use of “robo calls”<br />
  14. 14. Implications<br />New technologies create opportunities but there will always be winners and losers<br />The winners are those who not only participate in new technology, but figure out how to make it work for them (adapt it to their brand)<br />Example: Obama was not the first political candidate to use the internet; he just made the internet work for his message in a very unique and profitable way<br />Application: It’s not enough for a brand to simply have a twitter page or a website. In order to be successful in the new age of social media, brands must utilize new technologies to create a 21st century brand experience that captivates consumers in a unique way. <br />
  15. 15. What If…?<br />What if Pulitzer and Hearst had only reported the facts of the Spanish-American conflict?<br />What if the press had chosen to photograph Roosevelt in his wheelchair?<br />What if Nixon had shaved before the debate? <br />What if McCain had approached social media organically?<br />
  16. 16. How Technology Affects Consumer Engagement<br /><ul><li>How can I use immediacy of communication to benefit my brand?
  17. 17. How can I use new media to expand the breadth of my brand?
  18. 18. How can I use new media to influence consumer perceptions of my brand?</li></li></ul><li>Obama and Immediacy<br />Text the VP campaign<br />Text messages are received almost instantly after they are sent<br />Most young people carry their cell phones with them at all times<br />Texts stand out compared to emails, considering the amount of spam in the average inbox<br />Reaches young voters through their preferred medium<br />More personal than automated voicemails<br />
  19. 19. Immediacy<br />
  20. 20. Obama and Breadth<br />Website<br />YouTube<br />Twitter<br />Facebook<br />Text Messaging<br />Blogging<br />Flickr<br />Blackberry<br />Laptop in W.H.<br />Unprecedented breadth in participation across media channels<br />
  21. 21. Breadth<br />
  22. 22. Obama and Perception <br />
  23. 23. Ability to Change Perceptions (Influence)<br />
  24. 24. Key Applications For Branding<br />
  25. 25. Looking Forward<br />As brand planners, we must always be looking for new technologies that allow our brands to engage consumers in new ways.<br />Social media is not the last frontier; it is simply one stage in the cycle<br />We must be prepared to abandon the old rules that apply to old mediums<br />At the same time, there are some principles that will remain applicable despite changes in technology<br />Social media is a tool, not a strategy<br />