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Obama 2.0 KUDOS: Speakers notes


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Speakers notes for the slide show Obama 2.0 KUDOS analysis.

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Obama 2.0 KUDOS: Speakers notes

  1. 1. Obama 2.0: Social media KUDOS lessons Author(s) Leo Ryan & Dan O’Connor Created January 21, 2009 This document accompanies the slides for the presentation “Obama 2.0, Social media KUDOS lessons”, delivered by Leo Ryan from social media agency Ryan*MacMillan as a part of the Digital Training Company’s Obama 2.0: Lessons in Social Media from the Obama Presidential Campaign held at Adam Street Club in London on January 14th. The story so far The reason we are here is down to two remarkable dates  2004: The cover of Time magazine features Obama’s now ubiquitous face and asks “Could this man be president?”  2009: Barack Obama is President-elect of the USA. How does someone go from being a two-term state legislator to President of the USA in just 4 years? Not exclusively but certainly in part by using social media effectively, achieving in such remarkable figures as 3,705,707 Facebook friends. Our approach today Today we’re going to attempt to develop an understanding of how Obama and the Democrats used social media by looking at  What do we mean by social media?  How can you use a simple (KUDOS) framework to plan and evaluate social media activities?  The background to Obama’s success with social media  How Obama used social media to be elected President  A KUDOS analysis of 3 key social media elements of the campaign  We’ll finish with a workshop (about how the challenges facing your brand can be met using lessons learnt from the Obama campaign). So lets get started… © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 1
  2. 2. The importance of social media I am going to assume that you are all on board with the idea that social media is an important and increasingly effective way of communicating with your audience – otherwise you wouldn’t be here. However – just in case there’s any doubt here’s just one reference for you; A recent Forrester survey stated that the most trusted source of information about products & services (71%) is the opinion of friends, family and colleagues. Online consumers share that information with each other through social media. That’s above and beyond all other forms of information including, and in some research especially, advertising. Defining social media Social media is a term used to cover a multitude of sins so lets agree right up front what Ryan*MacMillan means by this term. Our working definition that we put forward to the IAB’s social media council is; “All of the activities, platforms and practices that enable users to create and share knowledge, opinions and content.” For example, a user takes a video and uploads it to YouTube, and other seers view it, rate it and link to it. In this case the activity is video uploads, the platform is YouTube and the practices are those of rating, viewing and linking. So specifically we mean;  Blogs and commenting on blogs  Forums and posting on forums  Creating, distributing and the use of widgets and tools  Creating and distributing content in all of its various forms  Engaging with communities. Again, a very broad definition to cover all kinds of communities from multiplayer online games to academic forums and to help groups for mums. KUDOS; a framework for planning and evaluating social media activity With its importance and the parameters agreed on, the next thing we can probably agree on is that it seems like some kind of unholy sprawling mess. This social media malarkey is a far cry from the nice, neat tidy channels we’re used to of radio, outdoor, TV and print. © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 2
  3. 3. So how do we go about getting our heads around all of this – what tools are available for us to plan, manage, optimise and evaluate our social media activities if they are so new and varied? From our experience of two years of planning and executing a range of social media activity for brands, consultancies, charities and Govt departments we have developed a framework for managing this; KUDOS. The advantage of KUDOS is that its simplicity makes it easy to get your head around it. This means that you can use it to quickly assess the large amount of information that social media activity provides us with, quickly assess your involvement and keep learning. KUDOS provides you with a simple structure which allows you to quickly get involved in the conversation and to start experimenting by helping you to work out which activities you are going to try and when you’ve tried them helps you to work out which ones are worth continuing with. The foundation of KUDOS is that we believe social media is a contract between the brand and the audience. And like a contract it needs to be balanced on both sides or it won’t work; it needs to be for both the brand and the audience; So for an activity to successful it must equally satisfy the needs of both the brand and the audience and in way that imparts Knowledge which is Useful, Desirable, Open and Shareable. The Knowledge could be any piece of content relating to your brand, from dynamic, up-to-date, information about flight times, as with Travelocity’s updates, to financial tips, as Halifax bank does with its ‘Share Price Alert’ service. It could be podcasts with your product development crew, as in the case of General Electric’s series on the brand’s emerging technologies, or the sort of branded content seen in TripAdvisor’s ‘Places I’ve Visited’ Facebook widget. These pieces of Knowledge should be Useful to your audience. This is not simply a case of ensuring they get the best price for a hotel room. It also means helping them understand changes you’ve made to your products – as Sky Movies did so well by explaining some changes in their channels on an online forum, assuaging the anger and confusion of their customers. Equally, your social media activities should be Desirable to your audience. So music recommendations from can keep them ahead of the trend, exclusive web-casts let them chat with their favourite authors, and discussion forums can let them demonstrate their own expertise in topics from computing to cookery. Social media activities should also be Open about where the useful and desirable knowledge is coming from. Failure to © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 3
  4. 4. disclose conflicts of interest never works well in the social media world, as Whole Foods CEO John Mackey found out when he used a pseudonym to badly disparage a rival brand. Your activities should also be Open to audience participation. This can be as simple encouraging consumers to leave comments on a blog post (and always responding to them!), or the more complicated algorithmic ratings system for movie review scores at IMDB. Finally, any social media activity should be Shareable – your customers must be able to link to it or pass it on, either through their preferred networking site or aggregator (Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg, etc. etc.) or just through the word of mouth enabled by email. To help us to understand how Obama managed to achieve such success with his social media activity we’re going to use the KUDOS framework to evaluate key pieces of his social media activity. While KUDOS can be both a quantitative and a qualitative evaluation tool – in this instance we’re going to stick to qualitative. Some History: The Democrats’ historic use of social media Before we turn our attention to Obama’s use of social media let’s get ourselves acquainted with the back-story, because it would have been a very different situation if Obama had just leapt into the fray of social media without an existing history of liberal campaigning in social media. Lots of earlier efforts by laid the groundwork, provided best (and worst) practice examples and built up a groundswell of interest for the 08 Campaign to then build on. The face of US politics has profoundly changed since 2004. What was once a seemingly solidly right wing, religiously conservative country, will, after 20th January, have a liberal President and a solid progressive liberal majority in both Houses of Congress. This change has been both mirrored – and assisted – by the rise in the importance of social media to USA political campaigns and communications. 2004: Howard Dean In 2004, the Howard Dean campaign (for the Dem. Presidential nomination) became the first campaign to successfully use social media technologies to raise money online. While Dean was not the only candidate to do so, he was the only candidate to take communications seriously and use the blog to communicate directly with supporters, rather than the press. © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 4
  5. 5. Dean also made use of emergent social media tools such as MeetUp in order to organise rallies. Primarily, though, he used social media to raise money online. Online donations are quicker and simpler than mailing in donations and so Dean was able to tap a whole new constituency of donors. However, this fundraising did not translate into electoral victory. The money AND SOCIAL MEDIA alone did not guarantee effective organisation of, and communication with, the electorate. Dean lost the Democratic nomination to John Kerry. 2006: Mid-Terms In the 2006 mid-term elections various progressive grassroots movements (think: DailyKos, MoveOn etc.) used emerging social media technologies, such as Facebook and MeetUp, in order not just to raise money for candidates but to organise offline support for those candidates. The Democrats made use of this social media organisation and fundraising to take back control of the US House of Representatives and the Senate. The Dems went from a 202-233 deficit in the House to a 233-202 majority, and from a 44-55 deficit in the Senate to a 51-49 majority (including 2 independents who caucus with the Dems). And another neologism is born: Grassroots + online = ‘the netroots’. 2006: George Allen is an idiot on video While campaigning for his seat in 2006, Republican Senator George Allen used a racial epithet (‘macaca’) to describe a young, Indian, Democratic activist who was filming one of his speeches. Progressive netroots activists put the video online and blogged heavily about Allen’s racism until the story hit the mainstream media. Allen went a seemingly unassailable 16% lead in the polls to a 0.4% loss on election day Note – for background read article:,_2 006#Allen.27s_Macaca_controversy 2006 Follow the money – a fundraising website which allowed donors to give money to several progressive politicians in numerous states – rather like an aggregator site for fundraising helps the the DSCC (Democratic Senatorial © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 5
  6. 6. Campaign Committee) and DCCC (Congressional) out-raise the RSCC and RCCC for the first time in a generation. The finale: Obama 08 In 2007-2008, Barack Obama perfects the new social media political activities, successfully using social media to leverage his social capital so greatly that he is able to transform himself from a total outsider into President-elect of the USA. At the same time, those same progressive political activists made use of the same social media activities as Obama in order to help the Democratic Party gain stronger control of both Houses of Congress. The history lesson We should see Obama as the climax of this ‘netroots’ movement and not as an individual success story. There is a lesson here also for brands: jumping into social media is a tough job – it is much easier if you are entering an environment where your brand, company or area of interest has an established dialogue. Which is not to say you can’t start, but to acknowledge the importance of not just bowling up and trying to start a conversation in a vacuum; find the relevant communities and engage with them in the areas of interest they have already established Obama’s social media activities: So let’s take a look at some of the best examples of Obama’s social media activities during his campaign to be elected President, and using the KUDOS framework see if we can determine how and why they worked so well: Social media can be used to meet many objectives, but we’re going to focus on how it can enable:  Donations to be made quickly easily and flexibly: helping candidates to raise money  Candidates to engage with their supporters and potential supporters; helping them to raise their profile and that of their positions, policies and platforms  Cheap and effective organisation: As candidates organise their supporters and the supporters organise themselves © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 6
  7. 7. So what are the strategies the Obama campaign used to leverage social media to achieve these no doubt desirable objectives?  Making your own social media tool  Making effective use of existing social media tools  Using social media to join in with existing conversations. Making Your Own Social Media Tool: The creation of (or, ‘MyBo’ as it became known) was inspired by the Obama campaign’s discovery that, quite independently of them, a MySpace page in support of Obama had registered some 250,000 members: Realising, as all brands should, that their supporters were already talking about them, the campaign decided to meet its supporters where they already were: online. So they created, a social networking site for supporters. Anyone could register for an account and, by the end of the campaign, more than 2 million people had. MyBarackObama had a very simple donation interface, like all the other candidates did. What was smart about MyBo was that when someone donated to Obama through MyBo, a full MyBo account page was created for them, moving the Obama supporter from ‘just’ donation to (potential) engagement with other supporters on the MyBo social network if they wanted. In contrast, for example, Hillary Clinton’s online donors had to create such opportunities for themselves by finding the functionality on her website. It wasn’t automatic and it wasn’t clearly sign-posted. MyBo actively encouraged engagement with the Obama brand by, for example, awarding members ‘points’ for hosting events, introducing friends, raising money, writing blog posts etc. The more points (i.e: the more engaged the supporter, the higher up the points league table they went; winning prizes etc.) MyBo provided supporters with a range of branded content and branded assets in order to further encourage this engagement: podcasts, blogs, posters, widgets, flickr and twitter feeds, wallpapers and even ring tones and iPhone apps. It allowed supporters to organise themselves for caucuses, door knocking campaigns, phonebanking and other volunteer activities. MyBo treated Obama supporters as involved members of the campaign, not as customers to be thanked and dismissed once they had ‘bought’ the product. © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 7
  8. 8. MyBo KUDOS analysis Supporters Score Obama Score K The branded content and 5 Voter, donor, volunteer data in 5 unprecedented detail assets, knowledge of other members U Helps them find likeminded and 5 Raise money, awareness, helps 5 organise events etc. organisation D Reward system, feel part of a 4 Other candidates have no 3 team competitive equivalent O Customisable, constant contact 2 Take feedback and input from 3 & ’access’ to the campaign supporters S Can invite friends etc. to join. 5 Spread message & request 3 organisation & help. Totals 21 19 How John McCain Failed to Match MyBo: It was all a bit of a wash. Nearly a year after the launch of MyBo, McCain launched McCainSpace, on which supporters could only donate money or raise money from others. On the original version of McCainSpace, there was just about zero functionality. Membership was not automatic but had to be approved (!) and often took days to register. And the KUDOS? McCainspace gave supporters no Knowledge that they did not already have, and so it was neither Useful nor Desirable to those supporters. The length of time it took to register stopped it being really Open. As to Shareable, well, you could forward links to friends, but with no KU to make it D to attract them, why would you bother? McCainSpace was an ‘out of the box’ social network which didn’t actually do anything for the brand, it was just a social network. It may have raised some money, but it did not raise awareness or advocacy. In contrast, the Obama team was always present on MyBo, always keeping up the conversation with their members – always being social with their social network. McCain was trying to reap the benefits of a social network, but without actually being social. It was a case of a brand having a social network for the sake of having a social network, which is never a good idea. To make the network tools work for the brand, the brand has to be social. Make Use of Existing Social Media; friendfeed and meetup While MyBO allowed the campaign to do a number of quite specific things that existing platforms didn’t – its not always necessary to invent or reinvent the wheel or the widget – so much development is going on in this space that if you have a requirement there’s more than likely an existing © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 8
  9. 9. platform that will answer your need or address an audience. There was basically no social media tool that the Obama campaign did not make use of – Flickr, Twitter, Myspace, facebook, blogging, podcasts, forums, etc etc. – which ran the simultaneous risk of information overload and of supporters worrying that they were missing something somewhere. Friendfeed is a tool that aggregates all of a users social media activities into one place – corralling links to your Flickr photos, blog posts etc. Using Friendfeed allowed the campaign to channel all its social media activity locations through one portal, which in turn allowed their supporters to follow as much or as little of the activities as they chose. Friendfeed KUDOS score Supporters Score Obama Score K Lets them know what Obama is 5 Is knowledge only the Obama 4 brand has up to, when, where. All the latest news. U They can use this to write their 5 Is useful to keep their followers as 5 uptodate as possible own blogs, go to rallies, hold meetings, etc. D Keeps them up-to-date in a 5 Makes them look on top of social 5 rapidly-changing political race media, keeps their message alive O Can decide which bits to follow 5 All the info all the time 5 and which not to S Share with friends if they so 5 Want supporters to share this with 5 wish. others Totals 25 24 MeetUp Meetup is a social networking site that enables users to organise offline meetings. The Obama team was hugely successful in using this during the primary season, particularly for caucusing organisation. It permitted supporters to organise themselves rather than be organised from the top down. It moves the engaged supporters once more from customers to members. The Obama brand moves from old-school top-down Customer Relations Management to new-style, social-media enabled Customer- Managed Relations (CRM to CMR). © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 9
  10. 10. Meetup KUDOS score Supporters Score Obama Score K Where’s the next meeting / 5 Times and locations of meetings 5 advertising my meeting U Don’t miss meetings, or attract 5 Get people to attend meetings 5 supporters to mine about Obama D Self organising 5 Better organised & in greater 5 numbers = votes O On their terms their own way 5 Obvious usage 5 S Pass the info on to friends 5 Sharing info again 5 Totals 25 25 Why Hillary Clinton’s Use of existing tools failed in comparison to Obama Hillary did have a blog, but in comparison to Obama, who updated 10-12 times a day with real, breaking news, Hillary’s blog only updated 3-4 times a day, often with ‘non-news’ about her giving a speech or being about to give a speech. There was little that was Useful or Desirable about the Knowledge on Hillary’s blog. Clinton’s Twitter usage was no better: As Chris at ‘Success Creations’ blog wrote: “A quick look at Twitter shows a lopsided tale as well. Hillary Clinton’s Twitter account has a paltry 958 followers, has only made 47 updates and is following absolutely no one!...Contrast that to Barack Obama’s Twitter account. It has 6661 followers, has made only 73 updates and is following 6793 other accounts. Granted his campaign isn’t using Twitter as effectively as it could. Even so he is doing better than his opponent.... In contrast the Clinton camp seems to have tacked a social media component onto their campaign almost as if it’s an afterthought. “Oh, yeah. We’ll need a blog too, I guess.” The Clinton Twitter account that is following 0 (zero) other Twitter users is symbolic of everything they are were wrong where social media is concerned. They weren’t even giving the appearance of listening to their constituency. This is the same problem that McCainSpace demonstrated: social media for the sake of being able to say ‘we’re doing social media’. There was no point in Hillary having a social media tool like Twitter if, by not listening, she was not actually being social with it. © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 10
  11. 11. Joining in Existing Conversations – A Tale of Two Williams William 1: video mashup The ‘Yes We Can’ video was a fan video made by a group of celebrities including the rapper from the Black Eyed Peas, Scarlet Johansson and lots of other stars too cool for me to recognise. When I last looked the main video that came up in the search results had 15.8M views and the next had 6M. It’s a remix of one of Obama’s speeches with the stars rapping and singing over the top of it. Copyright breaches? Omigod – you can just hear the lawyers getting all agitated. However instead of issuing cease and desists , the Obama campaign embraced this fantastic piece of fan / celebrity /mashup endorsement and reposted it on the MyBo web site, endorsing it and presenting it to a whole new audience. KUDOS analysis of the video Supporters Score Obama Score K No new knowledge – it repeated 2 Based on an Obama speech – it 5 an existing speech was genuine knowledge from the campaign U Enabled public (online) display 4 Media storm of positive publicity 5 of support by downloading it, embed in blog/facebook etc. D Celebs make it seem cool 5 Increased awareness of candidate 5 and cool image O Was genuine, unprompted and 5 Video made for free by the artists 5 enthusiastic. and then made available for free. S Hosted on YouTube it was 5 Downloadable from MyBo 5 easily forwarded to friends, linkable and embeddable Totals 21 25 William 2. William Ayers (and the Rev. Jeremiah Wright issue) Throughout the campaign Obama had to put into context a number of relationships he had with different characters from his past including William Ayres, a former radical and activist who was associated with Obama and his (now former) pastor and religious advisor, Jeffrey Wright. Wright has in the past said some unspeakably stupid things about the US and terrorism (especially given that he was being recorded) and so Obama was required to repudiate the man he once looked to for moral guidance. Imagine the British equivalent of such an event, we would likely see Gordon Brown on a Sunday morning talk show, perhaps, offering his apologies to a seasoned BBC hack, or some junior Tory shadow minister would find © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 11
  12. 12. themselves prostrate on the Today show, proffering quick soundbites. What we get with Obama, however, is a nice bit of KUDOS. Rather than go onto the Sunday talk shows to distance himself from the loopy Rev. Wright, Obama went to the Huffington Post, promptly producing a clearly written, fairly straight-up blog post explaining himself: and so Obama set in motion the KUDOS process. This is how: From the Obama brand’s point of view, the post is a piece of Knowledge (that Obama does not endorse Wright’s idiocy) which it is clearly Useful and Desirable for the brand to get out into their social network. Crucially, being a blog post, it is Open (to criticisms and acclaim in the comments section; currently there are an incredible 6,178 comments on the article) and Shareable, with 3,154 different pages linking to it: For members of the Obama brand’s social network, it is in Sharing the Knowledge of Obama’s repudiation which is Useful (in terms of counteracting attacks from the Clinton and McCain camps) and Desirable (in so far as it assuages their own concerns about Obama’s links to Wright). The Openness of the blog post, also means that members of the Obama brand’s social network can use it to promote their candidate Conclusions about the success of Obama’s social media activities What the Obama campaign did best was letting supporters feel and act like they were members of the organisation, not merely passive donors or voters. It’s important to note that what they did was crowdsourcing, NOT collective intelligence. The campaign sourced their support from the crowd, but didn’t allow the crowd to determine their polices. As Markos Moulitsas puts it: “They’ve made it very easy for people to hop on the band wagon, but those in the back of the wagon still get no say in where the wagon is going.” We can understand the success of Obama’s social media activities by using the KUDOS framework. Of course, we should not forget that Obama also used a lot of very traditional media activities (hundreds of millions of dollars spent on TV ads in swing states, phone banking, mailshots etc.). But there can be no doubt that in terms of raising money, promoting awareness, and fostering his organisation, his social media activities were central to his success as a candidate. One of the key reasons I believe that these activities were so successful is that the needs of Obama and those of his supporters were very closely aligned; Elect Obama as President. As brands it is worth thinking about what we are attempting to achieve through our social media activities – in doing so are our aims and those of © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 12
  13. 13. our audience as closely aligned as those of the Obama campaign, or are we erring on the side of our own interests in the way that the MacCain and Clinton campaigns did? 1.1 Squaring the Circle Social Media can serve to advance three of the primary objectives in politics, as we have seen; 1. Raise money 2. Raise awareness and engagement 3. Foster organisation At R*M we think we can learn lessons for brands from the Obama campaign and that social media can serve three analogous purposes for brands: 1. Increase sales 2. Raise awareness and engagement 3. Foster advocacy There is no doubt that social media is increasing in importance for brands who want to access the interests and passions of their customers. Hopefully what we have seen today will encourage you to venture into this world but with the interests of your audience at the forefront of your mind. We believe that using the KUDOS framework will help you to do just that and we’d welcome any feedback that you have on its application. © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 13
  14. 14. Useful links Ryan * MacMillan: Digital Training Company: Slideshare presentation: macmillan-obama-20-kudos-analysis-presentation Links referred to in this presentation: About the speaker Leo is a director of Ryan*MacMillan and responsible for our growing the business and our client relationships. He started his life in digital in 1996 working in agencies in New York. He returned to Sydney as one of the Directors of Hannan Interactive Publishing (IPMG), taking one of Australia's largest publishing companies online and has been in London since 2002 working in agencies with Levi's. Sony CE, MTV and Diageo. He is a member of the IAB's Social Media Council and sits on the board of the National Gallery Company. An initial training as an architect has left him with an abiding interest in the ways that form converges function with but unsure that ornament is necessarily crime. Please get in touch via email or mobile 44 7946 603 981 or Skype: leoryan0707 About Ryan*MacMillan Ryan*MacMillan is a social media agency. We help brands take advantage of the opportunities social media presents. We do this by planning, creating, managing and measuring social media activity that connects brands with audiences. We are headquartered in London with a team that covers North America and Japan. Since we launched in 2007 we have worked with clients including BBC Worldwide, Discovery Networks, Diageo, Cap Gemini and Sony Europe. Read more on our blog: © 2008 Ryan*MacMillan Ltd 14