Monday, January 19, 2009
Obama Community Post-Win, Now That He's Moved In
By Kendall Allen Tomorrow, Obama is sworn in. This week, this single, extraordinary thing is all I need to know.
As he steps up, in a sense, a mega-brand activates. Your particular politics aside, we must all agree that Obama encompasses much and that the stakes are high. How he now makes it happen is the stuff of unprecedented living history.
Up until today, as media mavens and consumer marketers, we have applauded his steady message, his knack for context, and ability to resonate and galvanize community. And then there was the mighty conversion to change. How did he do that? Blink of an eye, and the brand literally embodied us.
We've all had hours of conversation on the political and historical context for this moment in time. As well, we have delved into the message, the content, and how and why it resonates. We are enthralled, no matter where we stand. But, what about this community phenomenon?
We have been hearing about "Obama for America II" for a while, and for a moment it seemed unclear what would or could come next, especially once the race was won. Truly, at this launch, and even with my own personal exhilaration -- as a consumer marketer, I am especially interested in "Organizing for America." This just-announced program represents the next true stage of Obama's original lauded grassroots community effort -- much of which was implemented through digital strategies and tactics.
During the campaign, a crowd grew as many were transported from apathy to action. A cross-media play, the digital platform and very specific digital methods enabled this wave. Through digital, the Obama team stayed quick on their feet on reputation management, reached us through our favorite social and rich media, and actively queried and enrolled us at every turn. Even I, who have long stayed Independent due to my blend of beliefs, was on the phone making calls to battleground states up through election night -- before work, after the gym, on the fly and when I could. I'd never done that before. And having done so once, I would never say never again.
As Barack gives up his BlackBerry, and we mull the next stage for his community -- I am eager for the details. Beyond sparking the dialogue and getting out the vote, the Obama team plans to involve the people of the movement in core themes: the economy, better healthcare, policies abroad and in Iraq, and more. How will this level of community engagement by the President work, now that he is in office? Forget privacy, access, and other loftier concerns for a moment. Quite seriously -- what are the methods and mechanics of this, as it activates in communications channels, digital and otherwise? I am intrigued.
The relationship development so skillfully implemented through integrated digital programming and media during the campaign was one thing. And impressive on every level. But, as those of us who might participate are segmented by both levels and focus of involvement, it will be a whole new play. And, as with all the best segmentation strategies at the hand of experts, it will refine and improve over time. I certainly look forward to watching this unfold, if not to participating in some way.
But tomorrow, hats off, I plan to sit very still -- and experience a singular moment.
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Kendall Allen is senior vice president of Digital Marketing Services at MKTG, headquartered in New York City. Previously she was managing director of Incognito Digital, LLC, an independent digital media agency and creative studio. She also held top posts at iCrossing and Fathom Online.
Online Spin for Monday, January 19, 2009: