Thursday, July 16, 2009

The Art of the Possible: Strategies for Achieving the Phenomenal

David Plouffe, Campaign Manager, Obama’s Presidential Campaign 2008

David discusses how using grass roots organizations and online campaigns can make the impossible happen. Changing over time, they created websites and utilized social networks to raise money – and they did, in the billions. Also, the Obama campaign used grass roots to organize—they changed the elective. Using online and grassroots instilled in younger votes, also having a candidate who appealed to the younger population helped, too. Utilizing community involvement was critical but this involvement came from friends/family of individuals to spread like wildfire for the Obama campaign.

Volunteers organized themselves using,, allowing the movement to expand in ways that campaign couldn’t imagine. These volunteers, who were organizing themselves, contacted the campaign headquarters as they demanded information, data, etc to enhance their efforts.

In turn, campaign headquarters was able to feed videos and information directly to the volunteers and to the people interested and supportive of the campaign. By using videos online, they were able to create their own television station.
“When you talk about politics, people tune you out.” But during their campaign, 50% of their supporters/volunteers had never been involved in politics before, which proved to be an advantage to the campaign as people started listening to those who were passionate about Obama—not about politics.

What the campaign used primarily was very “old school” visual tactics. The campaign did not utilize Twitter as it was not yet popular, nor did they use texting. The technology was not yet there to connect with individuals on that platform. The issue came to make a home for all of the information that volunteers and supporters would need.
However, they announced Joe Biden’s appointment as VP pick via text.

People should get information direct to them; it makes it valid and more authentic. In our businesses, we should work to connect with shoppers and with our employees on a direct and authentic manner to build up a solid relationship and achieve growth.
98% percent of organizations out there do too little communication to employees and clients about changes to the company and it’s important, again, to achieve authenticity and ensure a solid foundation for future growth.

You don’t want people spending time during their day, worrying about direction and strategy. You have to be clear and communicative about strategy, doing so allows members of the organization to feel secure in their position so that they can do their job effectively. Communication is key, on all levels, for a company’s growth.

If you are trying to empower people, they have to understand how important they are to the achievement of the company/brand. Because the Obama campaign relied so heavily on volunteers, it was integral that they encourage and empower people on a personal level.
Anytime that the campaign did not follow a “traditional playbook on how to win the Presidency” in the USA, they succeeded. Go against the grain, the status quo and be confident in making these changes—doing so can mean success. This does not mean that it’s important to be needlessly risky but every time that the campaign became stagnate, failure followed. It’s important to have a daily briefing on trajectory to ensure that the strategy stays the same.

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