Old Technology And New Brand Masters
Mark is very enthusiastic about his role in the campaign and is a huge proponent of crowd sourcing, widgets, Twitter, Facebook and every other cutting-edge, latest and greatest tool, technique and toy that's out there. But he gives the majority of the communication credit to an old tool that I consider the wave of the future: email.
Yeah, boring, isn't it? The online campaign ran on email blasts sent out by (OK, on behalf of) Barack, Michelle and a handful of top-level advisors. They used email to drive every message and push every sound bite to link up millions of people behind a single cause.
This is not to ignore the amazing work done by the Web site team nor the untold hours put in by the banner ad folks, etc. But for getting out the vote, motivating the volunteers and bringing in the donations, email was the killer ap.
Email is fast, efficient, cheap -- and even though I was told by one tween that she only used it to talk to old people, it's ubiquitous. Everybody's got email. It's absurdly reliable; it just plain works. It also lets the campaign focus on the message instead of the media. And that's where my "wave of the future" comes in: managing the message.
In his keynote presentation at eMetrics, Skidmore said they were thrilled that people took the logo and made it their own. It would be too hard to organize a barn painting program, but if you let the artwork free, anything can happen.
While turning the creative loose for use by the multitudes, the results felt unified. Newsweek pointed out that "Obama's marketing is much more cohesive and comprehensive than anything we've seen before, involving fonts, logos and web design in a way that transcends the mere appropriation of commercial tactics to achieve the sort of seamless brand identity that the most up-to-date companies strive for."
A throwaway line in Skidmore's speech has stuck with me for months and I think it's the way forward for all of us. I think I have believed this since I saw my first Web site (Sun Microsystems, 1993) but have never said it out loud due to its sheer audacity. Skidmore said they were able to accomplish such a consistent look and feel across all media, at light speed, by all concerned, because digital owned the brand.
I can feel "Mad Men" everywhere now wanting my guts for garters.
I do not think marketing should run the company, but I do believe digital should own the brand. Digital is better able to compare, test, measure, segment, target, disseminate and adjust a brand identity than any other discipline in the company.
Sacrilege? Certainly. But mark my words -- it's the way forward for all of us.