The old saw attributed to former House Speaker, Tip O’Neill that “all politics is local” may be in need of a refresh. After the 2008 presidential election, you could argue that all politics is social and we might attribute some of that shift to Jonathan Kopp, Ketchum’s new Global Director for Ketchum Digital.
Jonathan would know. As a partner for SS+K, he served on Barack Obama’s national media team and was tasked with reaching and registering 18-34 year old voters. Last night in San Francisco, Access co-hosted with Ketchum a conversation with Jonathan on lessons corporate marketers could learn from the campaign. Jonathan outlined four strategic imperatives the campaign used to engage this target audience and change the rules of the game:
When it comes to political campaigns, Obama changed the rules of engagement and Kopp believes that the Obama campaign can provide many lessons to brand marketers. “Let the game come to you and don’t over-push the brand,” recommended Kopp who claims that in as much as Gen-Yers want to discover and share, it is important to start small and “avoid doing an open mic with the biggest megaphone”.
In addition to discovering the message, consumers, especially younger audiences, want to personally relate to the message and that means that they want to feel that they were involved in the evolution of the message. They want to hear their words, in their voice and in their medium of choice. Many of the most powerful headlines that fueled the Obama campaign marketing came from the users. Of course the market at large has learned the power of user generated content, and Obama is the first politician who truly empowered the youth demographic to register, act and vote.
As social networking has overtaken email as the internet activity used most, brand owners may be concerned about the shift in power to the consumer, but Kopp believes successful marketing lies in giving consumers the tools they need to have conversations about their brands and let those conversations happen without interruption. Kopp pointed out that there is a lot of power in letting go and embracing the distributed power of the consumers (or in the case of Obama, the voters), but it requires a shift in thinking, and dare I say, some hope and change?
- Susan Butenhoff