David Hargreaves

Reflections on the reinvention of the PR industry

The Lessons We Learnt

I know it is old hat now but I do genuinely think that there are some real lessons that brands (and agencies) can learn from Obama’s presidential campaign. There has been so much written about it, but I just wanted to distill it into five key things which I believe are THE most important (plus one I don’t know about):

  1. It’s the people stupid: Obvious but true. Obama took advice from Eric  Schmidt, Craig Newark, Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes among others and had ten times more staff dedicated to online compared to the McCain campaign team.
  2. You need a content hub: Every social media campaign needs a centre through which to drive and interact with channel advocates. Obama had my.barackobama.com. At Bite we call it a social object.
  3. Content needs to be found: You can create as much content as you like but if no-one looks at it, what’s the point? The Obama campaign understood that only one third of Americans know the difference between natural search and PPC. They also understood the importance of making sure that your content appears alongside searches that yield competitive content.
  4. Social media isn’t an add on: I’ll say that again. Social media isn’t an add on. It is just as important to integrate social media with traditional channels as it is to integrate social media channels with each other. Why on earth do some agencies either only do social media or think that setting up a separate company to do it is the right thing to do?
  5. Empower your fans: Successful social media campaigns don’t just create content but empower advocates to create it for you. Obama did this spectacularly well by empowering superusers on my.barackobama.com
  6. PR that can be measured: for the first time ever the internet has made PR accountable through direct measurement of our actions. I don’t know how they used analytics to fine tune their campaign but they seem to have done everything else so I am sure they did!

I am sure there are lots of other lessons that we can take away from the Obama campaign but I think if we as an agency can deliver campaigns that reinforce these learnings, we will continue to be successful on behalf of our clients.

Filed under: Public Relations, Social Media, , , ,

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