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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

This is not a political article. Ant it isn't an article about who will win the race for the White House during this year's presidential election. Nor is this an article about political policy, polling data or even hot-button social issues.  Rather, this is a post about what the campaigns can teach marketers. No one has done more marketing in the last few months then Governor Romney and President Obama. We should definitely be learning something from their campaigns.

The Presidential election is less than a week away. The time for Americans to choose their leader is nearly at hand. The campaigns have churned out well over $1B worth of advertisements, videos, content and branding. They have pounded each other, lauded their owned accomplishments, and pandered to the American people. After this sprint of a campaign, the candidates can now see the finish line. They are sprinting down the homestretch in an effort to be hired for the most powerful job in the world.
What can we take from their organizations to help ours?

1) Great Video
Have you seen the biographic videos produced by the campaigns? If you haven't, here is Governor Romney’s and here is President Obama’s.  They are both extraordinarily well done.
Also well done are the campaigns’ negative ads.

And, whether or not you like all the negative campaign ads isn't the point. Studies show that most people don't like negative campaign ads. However, those ads do help win elections. The reason we see them so frequently is because they work. And, incidentally, they are becoming more common, not less.
The bottom line is this: the ads are well done from a storytelling and video perspective. They pack a ton of info into a 30 second spot. They are shot well, narrated appropriately, and are generally very 'slick' and professional looking. They don't hire amateurs to do their work. And they have expert copywriters producing the content.

What to do
Now, you certainly can’t afford to spend money like the Presidential campaigns. However, you can produce well thought out scripts, high quality footage, and even decent narration, on a shoestring.

2) Branding and Recognition
You have, no doubt, seen the Obama campaign's sunrise logo or the big letter 'R' that denotes the Romney campaign. Both of these images have gained immediate mindshare. They are beautiful looking logos and convey what the campaign is about.

More importantly, perhaps, the campaigns have maintained brand consistency. Many companies struggle with this, swinging wildly from one branding concept to another. While the candidates may verbally swing back and forth and remain inconsistent on the campaign trail, their branding has remained constant. Everything from the taglines, to the logos, to the visuals has been choreographed beautifully.

What to do
Get your branding figured out right now.  Some companies waste valuable time and resources either unsure of their branding, or branding incorrectly. How do you know if you're doing it wrong? Well, here are a couple of questions to ask yourself to determine if your branding is clear:
-- If your customers were asked what your tagline is, could they tell you?
-- If your employees were asked to draw your logo, could they do it?
--Can any employee explain what your company does AND why you do it better than anyone else in 10 – 15 seconds?
--Are you branding consistently?

3) Social Media
The campaigns don’t just post stuff to their respective Twitter accounts and hope people will read it. Rather, they actually engage with their social media audience. Both candidates have hosted Google+ Hangout sessions. Both tweet regularly. Both post images and video. Both have their immediate families and supporters use social media regularly.

Are the people closest to you—or even all your employee—using social media to spread the good word about your company?

The Obama campaign set new standards for social media marketing in 2008. And both campaigns are doing a great job this year. The Obama campaign clearly had a built in social media engagement advantage coming into the race. But the Romney campaign has sought to mitigate that advantage. Both campaigns understand how critical social media marketing is. They seek to trend on Twitter, accrue 'Likes' on Facebook, and +1s on their websites.

This should be a valuable lesson for marketers everywhere.

What to do
I am always stunned by how reluctant employees are about getting involved in the social media efforts of the company they work for. Companies like Hubspot and Marketo have 20 to 25 employees on Twitter. They tweet regularly, build their own brand constantly, and grow followers daily. These companies get it. We’re still working on it at LogMyCalls. Other companies struggle to get anyone outside of the marketing department to even post company-related things on their Facebook pages or create a Twitter account.

To remedy this executives at some companies go so far as to ask prospective employees during the interview process—for any position—if they are comfortable having various social media accounts and sharing content on social media. 


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