Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on June 04, 2008
There are many reasons why Hillary Clinton lost the Democratic Party nomination to Barack Obama but perhaps the most important is that the Obama campaign’s use of modern principles in design thinking and web social networking was superior to Hillary’s traditional approach of marketing metrics and personal networking.
There are important lessons here not only to people in politics but to managers in business. The new is defeating the old.
Lesson #1— New digital networking is better than old personal networking. Obama raised more money from more people using the net than Clinton raised using lunches and dinners. His digital network was far larger, younger and more middle class. Her personal network was much smaller, older and richer. He used twitter to great effect. She uses twitter but to little effect. Jason Oke points out on his blog that on twitter, Obama his campaign offers to follow you once you sign up. He has 33,000 people signed up—and follows 33,000 people. Hillary’s twitter site does not follow people when they sign up and has only 4,000 people on it. As Oke puts it, Obama has a different—and better-grammar of social media.
Lesson #2— Voter experience is more important than marketing metrics. Obama’s campaign, especially his speeches, was designed to evoke powerful emotional responses of hope and change from primary voters. There was strong bonding and loyalty between Obama and his organization and voters. Hillary succeeded in doing this with older Boomer women, but not with other voters. She relied on polling research and marketing and metrics to guide her campaign, offering programs of help to dozens of slices of voters. It was transactional—something for each and every segment. In the end, emotional bonding trumped transactional promises. Designing a better voter experience was more important than numbers generated by market/polling research.
Lesson #3- Gen X is more powerful and imporant than the Boomer generation. Hard as it may be to accept for the dominant and dominating demographic, the boomers, it's influence in society is waning. The even larger (by a smidgen) Gen X generation, with its own net-centric ways of organizing and communicating, is starting to take control of US society. The message to politicians and managers alike is simple: Don't play old King Canute and stand on the shore telling the tide not to come in. The Gen X tide is inevitable and overwhelming.
Brian Collins, a great branding guru, sends in a link to an interview he did with ABC News on the different typefaces the three candidates chose in the primary campaigns. Obama chose a modern typeface invented in the last five years. Clinton goes with a more traditional one.
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