There have been a lot of editorials, online, tv, and print, on the success of Obama’s usage of social media to build momentum, raise awareness, raise money, and ultimately win his presidential campaign. I believe his campaign was deep/faceted and requires a book-length study to sort out the details.
My local friend/competitor Duncan Alney weighed in on the social media aspect in his blog post recently and sought my comments. Below are my 2 cents:
The Obama campaign was a classical painting, relying on tightly crafting each layer so the following one would have a strong foundation.
The stretchers, linen, nails were all top quality, meant to last centuries. The preparation too. The paints, brushes, all very specific in their function and usage based on years of training. By the time the artist begins to put pigment on the surface the canvas itself is beautiful, something not lost on the artist, it propels the artist forward with a reverence for the medium, the history, and the purpose of image-making.
This inherent quality in each step provides ample resiliency to attract different facets of a diverse audience. Those that prefer craft can admire the process, those that seek color can bask in the glow, those yearning for content find that front and center.
Using the logo-branding as an example, 2 points:
1. These images are based on a history of poster-making, of icon-branding. There are so many references.
2. One popular image was drafted by Shephard Fairey (the modestly famous creator of the OBEY stickers which like Kudzu is found almost everywhere and was anywhere a surface existed). Some folks who knew this facet and saw the added dimension.
We can point out the surface level examples of how the campaign “worked” (a local biz is putting on a paid seminar on how the lessons of the Obama campaign can add to your bottom line. Though I think it’s not as much about your bottom line as about having the courage to build “anything” from the ground up).
I think the essence of the lesson points to classical “patience” in the process; crafting each layer as tight as possible. When the painting is complete it sings to a wide audience on many deep levels.