Tuesday, December 29, 2009
Audacity to Win
During this holiday break, I read "Audacity to Win" by President Obama's Campaign Manager David Plouffe. Whether you are a Blue Dog or Gingrich Republican, I recommend this book to any public relations professional (I saw it today for half-off at Barnes and Noble). Not only is it a well documented history of the 2008 Campaign, with insider views and frank discussions about what actually went on behind the scenes, but it is a blue print for how we, as PR professionals, can create memorable campaigns for our clients.
Plouffe and then-candidate Barack Obama did not just run a campaign, they created a movement. They did not follow the typical guidebook that comes with running for President, they set their own rules. They built a grassroots movement by talking to people and taking there message person-to-person, block-by-block, town-by-town. They started a dialogue, absorbed their ideas, developed a message and shared it. People wanted to do something for Barack Obama and the Obama Campaign had plenty for them to do. You could volunteer in a campaign office, go to a battleground state, raise money online, or join the discussion on-line.
The volunteers came because they were interested. That interest turned into action, then to passion. And throughout their involvement, not matter at what level, they felt a part of that movement -- Making President Obama's victory, was their victory.
Following the election, the President kept and continues to keep that movement alive, through Organizing for America (OFA), now run through the Democratic National Committee (DNC).
In the book, Plouffe tells us that "in politics your two main pillars are message and electoral strategy." The message is what the candidate offers voters in terms of vision, issues and biography. Plouffe tells us that you can adjust the tactics, but never deviate from your core message and strategy -- Have one slogan, and stick to it. Make decisions based on strategy and have a clear road map to know what is important, and commit to that map.
Plouffe also tells us that technology should also be the core of the campaign from day one. Use social media to raise money, move the message and organize. Create lists and sublists to keep key groups in the loop and a part of the campaign.
Important lessons for how we can help our clients create movements. A good book, a great read and important lessons for us all to know.