SELL­ING A PRES­I­DENT

Finweek English Edition - - Communication & Technology -

SO THE POLL­STERS got it right, suc­cess­fully pre­dict­ing an Obama victory. The fi­nal mar­gin was 5,6 per­cent­age points – very close to what the opin­ion polls in­di­cated. And a more pro­gres­sive elec­torate than in the past didn’t lie to the poll­tak­ers, as many feared they would, or change their minds when faced with the task of ac­tu­ally vot­ing for an African-Amer­i­can.

Barack Obama knew that was a dan­ger, which was why he kept ham­mer­ing away at his fol­low­ers not to be­come com­pla­cent. He needed that seven-point cush­ion.

He was helped by one of the most pow­er­ful po­lit­i­cal slo­gans in re­cent years: “Yes, we can.” Funny how three sim­ple words can ac­quire an aura be­yond rea­son. It is, of course, also a pow­er­ful brand­ing slo­gan, like “Just do it”, “Im­pos­si­ble is noth­ing” or “We try harder”.

In­deed, Obama’s en­tire cam­paign was a fan­tas­tic ex­am­ple of out­stand­ing mar­ket­ing. His strate­gic key po­si­tion­ing word – “change” – was bet­ter than McCain’s, which kept shift­ing, as he was de­picted as a con­ser­va­tive, war hero, mav­er­ick straight talker. In the end, as Obama stuck to his phi­los­o­phy of change, McCain was forced to adopt a re­spon­sive stand, in which he promised to do change bet­ter than Obama.

Obama also used the new me­dia – on­line and mo­bile – ef­fec­tively, while McCain seemed un­able to com­pre­hend them, rather like the tra­di­tional fa­ther who has to ask his 10-year-old son to send an SMS.

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