You Can’t Emulate A Successful Strategy By Emulating The Tactics

April 8, 2010

The main UK political parties boggle my mind. With access to the brightest minds, and with big wallets, they still seem to think that their future depends on copying as much of President Barack Obama’s winning strategy as possible.

But it doesn’t work like that.

You can’t just start emphasising the word ‘Change’, or mimic his oration style, or – as I’ll get to shortly – decide that you suddenly want to start ‘engaging with social media’.

Barack Obama had a great story. People bought into that story, and it empowered them to discuss him and support him at every opportunity.

What story do our candidates have? Three wholly-British, middle-aged, white, privileged men who went to the best schools and universities and entered politics fairly early in their careers.

Your story doesn’t have to be about your background, though. You could create your own story by acting differently, suggesting something radical and honest. But no – every candidate speaks the same and promises (basically) the same thing.

And social media? You all just missed out on the biggest opportunity.

The way to ‘engage’ with ‘social media’ is NOT to set up a cynical broadcast Twitter stream that pretends that they ‘want to hear from you’. Or to set up a Facebook page. Or hold a user-generated content competition.

What you SHOULD have done is given the influential people online a reason to talk about you. To do your job for you.

What you SHOULD have done is to ensure that the majority of your MPs vocally opposed and voted against the Digital Economy Bill. Rather than spending millions on social media content and campaigns, this one act would have given you more good-will and online karma (‘whuffie’) than anything else you can now do.

But you blew it. So, carry on with your social media charade. We now all know that none of the parties really care about the online audience. So just go ahead and waste your money.

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