We all know that Barack Obama’s presidential election campaign was a success and in fact many people claim that they were the “brain behind the campaign.” I finally got to listen to the originally brain behind the campaign, David Plouffe, the legendary Campaign Manager for Barack Obama. As David held his lecture at Cannes Lions the room was full of media and around 1000 people who attended the lecture. David’s speech was as remarkable as his work.
Here are some of David Plouffe’s best points in his lecture:
“The grassroots and technology married together.”
“It was the connection between millions of americans and Barack Obama that built the camping.”
“There is nothing more valuable than people talking with people.”
A point that David should have delivered but didn’t:
John F. Kennedy said: “Fellow Americans, ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your country.” David should have said: “What can 10 million connected Americans do for the world?”
Why Barack Obama will not be re-elected as president
My first question was this: The campaign was great with the grassroots that you created with the 10 million Americans who signed up to get involved. But they have now grown into a forest of changes. How are you going to use this forest that now is demanding changes? David said, we are going to keep talking directly with them and get them involved in the dialogue. My next question: well, thats good but it’s still only talk. Isn’t it time to go from talk to walk the changes? David did not answer that good, but he leaned over the stage to have a look at the person who is asking these kind of questions. I have great respect for what he has achieved so I stopped there. David continued to say something more about talking, but I still think its about doing the walking. Why? Because if you talk about changes and people signed up for “Yes we can change,” then they are expecting and waiting for the changes to happen. And if the changes don’t come they will not re-elect Barack Obama in the next upcoming president election, and four years goes very fast.
How Barack Obama could be re-elected as president
I understand that the political machinery is full of lies and that people are bound to a legal system created by lobbyists. In that kind of context it is not easy to create any kind of change that is more than a political lipstick and Barack Obama doesn’t use lipstick. A good marketer as David knows that we today live in an transparent society. That was one of the reason he could build up the presidential campaign with social media and get the truth out to the people. But transparency goes both ways, the voters are now looking for the changes that they have voted for.
Here is my solution: Stop talking about changes, stop talking about excuses for why change can’t happen. Start walking hand in hand with the 10 million Americans who signed up for change to happen. It has never happen before that a president has direct connection with 10 million people who sign up for spreading the word. Give them a list of 1000 things to change (let at least half of the list be their own suggestions). None of the changes should be based on any more talking, instead start walking in a direction.
Use the fantastic campaign strategy to get people involved. Give them a story that will make them see themselves as a part of the White House. Base the story on the true story: today’s politic is so infected of lies that it is impossible to create any real changes inside the system, therefore we need YOU to be part of the system by doing the right thing for your country. Don´t ask what America can do for you ask what can 10 million connected Americans do for the world? Don´t spread the world, be the world by walking the talk to change! Yes we are changing the system by being the system!
Fellow Americans, ask what your 10 million connected Americans do for the world?
I do understand that David did not have the time to think about his answer and that he never could believe that anybody would question him at this stage of his success, but it is a short matter of time before media is starting to ask “What did they change?” And then it is a to late if expected changes are not delivered. Some Americans that I talked with afterwards said that David is soon going to start work with the re-election campaign for Barack. I hope it is not to late and that he uses his successful of social media to create change step by step on the walk to real changes and not more talk.