I’m old enough to have grown up in the 1960’s, which was a “you-had-to-be-there” era of civic thinking and electrifying ideas. Not since that time have I found myself as excited as I am now over the upcoming presidential election.
I’ve been making donations to all of the major campaigns (Democratic and Republican) in order to see how each system works and talks to me, and while none of them do a bad job, there’s a definite divide between how the older and younger candidates communicate. The standout in the group is Barack Obama.
You may feel that Barack is not your candidate, but do take a look at his communication style, which is the definitive example for how to speak to customers (especially the younger generation) if you hope to do business with them.
No chest-thumping allowed. While other candidates focus on what makes them special as a candidate (count how many times a candidate uses the word “I” or “me” on their website), Barack’s campaign theme is “Yes We Can.” His website offers the theme of community, and uses terms like “you,” “we,” and “us” to draw you into the fold.
It’s all about US. When making a donation to the campaign, you are asked to write a short note about your feelings about Barack, the campaign, or anything you wish. Then, when you receive your thank-you note, it includes a message that another donor wrote (along with their first name and city). Suddenly, you are no longer a lone, isolated donor; you feel an immediate sense of community, belonging, and mission.
“Please, call me Barack.” As with any campaign, automatic emails and news items are sent to members and donors. The language used is serious in tone but not condescending. And each email is signed, “Barack.” Not “Barack Obama.” Not “The Barack Obama Campaign.” Just “Barack.” A decision as small as how you sign your name to a piece of marketing (because that’s what this is, after all), can make a world of difference.
After last weekend’s Barack Obama rally in California, an editorial in The New York Times said,
“The Times editorial board has endorsed Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy, and we are enthusiastic about her ability to be a great president. But candidates have to win in order to serve. Attending the rally here, we hoped Mrs. Clinton and her team were also watching and listening, very attentively.”
Not only should Clinton (and McCain and Romney) be paying attention, so should you. This is the communication style of the future.
Are you ready for change?