This years election is fascinating, the internet and especially social media has allowed people to connect with their candidates like never before. It started with the amazing connection many people felt with the old man out of Texas, Ron Paul, and then transitioned to other candidates.
Social media has allowed voters to feel a personal connection to their candidates, and has allowed the candidates to customize their message to reach specific demographics.
Obama did not personally connect with people online, but instead he encouraged his supporters to connect together and form a strong online community. He allowed voters to find other people like themselves that were voting for Obama, and talk and develop an online connection. 9 out of 10 people I follow on Twitter have been telling me to vote for Obama and reasons why. I have never met most of these people, but I trust them with other advice, why would I not trust them with political advice? Especially when their reasons for voting for Obama are targeted to the online geek demographic I fit into?
Obama is capitalizing on, online word of mouth. He has even segmented his supporters into groups. Look at his website, under the people header. There anyone can find a group to associate with, whether it is a Christian group, Arab Group, Latin American group, etc. Instead of trying to be one brand for everyone, Obama has segmented his brand and tweaked it for each of these groups.
He is very generic with his mass media message and somewhat unclear, but then when targeting these small groups he has customized his message to appeal to them. This would have been impossible to do with traditional media.
Each group of supporters has made the Obama brand their own. Geeks love him for one thing and that is what he talks about to them, and Labor loves him for other reasons and he talks to them about that.
In some ways Obama has let his supporters take over the Obama Brand. They have made it their own, and have developed a strong connection with their views of who Obama is.
Could this backlash once he is President, and he has to make decisions that alienate groups of his followers? Probably, but I am sure he will once again engage the community, and talk to them online in a personal direct manner that appeals to their interest to minimizes the backlash.
It is an amazing strategy, and something political advisors will be studying for years to com