Regardless of how you feel about the election results, one thing is clear: The power of a grassroots movement is undeniable.
The 2008 Presidential election captured the hearts and minds of people like no other in recent history. One friend in California traveled for hours to neighboring Nevada with her husband and two young children to canvas for Obama. A woman I met this weekend drove from Connecticut to Pennsylvania to spread the word. In Scranton, she was directed to three different locations until she found one that could use her help -- because the area was overloaded with volunteers.
When people feel an emotional attachment to an issue - or a company, or a product - they will go to great lengths to help it succeed. We can take important lessons from the Obama campaign when it comes to building a grassroots groundswell.
Consistent Message: In the end, Obama's message of hope and change was consistent and authentic, and strong enough to galvanize a nation.
Bold Strategy: In an article in Monday's The New York Times, reporter Adam Nagourney wrote that the 2008 race for the White House "has rewritten the rules on how to reach voters, raise money, organize supporters, manage the news media, track and mold public opinion, and wage — and withstand — political attacks, including many carried by blogs that did not exist four years ago." It's easy to stick with the tried and true but the Obama team rethought campaign tactics from harnessing the Internet to communicate and raise money (a strategy pioneered by Howard Dean) to recruiting volunteers as ambassadors for the campaign.
Discipline: In any campaign (marketing or presidential), setbacks are part of the process. The discipline comes from knowing how to react to them. Do you rewrite your strategy every time you hit a hiccup? Are you so in love with your direction that you won't stray? Or do you stay flexible and nimble, recalibrating as needed like the Obama team? Many say Obama ran a near flawless campaign. I'd say he ran a disciplined one that looked honestly at what was working and not working along the way, making intelligent adjustments that ultimately led to victory.