Obama campaign learnings by Rahaf Harfoush

Rahaf Harfoush heard Will.I.Am’s call Yes We Can and decided to join the Obama campaign at Chicago HQ. Now Rahaf is no ordinary door-knocker. She is a Gen-Y social media maven, consultant and frequent collaborator with Don Tapscott, including on Wikinomics and Grown Up Digital.  So now that everybody and their brother is looking to the groundbreaking Obama campaign for insight, Rahaf is a close-to-the-frontlines voice you need to pay attention to.

Her excellent presentation is online at her blog. Video is online at the Rotman site, including an intro by Alexander Manu, formerly of the Beal Institute and currently professor of Business Design at Rotman. I’m embedding the slides here:

Great story and insights. Most important insight for me was that the social media tools worked because the underlying strategy and philosophy of the campaign was itself new, different and consistent with those tools:

  1. The 50-state strategy
  2. Targeting the “disaffected center”
  3. Small donor focus

Social media isn’t a set of tactics, it is an orientation and philosophy and needs to integrate a focused brand and clear compelling message together with an inclusive and adaptable approach as well as an organization that is culturally ready to live those principles.

Strategy, message, culture. As powerful as these technologies are, it is the subtleties of their use and the human behaviours they enable that is the key to unlocking their value.