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The Latest From “Bear In The Woods”

Saturday, January 31, 2009  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

The 25 Random Things Michael Steel and the New GOP Leadership Should Know, from my favorite ad exec who must remain anonymous because the business is so left-wing:

1. Creating messages that move people to action begins with an understanding of the people you want to move.
2. You cannot control the message. You can only tell your side, and hope to influence the general consensus.[# More #]
3. Popular culture is, far and away, more powerful than political rhetoric.
4. Popular culture can be created. But only with success by those who understand its nature. And even then, it is equal parts art, science, and chance.
5. People no longer interact with products (or causes) on the basis of top-down information. Communication is omnidirectional, and the world is flat.
6. You can’t force anyone to listen. You can only work hard to get them to like and trust you. When they do that, they begin to listen, but only on their own terms.
7. They don’t just listen. They talk, too. Which means you must listen, if you want to keep interacting with them.
8. Playing catch-up in the digital world is difficult. And because the digital world changes every minute, it’s a perpetual process.
9. Naive misuse of social media is exactly the same as ignorant misbehavior in real-life social settings, and it comes with the same consequences.
10. Social media is a real-life social setting.
11. There is no on-line and off-line anymore. It’s all connected. If you don’t understand it all, you don’t understand it at all.
12. Successful creation of an online communications campaign depends more on the creativity of the campaign than the technology. It’s the same as traditional communication. You don’t think “That’s a great billboard,” because of where the billboard is, or how it’s constructed. You think “That’s a great billboard,” because of the idea and execution.
13. Technology is a tool – a delivery mechanism. In the hands of a technologist, it’s an efficient machine. In the hands of an artist, it’s a powerful canvas. Lots of people understand the internet. Very few people can create a movement on it.
14. People don’t interact with websites or Twitter, or Facebook. People interact with people. They use those things to help them do it.
15. People don’t act on need. People act on want.
16. Public service is noble. But politics is a business. You’re selling a product. The product is an idea or a candidate. Marketed properly, any product will sell. A good product will sell more. A bad product will not see many repeat customers.
17. You need to understand technology. But more than that, you need to understand the market. Because technology has created a vast cultural shift in that market. Just learning the technology won’t teach you the shift.
18. Embracing the wishes of everyone, and crafting a message by consensus, guarantees mediocrity.
19. Before you take a message public, run it by your 16-year-old daughter. Not because she won’t understand, and you might need to dumb it down for the masses — but because she’s smarter and cooler than you, and you might need to listen to her suggestions.
20. Richard Nixon lost to the “first TV President.” But it wasn’t TV that did it. Kennedy presented a better image than Nixon in real life, too. Nixon lost to well-crafted (for its day) pop culture in the form of a candidate. And because he had no understanding of that, he had no real defense.
21. John McCain. See item 20.
22. It is a popularity contest.
23. Item 22 is unfortunate, and shouldn’t be, and everything you’re thinking. But it is what is, and you can’t change that. The only option is to win the popularity contest with someone who also embodies and embraces the ideals we believe in.
24. This list is just the beginning of the things you should know. It, like the communications landscape, will change in about an hour.
25. You should know why this list is written and titled the way it is. If you don’t, ask your 16-year-old daughter.
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