6 February 2013

Bartlett, Bleeker and BuzzFeed

​H+K Strategies’ U.S. president and CEO Dan Bartlett, global digital practice director Andrew Bleeker, and BuzzFeed CEO Jon Steinberg gathered this morning for a panel discussion on effective stakeholder communication and applying lessons learned from the recent election. Below is a recap of the event.
In working on the Obama campaign team, Bleeker said two principles key to their success were strong community building and capitalizing on moments. These can be easily applied to the private sector and accomplished through digital channels.

“Building digital avenues is very important,” he said. “Most brands don't have many channels to respond through and more tools in the toolbox let us respond in real time on multiple levels.”

The Obama campaign had 75 people working on their new media team during the last election and they utilized targeted sharing on Facebook to mobilize advocates.

“The people who follow us on Facebook tend to be supporters anyway. That’s true for brands. If you like a brand on Facebook, odds are you use the brand. You’re already there. The question is how do we get our advocates to mobilize to talk to the people who are going to decide this or who might be likely to buy our products?” asked Bleeker. 

But Bartlett warned that this massive proliferation of information sources and technology and also pose challenges that make it necessary to think in crisis mode all the time.

“Logically, you would think that would open up the voters to a lot more opinion, allow for a much more enlightened debate, but we’ve seen the opposite. Technology has made it far more efficient to be partisan. Successful campaigns have been very good at defining their narratives early and we’re going to continue to see microtargeting in the media,” he said.

“Targeting your message in a way that the right people see it and share with decision makers is key,” agreed Steinberg, who advises thinking outside the box and applying timeless strategies to the digital landscape.

“Digital is really just online word of mouth marketing at a much faster speed,” he said. “If you're too afraid to break things, you can just continue running banner ads and never do anything groundbreaking.”

BuzzFeed CEO Jon Steinberg, Moderator and Editor of National Journal Daily Matthew Cooper, Andrew Bleeker and Dan Bartlett share insights.