What we can learn from Barack Obama’s influencer marketing

President Obama’s use of YouTube to promote government policy highlights the key to shifting the perception of a brand – make it part of popular culture, Chi Lo argues. 

Chi Lo

In the last week we’ve seen Obama meet with influential creators in the YouTube space and even jump on a segment of the hilarious ‘Between Two Ferns with Zach Galifianakis’.

To the average punter they appear like impressive but disparate entertainment pieces by the world’s most accessible President. But for those who dig deeper it’s apparent they are both centred on Obama’s Healthcare reforms and actually part of a carefully crafted brand campaign by one of the world’s best Social Strategists.

At the heart of it, Obama has figured out what every brand wants to do. Being part of the conversation and making your brand part of popular culture is key in shifting perception of your product.

But what makes this so brilliant is that at its core this campaign has everything that Millennials hold dear:

Co-creation: YouTubers Hannah Hart, Tyler Oakley and Iman Crosson have a combined audience of 5.5 million subscribers and all created their own content pieces inspired by their meeting with The President. These videos have already racked up an impressive 2.5 million views simply by tapping into the advocacy of these key influencers.

Participation: Fans of the influencers are actively encouraged to share the message, talk about it, click-through to the site and engage with the brand in a way that works for them.

Authenticity: Obama hasn’t gone to dictate the message; instead he’s fed into the genius of the creators. He’s become part of their entertainment culture and in turn natively placed his message in a way the audience already gets.

Ready-made audiences: The campaign has gone directly to the influencers who already talk to millions in the target audience. Why spend money buying that audience through media when they can already be won over, simply by being part of their eco-system?

I find myself asking the question, if one of the most established political institutions in the world has figured it out, why aren’t brands doing this more?

Personally, I can’t wait to see what The President does next.

Chi Lo is an account director at Boom.


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