What Brands Can Learn From the Government

What Brands Can Learn From the Government

A crazy notion, right? But today marks an epic unusual complete waste of time absurd day in American politics, where the House is voting for the 37th time to repeal the Affordable Care Act. With that, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor has taken to Twitter to ask #tcot (Top Conservatives On Twitter) what they think of “ObamaCare” in three words using the hashtag #ObamaCareInThreeWords.

Most people know about the digital prowess that the White House has displayed over the past several years, including understanding big data and utilizing social media, digital marketing and mobile in order to organize supporters, fund raise and disseminate information.

Rather than sit by idly while someone else writers their narrative, the White House’s Twitter handle (@whitehouse) has joined in on the action, tweeting and retweeting original content and responses from supporters. This one takes the cake in my opinion:

I believe this is what the kids called “pwned”

But I digress. The issue at hand isn’t about ACA, which party you’re for or even if you believe Barack Obama’s a U.S. citizen. It comes down to three key reasons why they’re able to do this:

1. Preparedness. Like the Boy Scouts motto, being able to respond online and join memes is about being prepared for a situation like this and having an understanding of what’s being said about you.

2. Advocacy. The White House built a following online of supporters and knows how and when to get them involved. Rallying your brand advocates to support you seems like a no-brainer, but too many brands are content with putting their heads in the sand or retracting statements and apologizing. This doesn’t excuse bad behavior, but your customers love you for a reason (or at least they should) — give them another by sticking to you guns (when appropriate).

3. Branding. Ultimately the White House has built a brand for itself and knows when to engage, how to respond/speak and what expectation its followers have. Having a clear vision, voice and process allows their social media team to post responses without the need for reviews. This also means their team understands the brand and can speak as the brand – which in a lot of cases is not the case.

I’m going to watch and see how this unfolds, however I suspect lucky vote number thirty seven isn’t going to be the one that achieves anything — except for the White House, who’s showing the rest of the marketing world the right way to engage.