What it takes to be Number 1

“Winning is not a sometime thing; it’s an all the time thing. You don’t win once in a while; you don’t do things right once in a while; you do them right all the time. Winning is a habit. There is no room for second place. It is and always has been an American zeal to be first in anything that we do and to win, and to win and to win.” – Vince Lombardi

As we move into the NFL conference championships this weekend, here is the latest gridiron intelligence from the big game being played by Republicans and Barack Obama  in pursuit of the White House in 2012. While the  broadcast media obsesses  with new television commercials , debates, town halls, shifting poll numbers  and inter party skirmishes ; all of which make great theatre and television for both network , cable and local stations; the real war for the new age electorate is being fought within the internet and social web. It no longer befuddles me as to why this interactive landscape is not drawing as much attention  by the candidates, pundits and pollsters. It’s pretty simple, like many other legacy marketers, there seems to be a denial (despite a war chest of data proving otherwise) that the social media communities ( Facebook, Twitter, Linked In, Youtube and others) have had and will have a profound impact on the campaign financing and the winning strategy earning the White House.  Such a disregard of this marketing and advertising  reality would doom any and all consumer brands in 2012. It’s clear that political candidates( with the exception of the incumbent) feel that their current strategies of adopting legacy media as a foundational element of their tactical tool kit will win the day. This lack of understanding the  glaringly obvious makes me wonder about the basis for leadership in our country.

Let’s take a look at this week’s tally

As of January 18 – Facebook “likes”

Mitt Romney – 1,342,317 – Up 32,409
Ron Paul – 743,720 – Up 26,980
Newt Gingrich – 230,127 – Up 2304
Rick Perry – 181,401 – Up 866
Rick Santorum – 78,755 – Up – 4285
Jon Huntsman – 37,925 – Up – 601
President Barack Obama – 24,538,779 – Up – 108,161

The data shows that despite all of the rhetoric and infighting between the Perry , Gingrich and Romney camps….none of this has done anything to move Romney supporters away from their candidate. Conversely you can see that both Gingrich and Perry have only grown their bases ever so slightly. Data points to the fact that while the Sunday morning talk shows and late night newscasts are consuming all they can get of these “fights” ; all of these attacks don’t seem to be generating any significant increase in facebook supporters. Actually a case can be made that the exact opposite effect is taking hold. Romney is definitely ramping up and creating even more distance between he and the rest of the candidates. The data is still early but if this trend continues , we expect a more significant growth ramp in the weeks ahead. Be mindful that Mitt Romney’s growth has occurred during a period where the Bain Capital  and tax return issues have been front and center.  The key player on the field continues to be President Barack Obama…who continues to show on the field strength. His fan base growing over 100K in just the last week. The overall pace of this growth should be very troubling to republicans and front runner Mitt Romney as it is clear that the internet base of support for the President is solidifying itself for a 2012 run. President Obama has done NO true campaign advertising as yet…and his social media base is growing faster than any of the other Republican candidates. In fact his growth in the last week is

2X the aggregate of the all other contenders combined.

Twitter Followers  – January 18th Report

Newt Gingrich – 1,395,173 – DOWN – 19,667
Ron Paul – 307,143 – DOWN – 2990
Mitt Romney –  268,322 – UP – 16,658
Rick Perry – 148,549 – UP -4097
Rick Santorum – 84,647 – UP 5607
Jon Huntsman – 87,919 – UP 2,262
President Barack Obama – 11,986,258 – UP 140,955
First Lady Michelle Obama – 394,034 – UP 153,000

Twitter data is very telling this week in terms of the overall mood of which candidates are gaining and losing followers.  Again the data here isn’t good news for the Gingrich or Paul camps. Despite all of the media attention to both candidates, both hopefuls are seeing defections from their “following” base. Not the kind of data that you want to see when trying to raise funds and attack the front runner. With Jon Huntsman dropping out of the race and shifting his support to Mitt Romney; it will be interesting to see what effect if any that will have in terms of Romney’s growth on Twitter. Again the reporting shows the strong and dramatic appeal of the current President within the social web. President Obama has generated nearly 3 times the number of Twitter followers in the last week as the total number being generated by the entire Republican field.  Interestingly enough, the entry of First Lady Michele Obama on the Twitter landscape is already proving strategic as the first lady has grown from zero to nearly 400K followers in just two weeks.  As the race heats up…it will be very interesting to watch how the First Lady and her followers work in concert with the President to create a “dynamic duo” amongst the internet electorate.

As Coach Lombardi extolled many years ago on the frozen tundra that is Green Bay…Winning is Everything. Lombardi was a great student of his competitors. He would spend hour after hour looking at films to gain greater insight into the gaps and flaws in his foe. His passion and that of his team was embodied in this most famous of his speeches. “the greatest fulfillment of all that he holds dear is that moment when he has worked his heart out in a good cause and lies exhausted on the field of battle – victorious.  For Republican White House contenders …it’s really time to strap on the helmet and chin guard and start playing on the true field of dreams.

Game on.

Al D

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