Where is Obama’s Change?

February 9, 2010sparxoo_admin


“A year ago millions of people were rejoicing over the defeat of Bush’s hated Republicans and were looking for Obama to follow through on his promises of change,” writes SocialistAlternative.org. “Fast forward to today, and most people have enormous difficulty naming one clear change that he has enacted.” While we support the need for reform, many are growing apathetic as change is slow-coming. Banks are still receiving incredibly large bonuses, the public option is off the bargaining table, there is still petty partisan rivalry and the list goes on. What happened to the spark that ignited Obama’s rise to the top? What happened to real change and eliminating politics as usual?


Promise of Change — When Obama took office in 2008, there was hope for a better health care system, more job growth and serious Wall Street reform. Have we reached these milestones? Unfortunately, no. Consequently, Obama’s approval ratings have started to slip. According to Pollster.com, Obama’s job approval ratings have slipped from around 65% to 47.9% in the past year. Has this hope faded in the wake of little reform or recovery? Americans are growing skeptical of the much anticipated Obama change.

Recession — In retrospect, many economists believe the controversial Bush bank bailout did prevent us from slipping into a depression. However, the unemployment rate is continuing to climb. Currently, the unemployment rate is lingering at 10 percent — a less than 1 percent decrease from its peak in July 2009. While unemployment traditionally takes longer to recover than the economy, Americans need to see results. It is incredibly dispiriting to search and search for a job with little to no avail.

Social Media — At first, Twitter inspired a hope for many marketers and branding professionals. It was a way to create a megaphone that could speak to millions of users. But where is the ROI? Anil Dash, a social media blogger, has found that having ten times as many Twitter followers generates approximately zero times as much value. In a results-oriented world, Twitter has fallen short of many marketers expectations. While it might be an effective way to engage some fans and grow awareness, there are few brands (think Dell) making a meaningful impact on the microblogging site. For most, it’s an overcrowded marketplace where few can be heard.


Take Aways

  • How can you illustrate your impact? In other words, how can you show results? For instance, Tide’s Loads of Hope initiative could advertise how many loads of laundry they wash per year. Or mention how many people they helped following the Katrina disaster.
  • Inject positive impact into your brand through aspirational messages combined with tangible evidence.


  • As brands measure the true ROI of their social media efforts, they will dial down and re-prioritize their efforts.
  • Obama will face harsh criticism during his 2012 campaign for under-delivering on the much anticipated change.
  • The only real political reform will come from catastrophic economic disasters. Until then, there will be partisan disputes — or politics as usual.

Read all of the 2010 trends here. (PDF)

Image by Chris Baker from Stock.Xchng