Succeed by Letting Go of Control

Last Updated Oct 29, 2008 4:58 PM EDT

In this BNET Video, Charlene Li, formerly one of the reining geniuses at Forrester Research and now founder of the social media monitoring firm, Altimeter Group and author of the blog, the Altimeter, talks about how businesses can apply the lessons learned in this season's presidential campaigns. The most fundamental of these lessons? Learning to let go of the message after it has been crafted and sent out into the idea-sphere.


Like many companies, political campaigns are huge organizations; ones that must spin on a dime in order to react to an opponent's moves. They do this successfully, says Li, by being loose in organization and not trying to micromanage every aspect of the campaign. Li says that companies, like campaigns, can:

  • Tap into the "groundswell" -- the core base of support -- to get the audience to evangelize and do much of the heavy lifting.
  • Utilize social media to help your groundswell of supporters get your message out.
  • Learn to be comfortable with a marketing conversation and not insist on always tightly controlling one-way marketing messages.
  • Respond to negativity in real time using social media and word-of-mouth.
  • Inspire poeple with your message and then let go of it -- let it evolve.