04.26.04-3 THE ART OF CAMPAIGNING

Campaigning is an art. The art of campaigning is driven by the ability to exploit uncertainty. Historically, there have been two basic responses to coping with uncertainty... minimize it or exploit it.

The group who has perhaps the most forward thinking approach to dealing with uncertainty is the military. The Marine Corps in developing there command and control doctrine embraces uncertainty.

Rather than attempting to seek order and certainty in the disorderly and uncertain environment of war - the Marines created a command and control doctrine based upon organic, ad hoc organization structure. (Click here: mcdp6@vsente.com if you would like a copy of the Marine Corp Doctrine Manual)

The purpose of this structure is to decentralize decision-making and enable rapid-fire execution loops based upon real time information flow. The Marines use words like spontaneity, loose-rein and initiative to describe their approach towards dealing with uncertainty.

A current example of a business (not) coping with uncertainty is United Airlines. In a press release issued by it's ad agency, the plans for United's new advertising campaign are laid out in detail for the next 12 months - including detailed descriptions of each ad and the dates and placements for each ad.

Two points need to made about United's campaign: 1) Assuming you can predict with certainty the ads and messages you'll need for the next 12 months is a bad assumption, and 2) telling your competition in advance what your messages will be, how the messages will be communicated and when and where each message will appear is flawed competitive strategy. Click here: unitedpr@vsente.com if you'd like to read the press release.

(A quick sidebar to United's campaign... Fallon Minneapolis,United's ad agency issued the press release. Which is the habit of most agencies who use them as an opportunity to showcase their campaigns to prospective clients. As a point of difference, not only do we not broadcast client campaigns, for many campaigns, we do not want the competitors of our client to know that vSente is running the campaign. Which means we engage incognito so as to not tip anyone to potential strategy, tactics or execution.)