The Road to The White House in 2016 starts with Innovation

When the 45th President of the United States of America is sworn into office on Jan. 20, 2017, it will be a moment to rejoice and reflect upon how one person reached the highest office in the land.

To get there, the newly elected president would have been forced to make difficult decisions, which led to winning his (or her) party’s nomination for president.

One of those decisions is whether to embrace innovation and technology, or pass it over as a mere blip on the radar. The candidate who disregards innovation and technology will not become the 45th president. Instead, victory will go to the candidate who wholeheartedly embraces it.

This is partially due to the fact that 58 percent of American adults have a smartphone, according to the Pew Internet Project, and there are now more broadband Internet subscribers in the United States than cable TV subscribers for the first time in history. The old ways of reaching potential voters via snail mail and TV ads are dying. Opt-in email has replaced snail mail, and SnapChat is well on its way to replacing the traditional TV advertising, with current advertising rates between $50,000 to $100,000 a day for 500,000 to a million daily impressions, according to ReCode.

As SnapChat continues to grow and defy expectations, Vice Media, led by co-founder and CEO Shane Smith, could be the voice of the next generation. Mr. Smith subscribes to a platform-agnostic business model that is the future model for any company that creates and distributes content. Frankly, it’s a business model to which every political campaign, no matter how small or large, should subscribe. It’s the future.

Mr. Smith sums up Vice Media’s business model this way: “We’re platform-agnostic. For us, it’s about how do you get to all screens? It’s not a question of can TV migrate to online? If that’s the question, you’re already dead, because online is mobile, and that’s the future.”

Mr. Smith is correct — mobile is the future and it is growing rapidly with both traditional and Latino-American demographics. Each voting demographic will play a key role in the 2016 election.

The Latino-American voting power will continue to grow as this demographic is adopting smartphones at a higher rate than any other demographic group in the United States, according to 2014 the U.S. Digital Consumer Report, published by Nielsen.

Latino Americans now watch an average of 6 hours and 22 minutes of video a month on their smartphone compared to the average American who watches 5 hours and 48 minutes. In the 2014 midterm election, there were a record 25.2 million Latino-American citizens (11 percent of all eligible voters) eligible to vote.

These demographics should serve as a stark reminder to every potential presidential candidate and campaign manager that 2016 is going to be different. It will be the first presidential race that will be dominated by technology mistakes and technological triumphs.

In 2008 and 2012, President Obama won election and re-election partially owing to the fact that he empowered his team to develop and implement an innovation strategy that was outside the box. If a potential presidential candidate is thinking about copying Mr. Obama’s innovation strategy, they will not be elected president. Innovation strategy has to be unique to each and every situation.

Candidates must respond to 2016 with an innovation strategy that is in tune with the America of today and tomorrow. As Google co-founder and CEO Larry Page says, “The main thing that has caused companies to fail, in my view, is that they missed the future.” If the political and innovation strategies are in tune with the status quo but not with the future, the candidate will not be elected president.

The status quo has to be challenged, broken down and rebuilt through a strategy that relies on a grass-roots network of volunteers where there is no friction between the innovation, communications and political teams.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas sums up his thoughts on the status quo this way: “What I’m trying to do more than anything else is bring a disruptive app to politics.”

The time is here for a presidential candidate to actively embrace innovation, break up the status quo and wholeheartedly embraces innovation. The 45th president of the United States will be elected because he or she will have actively embraced innovation to build a direct connection with the voters.

The Road to The White House in 2016 starts with Innovation is an article written by Brulte & Company Co-Founder Grayson Brulte that was originally published in The Washington Times.

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