Effective Ways to Promote Candidates for the Coming Election – By Ifemidayo Odekunle [@IFM4Real]
As the country gears up for another general election, branding has become a pervasive and vigorous component of politics.
Candidates want to loom large in most people’s minds, and accomplishing that requires selling themselves as if they are consumer goods. To be more precise, it requires selling themselves using techniques learned from the successful marketing of consumer goods.
It’s not easy.
“Running for President of Nigeria means building a brand that at least 51% of the country is willing to buy on Election Day,” “Not an easy task in a country as large and diverse as Nigeria.”
A narrow focus builds a brand, she wrote, but a wide base wins the election. “The task is huge,” branding strategist Laura Ries wrote on her blog, Ries’ Pieces… “Even the iPhone doesn’t have a 51% share of the Smartphone market in the U.S.”
Whether running a first-time candidate or a former officeholder mounting a comeback, campaigns need to start formulating a marketing strategy right out of the gate.
For some candidates, that strategy might involve repositioning on certain policies or zero in on a part of their personal narrative worth highlighting. Others might need a complete makeover down to how they dress; you all remember how President Buhari was dressed during campaigns in a suit.
The candidate has to be marketed effectively to voters. Here are some attention-grabbing tips.
Brand the Candidate
By some estimates, you only have few seconds to make a first impression. Your candidate and his or her graphical branding are the frontline introduction to the effort. The branding should convey trustworthiness and be easy to understand. Can someone know what your candidate stands for just from your branding? Do you have branding guidelines that determine colours, fonts, and uses of the logo and corresponding advertising? If not, it’s time to engage the services of a professional branding firm or designer with this experience. Its money well spent.
The brand needs to mean something. That means the social media presence, physical presentation, and how the candidate comes across to supporters and prospective voters are all important.
Develop Materials That Tell a Story
It’s nearly impossible to pitch a candidate without some sort of literature to help educate voters. Remember, President Jonathan’s I have no shoe story? Yes, that could be a story.
That could be a brochure, flyer, or push card. Whatever it is, these materials should do two things: match the candidate’s branding and tell a story. They should answer the five important questions: who, what, when, where, and why?
What do I mean by telling a story? Walk the voters through the process in a way that doesn’t make him or her feel like you’re selling them. Moreover, make sure to avoid sales language. Voters don’t like to feel as if they’re being sold. They want to be convinced.
Present problems in a way that makes a voter think: “I agree we have that problem.” Then sell how the candidate will make it better. For example, don’t just say you’re going to improve the economy. Instead, show the benefit of your policy proposal with a line like, “I’ll make sure our sons and daughters don’t have to leave home just to find a job by doing X policy.”
Get Involved on Social Media
I can hear it already: “Are you saying you want me to tweet and pin stuff and play on Facebook?” Yes and no. Too many campaigns think they have to be on every social media network. This is the wrong approach. Start with only one or two social media networks. Your target audience will weigh heavily on what social media network is best for you to start with. Regardless of what networks you choose, focus on learning your audience’s patterns, lingo, and habits. Take that understanding to inform your social media strategy.
to be continued…next week
Follow us on Twitter at @thesignalng
Copyright 2018 SIGNAL. Permission to use portions of this article is granted provided appropriate credits are given to www.signalng.com and other relevant sources.