Last week, we began a conversation about how to construct a campaign slogan. I mentioned that you should consider four items when you do.
1. The political environment.
2. The office you are running for and what you’ll do with it.
3. The person you are running against.
4. The slice of the electorate that you must win in order to prevail over your
Today we’ll talk about the second one—how to wrap your campaign slogan around the office you are running for.
A few years ago I was approached by a young 28 year old Republican who wanted to run for Mayor in a City with a 3-1 Democratic edge. Gangs roamed the streets at night. Drug dealers plied their trade in broad daylight. The parks were strewn with trash.
We sat down and penciled out a very simple and straightforward slogan. “Safer Streets. Better Parks. More Playgrounds.”
It clearly stated why he was running and what he would do, and it let everybody know that he was in tune with the major concerns of the electorate. His slogan was so compelling that voters overlooked his party affiliation and elected him the youngest Mayor in the City’s history.
In a different race for Mayor of a large city, a majority of voters complained in our first poll about garbage on the streets, the rise in the homeless population, subway delays, traffic bottlenecks—all in sharp contrast to a few years before when most voters had felt the city was headed in the right direction.
Thus was born the slogan. “Bring Back our Quality of Life.” It struck a responsive chord.
Recently I worked a race in a community that had suffered from the closure of factories, a dearth of good jobs, and homeowners struggling with their property tax bills. Our slogan became “Better Jobs. Higher Wages. Lower Taxes.” And the candidate’s mail and other advertising told voters exactly how he planned
to do it.
As you construct your slogan, ask yourself—can you clearly and succinctly say what it is that you are going to do if you get the job? Can you do that in a way that lets people know you are in tune with their concerns? Can you say it in a way that is catchy and memorable? If you can answer yes to all of these questions, you are on your way to developing a good campaign slogan.
Next week I’ll talk how to develop a slogan that offers a compelling contrast with your opponent.
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Political consultant Jay Townsend works with smart, passionate candidates who want to run for office, win elections and make a difference. He has successfully helped candidates learn how to run for the U.S. Senate, how to run for Congress, how to run for Mayor and develop a winning campaign marketing strategy.
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