We have been having a conversation about how to construct a campaign slogan, and I’ve mentioned in previous videos that four things should be considered as you develop yours.
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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 opponent.
Today we’ll delve into the third one–how to develop a campaign slogan that offers a perfect contrast with your opponent. Any message that offers an easily understood and compelling contrast with the person you are running against makes the choice easier for the voters.
What can you say about yourself, or your policy positions that your opponent can’t say or won’t say? If you face a well-known incumbent, or someone with some well-known flaws, use your campaign slogan to capitalize on the weaknesses of the incumbent.
Not long ago I developed a slogan for someone running in a high-profile Judicial contest. This particular court decided the fate of criminal defendants in a crime ridden suburban county.
He was a well known prosecutor used to handling criminal cases. His opponent was a civil rights attorney who had never handled a criminal case.
Our slogan? “He’s been a great Prosecutor. He’ll make a great Judge.” His slogan said something his opponent could never say. What we call a unique selling proposition.
Another client of mine once challenged a young man in a race for the State Legislature. Our slogan? “Father. Husband. Small business owner. Taxpayer. Job Creator.”
It worked, and struck a chord with voters because his opponent had never been married, never created a job, never raised a child, never held a private sector job or paid a property tax bill.
“Unbought. Unbossed. Nobody’s Mayor but Yours.” Worked well in a race for Mayor for the independent minded female running against two men, one of whom was the favored candidate of the developers, the other the favored candidate of the political bosses.
Will a contrast slogan work for you? Take out a sheet of paper and list all the strengths and weaknesses of your opponent. Now do the same for yourself.
Are there stark differences in your resume? Are there compelling differences in your values or moral principles? Or issue positions? Or in what you hope to do for the people you represent? If so, can you put those differences in a short set of words that are easily remembered…words that make the differences
clear and compelling? If you can, use it.
Contrast slogans cut to the chase, and make the choice very easy for voters.
Next week I’ll talk about how to develop a slogan that appeals to a specific demographic group you must win in order to prevail in an election.
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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