Last week I gave you an overview of a political campaign. The three legs include your message, the means you will use to disseminate the message, and the preparation that needs to be done before you run.
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The message part of your campaign has five components, your rationale, your story, your values, your issue positions, and what you say about your opponent.
Today we’ll talk about your rationale. Your slogan…the reason you want the job, what you will do with the job if you get it. It should be easily remembered. Interesting. Catchy. The one thing you want people to know about you even if they remember nothing else. Short enough to fit on palm cards, literature, posters, yard signs and the header on your website.
What should your slogan be? I can’t tell you. I can however, tell you what to consider when you construct one.
1. The political environment. If your message is irrelevant to the environment in which you are running, it will be irrelevant to the voters deciding your fate.
2. The office you are running for and what you’ll do with it. If you are running for Mayor it could be as simple as “Safer Streets. Better Parks. More Playgrounds.” If you are running for Congress it might be “Reaching across the aisle to create better jobs, higher wages.”
3. Who is 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.
When do you know you are done playing with the words in your slogan? It should pass one of these tests.
- Does it spark an emotional connection with voters?
- Does it clearly differentiate you from your opponent?
- Does it tell people exactly what you’ll do if you win?
“He’s been a great Prosecutor. He’ll make a great Judge.” Works well because his opponent has never had any experience handling felony criminal cases.
“Father. Husband. Small business owner. Taxpayer. Job Creator.” Worked well because his opponent was a young man who had never been married, never created a job, never raised a child, never held a real job or paid a property tax bill.
“Unbought. Unbossed. Nobody’s Mayor but Yours.” Worked well because the candidate was the lone female, running against a man who was favored by the developers, and another endorsed by the political bosses.
“Unafraid to Speak his Mind. Never Afraid to Lead.” Worked well because people were in an angry mood, the candidate was a populist, and running against go-along, get along moderates.
There are a lot of wonderful bells and whistles now used to communicate in the political marketplace. Great tools that are worthless absent a clear rationale or campaign slogan. Spend some time with it and get it right.
In the next video we’ll talk about how to tell your story.
Have questions or comments. Hit the comment button. Or call me 845-458-1210.
My email is [email protected].
Last Week’s Video: Running For Office? A Political Campaign Explained in 5 Minutes.
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.
How to win an election:
Running for office and knowing how to win an election is a challenge, especially for first time political candidates just learning how to run for office. Discerning the fine points of how to campaign, raise political contributions, and execute a political campaign strategy often requires the help of someone who has served as a political strategist or who has experience as a political consultant.