The decision-making process of a voter is tied with their perception and desires. It is often not a logical path of judgment, rather guided by their impression of the candidate. Naturally, the campaign has to use that to create a candidate profile that appeals to the voter.
This is done through the use of voter communication material like speeches, literature and mail addressed to the voter. All these communication methods have to stick to a single message.
What does a good message imply?
The political campaign message directly plays with the voter’s perception and helps them choose which candidate to vote for. The way to do so is to appeal to core human values. These values are:
- Security from human (crime, terrorism) and natural elements (global warming, environmental destruction)
- State of living and healthcare
- Financial safety – Job security, retirement fund, education cost
- Morality – How honorable are the leaders in society? Is the state headed down a justifiable track?
- Upcoming generation’s prospects related to education and jobs
These values affect the emotions, wants and needs of society. Sure you want to discuss a particular policy change or an issue that has an impact on the community. However, you have to tie the issue to the human values triggered because of it. This way you draw the voter’s attention by showing that you care about the same things that they do.
The campaign message is not just about stating why the candidate is better than the opponent. The voter does not objectively make comparisons to choose who to vote for. Instead, you have to show that you share their values, want to solve issues that affect these values and are qualified to do so through experience and ideology.
Stay on the message
The voter should have a clear idea of the core message of your campaign. Your campaign communication strategy is about steering all important discussions toward the message. Every communication your campaign has with a voter has to anchor in the message. The way to get the voter to instantly recognize your message and associate it with the candidate is by constantly reminding them what it is.
Remember that the voters will forget what you said in the speech. They would not recall your policies or the candidate’s background and the way they all tie together. They will, however, remember how you made them feel.
Remind the voter
Your campaign ads, press releases and the mail that you send directly to the voters should remind them of the message and how it connects to their personal values. Over time, they would build an instinctive connection with the candidate because they share similar beliefs. That way the voters would accept the candidate as the right person to tackle their problems.
It is better to make the message easy to present. One way of doing it is to have a catchy slogan to sum it up. Slogans are short and stick to the mind. It is also vital that the slogan you go with clearly implies the core message of the campaign. An average voter should understand what the message is about from the first impression itself.
Develop a fine campaign message
Now that you understand what a political campaign message should incorporate, you are ready to develop one for your next campaign. Let’s go through the initial steps to figure out the message suitable for the supporters you aim to draw in.
Learn the demographic majority
Go through census data, past voter records and voter lists of previous candidates. From the compiled data, you have to learn what you can about the demographic makeup of your electorate, including age, gender, occupation, race, home ownership, party registration and past voting history. Out of this, create a persona of the ideal voter who would align with your stance on issues.
Learn their issues and interests
You have to figure out what the issues and interests of the target voter are. This could take a while because there is no readily available data on it. Place yourself among the voters in meetings and talk with them directly. Alternatively, you could conduct a benchmark poll to discover what these voters care about. The poll results and the demographic data together would show you the areas you need to target based on aligned interest.
Tell them what you would do
The message should address what you are going to do to improve their situation. It has to persuade the voter, not educate them with new information. The voter does not care about you. They care about what you are going to do for them. If the message does not tell them that, it will fail to hook their attention.
Contrast from the opponent
Finally, remember that the race is against your opponent who would be pushing their own message at the same voter. So you need to place yourself against the opponent in such a way that makes you the obvious choice. The campaign message has to position your strengths against the opponent’s weaknesses. Take these points into account when doing so:
- The candidate’s virtues and flaws including experience integrity, compassion and stability
- ideology and political alignment
- the current condition and philosophy like change vs status quo, reform vs old principles etc.
Through all of this, you can decide on a campaign message which is perfect to address your ideal voter. The campaign message is what you offer the voter to position your candidacy. It is the reason that you present to choose you over the opponent. Consult with the right people and choose a message which makes the decision-making process easier for the voter. That way, you can win over more supporters and be on your way for a win.Tags: campaign message, campaign plan, campaign strategy, political slogan, voter engagement, voter persona, voter profiling