As children, many of us wished to be superheroes and even conjured up fantasies of how we’d get lauded saving the day. Only recently did it occur to me that in all of my imagined exploits, my costumed self did something wrong. I never promoted my identity among the public.
Every time the dark knight emerges out of the ‘darkness’ and startles a hapless thug, he makes it very clear.
“I am Batman.”
Every time the web swinger in red-n-blue tights stops a daylight robbery in Queens, he reminds the onlookers he’s their “friendly neighborhood Spiderman”. This constant plug seems necessary to be accepted by the public as one of their own.
Come to think of it, it’s akin to standing in a city council election because you need to be recognized as an upstanding part of the community to win the support of the local folk. In fact, that’s not the only strategy you can pick up from superheroes to run a successful campaign for a city council election. Let’s have a look at some more practices to adopt from the lives of superheroes.
Your slogan is your catchphrase
A political slogan is often considered the go-to way for politicians to sum up their message and be recognized. So the aim is to come up with a catchy slogan that people can remember easily.
Superheroes do it all the time.
“In brightest day, in blackest night,
No evil shall escape my sight.
Let those who worship evil’s might
Beware my power–Green Lantern’s light!”
The Green Lantern oath hints at the key goal of the character (defeat evil), acts as a message (evildoers – beware!) and, of course, rhymes so it sticks in the mind.
You could do the same. If not on your own, ask for help to create a slogan that can represent your candidacy for city council and call for support. Put it up on banners and yard signs at key locations. It doesn’t have to be an entire jingle. We all know what comes with great power ( and it doesn’t even rhyme).
Make yourself available at call
Superheroes have an added layer of alienation from the community because of their secret identity. However, they make up for it by showing up whenever they are needed until the public believe they are in safe hands. Batman does it by installing a Batsignal on the GCPD building. Others less affluent get hired at a newspaper to stay updated.
As a candidate for city council, you have to make the public believe you prioritize serving them over anything else. What better way to do that than meeting them directly and telling them? Go door-knocking and meet as many people as you can. Ask about the issues they face and leave them with your contact information to reach you when needed.
Get your secret keepers ready
We can all accept that without Alfred Pennyworth, there would be no Batman. After all, maintaining a double life as most superheroes do proves to be taxing on personal relationships. So they bring in other people into their secret lives who help out in the best way they can.
For running a city council campaign, you’d need your own team of confidantes who can strategize, give advice and take up the responsibility for campaign tasks. Be smart in choosing your associates because they will be vital to the success of your campaign. You’d require a manager, a fundraising supervisor and a treasurer who can oversee supporters working under them.
Take charge of your media coverage
Once you announce your candidacy, you would likely be in the media spotlight. Superheroes draw media attention all the time so you could use some lessons from their lives.
Clark Kent and Peter Parker might have the benefit of working close to the story being reported about their alter-egos but not all superheroes have it easy. So they have close associates who work in the press or make a public appearance to ensure people get their version of controversial events.
How do you do that?
Give interviews and host events so that people stay updated on news about you and the campaign. Share regularly on Facebook, Twitter and your campaign website with photos and videos. Arrange to have photos taken at live events so you can tell a compelling story through them. If Spidey can do it right before a supervillain fight, so can you.
Get your message out
Often times when the cops show up, the hero has already left the scene. Be it a dark alley or a villain’s lair, a competent superhero leaves his mark behind. Maybe a batarang on the wall or the bad guys tied up in webs, they make sure that people know who is to be credited.
While you won’t be bashing up thugs, it is equally important for you to spread the message about your candidacy. Get campaign literature distributed by your supporters and conduct a voice broadcast to remind people to vote. These extra steps ensure you stay on top of voters’ minds.
Identify key players in the city
Sometimes, their superpowers and band of confidantes are still not enough for superheroes to take on a large threat. In such cases, they have to turn to other people to help them out. It could be the police commissioner or a friend who also happens to be a billionaire. However, these are no ordinary people and they provide that one extra nudge required by the hero at that moment.
In a similar vein, you would need some important people of the community to back you in the race as well. You have to identify who these people are and approach them directly. They could be influential people in the city, donors and past members of the city council. With their endorsement, you’d have a stronger position in the race.
While you may not be the fastest man on Earth or produce metal claws out of your arms, these steps will ensure that you are in a position to take on anyone in a city council election. So might as well stand with your legs apart, roll back your shoulders and stand looking skyward for the campaign picture to show everyone the superhero you are within.
Tags: campaign manager, campaign strategy, Canvassing, Fundraising, Grassroots Advocacy, How-To, influencer networking, Political Campaigns, political slogan, Social Media