Branding in a political campaign – It’s not just a buzz word
Just as it is for businesses, successful branding is essential for the success of a political campaign.
But what is a brand? In a business setting a brand is the “name, term, design, symbol, or any other feature that identifies one seller’s good or service as distinct from those of other sellers.” When applied to a political campaign the application of a name, key terms, symbols and other features help to make the candidate distinct from other candidates. Branding in a campaign will occur no matter if you plan it or not and most often when you don’t plan for it is when it will negatively impact you.
What are some elements of a brand and how do I use them to help my campaign?
Establish your name. Do you want to use your full name to be distinct? Do you have a nickname to insert that would be appropriate for the campaign? Do you want to use the less formal version of a first name? These are all important aspects to think of when starting your campaign. You will then want to register a website domain under the the form of your name you will use for branding purposes. By establishing your own website this way, you will help people find you as they look using search engines. Avoid pitfalls such as using too long of a name in the domain name. Domains such as: johnsmithfor20thcongressionaldistrict2012.com are very specific but it’s a little too long. I would recommend using a few less words. You will want to use your name again in the title of the website along with the office you are seeking. After registering your domain make sure to claim your name in other social media such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Linkedin, ect. Claim your name and establish your online presence before someone else does.
Establish a tagline. A tagline helps convey a short message about yourself to potential voters. Let’s look at my tagline as an example. It’s “Fiscal Conservative, Socially Tolerant, Open Source Advocate”. It’s short but conveys important information about me as a brand. It tells people where I stand on fiscal issues, social issues and technology. In the case of a political campaign you might want to place a few central ideas you believe in or a slogan. This all helps to build any idea about you as a candidate in the mind of the voters.
Establish a Logo. Wait what? A logo you say? Campaigns use logo’s on t-shirts, buttons and other campaign materials. They can also be used as a favicon on your website and social media presence. A logo should be simple and if you are American tossing in some red, white and blue never hurts. If all else fails pick a nice picture of a flag. Many good political logo’s are just remashes of the color scheme and feel of a flag.
Establish a primary image. You might not be a model but anyone can dress up and take a nice picture. If you have a friend that’s a budding photographer a quality picture can be easy to obtain. Don’t use an ordinary snapshot. This is your first impression with the voters. Use something that makes you look like you already are in office and people will start believing you should be there. Even if you are just running for a water or school board, a professional image helps sell you as the candidate. Don’t skimp on this step!
I hope these guidelines will help some some young person run a grassroots campaign. These guidelines have helped me with my own campaigns and the campaigns of others in the past. I’ll follow up this post with a few others in the future so please check back here if this article interested you.
Who is Paul Darr?
Paul Darr has lived in California, Oregon, Colorado, and currently lives in San Antonio, Texas. Paul is also an Army Veteran, who has deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. On the political spectrum Paul is a Libertarian that advocates fiscal responsibility and social tolerance. Paul is currently employed as an IT Manager and is a father of a handsome boy and beautiful daughter. In his free time Paul enjoys reading, using and modifying open source software, gaming, and several other geeky pursuits.