Posts Tagged ‘campaigns’

Unsolicited free advice for leadership hopefuls and New Democrats

Friday, July 8th, 2016

A photo of a big yellow arrow followed by a team of little white arrows.

For most Canadians, the season that just started is Summer. But for that band of hardy travellers on the parliamentary road to a better tomorrow — that is, us New Democrats — the season is Leadership.

Nationally and in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, our party is seeking new leadership. Choosing a new leader is a pretty big deal in politics. We’re trying to find an effective, inspiring champion for our values and policies… who has the wisdom and strategic smarts to guide a party in opposition and, hopefully, a province or a nation in government… and whose background and leadership style sends a powerful message to Canadians about who and what we stand for.

The NOW team has more than a little experience with this. At a quick rough count, we’ve collectively provided strategic guidance to 21 political party leaders including eight provincial premiers. And while we’ve lost count of the precise number, we’ve worked on more than 50 municipal, provincial and federal elections.

So here’s a little unsolicited, free advice (isn’t that the best kind?) from the NOW team to leadership hopefuls — and to the New Democrats who will choose one of them to lead us into the next election and beyond.

  1. We need a leader who talks more about others than her/himself. Telling voters what drives you to serve can be powerful. But a good leader also listens to others, reflects on what they say and weaves others’ stories into their own.
  2. Look for a leader who doesn’t talk about “rebuilding the party.” It isn’t about the party. It’s about the people who are counting on us to get elected so we can change their lives for the better. So let’s not navel-gaze too much in public.
  3. Let’s elect a leader who understands that the legislature isn’t the centre of the universe. The neighbourhood, my home and my family are the centre of my universe. Too often political types get tied up in knots about the process instead of the outcome. What we do in the legislatures of the nation matters only because of the impact on people’s lives. The best leaders are the ones who can make that connection without getting lost in the weeds of Parliamentary procedure and antics.
  4. Leadership is not only an intellectual exercise. Yes, our new leader should be smart and savvy. But it’s even more important to make an emotional connection – to speak from both the head and the heart about the real issues facing Canadians. Show voters that you care about me and my neighbours.
  5. Don’t tell people to vote for “change.” Instead, give voters a reason to want change, and show how that change will be better, not worse. A lot of Canadians (more than 80 per cent) think that no matter who is in government, our lives will continue just the same as they always were. Don’t just tell them they’re wrong; show them there is another way.

A lot of people say they want the party to be bold. They want to be inspired. I confess I don’t really know what that means. Frankly, it’s a lot easier to agree we want “bold” or “inspirational” than to agree on the ideas behind those words. A bold idea could still be a bad idea. And what inspires one, might not inspire another.

For the voters we need to reach, “inspiration” may well be a lot more about a leader who truly connects with them. Who understands that life for Canadians is getting harder and harder. With too few good jobs, too many burdens and not enough support for the average family.

Good leaders understand my story and thousands like it. They talk more about me than about themselves. They can talk to me about why some things are working and others aren’t, and they can offer clear, credible steps to make it better. They are human, emotional and smart, and they want to build a better world for all of us.

As you flip through the catalogue of potential leadership hopefuls, or if you’re preparing a campaign of your own, keep that emotional connection in mind.

And remember why we want to win. It’s not about victory itself, or grabbing the brass ring. It’s about winning so that we have the power to make life better for the people we want to represent. And the better a leader does at conveying that convincingly, the better our party’s chances for success where it really counts.

NOW’s work finalist in international awards

Wednesday, January 25th, 2012

NOW’s election work has been singled out for recognition again, this time in the 2012 international Reed Awards, sponsored by Campaigns & Elections magazine. The Reed Awards are selected by a panel of expert judges.

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Pride

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Christy Crunch (BC NDP)

This 2011 BC NDP ad was launched to define the newly elected Liberal Leader and Premier: Christy Clark. While maintaining a light approach, it still took a hard shot at her personal political history and linked her to the policies of the exiting leader.

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The Greg Selinger/Manitoba NDP 2011 campaign has been chosen as a finalist with 5 other campaigns around the world for Best International Campaign. The TV spot “Christy Crunch”, created for the BC NDP, is also a finalist for best TV spot outside of the USA.

The Arab Spring with IAPC in Istanbul

Saturday, September 24th, 2011

If travel is taking you to Europe or the Middle East this fall, you’d do well to stop in at Istanbul for the 2011 IAPC World Conference in late November. The International Association of Political Consultants brings together political campaign experts, analysts and journalists to discuss the hottest issues of political life.
This year’s agenda promises a compelling conference covering the Arab Spring and its future; the role of religion, ethnicity and culture as catalysts for change; the ways that youth, demographics and social networking are propelling the revolution; and the likelihood that true democracy will prevail as the Arab Spring begins to wane.
The Istanbul conference will also look at elections around the world and techniques and strategies that are impacting their outcome.
IAPC is always thought-provoking and informed – a highlight in our calendar. We hope to see you there!

Remembering Jack Layton

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

Many members of our NOW Communications team knew Jack – as a client, as a superb political communicator, but above all as our leader.

The first thing that struck us about Jack was the incredible discipline he brought to every interaction he was part of. From our first meeting, we knew this was someone who was determined to get results – big results. From the inner circle of election campaigns to the wider progressive community, Jack demanded the best from everyone, including himself. He left no stone unturned and put everything on the table in the tireless pursuit of better ways to connect with Canadians and promote progressive values. It was thrilling to work with him and his team as he crafted a renewed federal NDP.

Part of our work with Jack over three elections involved shooting photography and film of him interacting with people. The most persuasive leaders we know share a genuine delight in talking to ordinary people. Jack had that spark for people. Whether on a set with a full film crew buzzing around him, or a small photo shoot with our own kids at a nearby hall, he lit up talking to people about what was going on in Canada.

The inheritance Jack leaves his family and all Canadians is a rich one – rich with hope and a vision for a better world. With Jack we moved from the conscience of Canada’s political life into the heart of Canadian values.

We always felt he delivered his most stirring message with: “Don’t let them tell you it can’t be done.” It was Jack to the core.

7 Pollie Awards international recognition for NOW’s clients

Monday, March 14th, 2011

We’re so proud of our clients and our work together! This weekend, creative work on highway privatization, pension security, parks, public services, and election awareness was recognized with seven international awards.
The Pollie Awards have been called “the Oscars of political advertising” and recognize the best of public affairs and issue advertising.

NOW’s clients won in 5 categories:
International candidate direct mail:
Silver – for the pension leaflet for the Ontario New Democratic Party caucus called “What’s the plan?”
Bronze – for the Manitoba New Democratic Party caucus’ direct mail brochure “Hugh”

International candidate radio:
Silver – for a radio spot on parks privatization done with the SGEU called “Grandpa”

International candidate television:
Honorable mention – for the spot made for the Saskatchewan New Democratic Party called “Balloon”

International public affairs internet campaign:

Bronze – for the anti-privatization campaign site for the SGEU ifyoulovesaskatchewan.ca

International public affairs television:
Bronze – for a public services branding spot from the Nova Scotia Government Employees Union called “Commitment”
Honorable mention – for the spot that defines the risks of highways privatization, from the SGEU: “Signs”

Do women decide elections in Canada?

Monday, December 6th, 2010

When Campaigns & Elections magazine planned a whole issue on women in politics, NOW’s Maya Russell decided to tackle the critical role of women as voters. She talked to several public opinion professionals about the gender gap in support for national political parties, and how the party Leaders fare with women voters. See the online magazine and let us know what you think!

Campaigns & Elections Canada issue two!

Friday, June 25th, 2010

The latest issue of Campaigns and Elections Canada hit the virtual stands yesterday. It focuses on social media tools in campaigning and features an article on online video by our own Marie Della Mattia. The whole issue is free to view here.