Posts Tagged ‘election’

Don’t let your campaign get a bad wrap

Tuesday, August 11th, 2015

Notice something a little… off about the federal Liberal campaign bus wrap?

Somewhere between the designer’s monitor and the printing press, a font went missing… and with it, the metrics information that keeps a typeface’s spacing from looking wonky. (And this isn’t a little problem with kerning; “CHANGE” has broken into two separate words.)

Designers and politicos alike have been snickering about this, and rightly so.

Amateur-hour flubs on a national campaign should be embarrassing—and not just because graphics nerds might laugh at you. Good, professional design inspires confidence and reinforces your message. Sloppy design mistakes do the exact opposite, especially if they play into a Conservative narrative that the Liberal leader just isn’t ready to be prime minister.

Even if someone has no design training, and even if they only catch a glimpse of that bus wrap, they’ll know something wasn’t quite right… and it’ll undermine their confidence.

How can you avoid the same mistakes? Well, you can avoid the biggest one by voting NDP on October 19th. But in the meantime, here are four key lessons to make sure your design works for your campaign, instead of giving it a (cough) bad wrap: (more…)

Playing the “card” card: Hillary defangs a beloved Republican attack line

Wednesday, July 22nd, 2015

There’s always a risk in trying to turn an opponent’s words back on them. You may well end up reinforcing their message.

But when the opportunity is there, you can pull it off… especially when your opponent’s message resonates with their base but not with your persuadable audience.

Hillary Clinton’s campaign did just that yesterday after Sen. Mitch McConnell accused her of asking people to vote for her because she’s a woman—and said “the gender card alone is not enough.”

If reading that phrase made you grind a few chips of your molars, welcome to the club. For the past several years, the right wing has used “the race card” and “the gender card” as a way to silence discussion of inequality and injustice.

The phrase is a masterpiece of intellectual dishonesty, conveying an accusation of manipulation and duplicity without coming out and saying so. It’s rooted in the conservative narrative that claims that oppression is actually privilege, and that—… auuuugh, don’t get me started.

The point is, that narrative is near and dear to the Republican heart. But it’s a lot less convincing to persuadable voters… and gag-inducing to the Democrats that Clinton wants to mobilize as primary season looms.

So Clinton turned that phrase on its head, with a brief but powerful message in the form of a literal “gender card”:

She followed that up with a video that flipped the “card” idea back at the Republicans:

And that helped prompt a conversation under the hashtag #gendercard that can’t be what McConnell had in mind.

When you realize your opponent is relying on an attack line that has lost its bite, you have the chance to turn it back on them. You want to do it carefully, and you need to do your homework. But done carefully, it can be devastating.

What progressive communicators everywhere can learn from Rachel Notley’s victory

Friday, May 8th, 2015

Rachel Notley at a campaign rally

When the dust settled on Tuesday night, Rachel Notley and the Alberta NDP had won a stunning victory—and electrified activists from coast to coast to coast. Alberta is a progressive communicator’s “New York, New York”: if we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere.

So how did the woman who is now premier-designate of Alberta create the magic that propelled the NDP to victory? Because while she didn’t cause the scandals and cynical manipulation that derailed the PCs or the chaos that plagued the Liberals, Rachel and her party were well-prepared to make the most of the opening when it came.

I’ve just posted an article in our NOW Strategy section suggesting six ways Rachel Notley laid the groundwork for the Alberta NDP’s victory. For instance:

Get ready: Yes, Alberta was clearly ready for Rachel…but Rachel was also ready for Alberta. She worked hard on her message and her connection with voters, and that work began long before she was elected leader. It paid off throughout the campaign, and nowhere was that more evident than in the TV debate. In the face of a relentless attack, she kept her cool, stayed on message and even maintained a sense of humour.

Be real: Rachel’s quick wit and highly-tuned bullshit detector are matched by her genuine caring for people, her sense of community and her passionate belief in what the NDP stands for. She had the confidence to let that all shine through authentically; none of it felt forced or insincere. And voters — and the media — clearly recognized it.

Check out the full article here… and let’s talk about what lessons (and inspiration!) you drew from Rachel’s victory. What do you think communicators can learn from Tuesday night’s results?

Photo from Rachel Notley’s Facebook Page.

Your members may be your most powerful messengers

Tuesday, April 30th, 2013

Still image from BCTF ad Teachers SpeakWhen you’re creating an ad, the sheer range of choices available to you can make you feel like a seven-year-old set loose in a giant toy store. Brainstorming sessions sometimes go something like this:

“We could have a talking CGI animal!”
“Wait, how about a movie trailer parody?”
“Oh! Oh! We could get Carly Rae Jepsen and Justin Bieber to sing a duet about wage parity!”
“Yeah, I like that! And we do it against a backdrop of kittens playing among ancient Greek ruins…”
“We could crowdsource the kittens in a nation-wide contest, and the winner would get a CGI version of their kitten…”
“…voiced by…three words: William. Freakin’. Shatner.”

High-concept ideas are sometimes perfect for the communications task at hand… but not always. Often, a simple, direct approach can deliver a message with far more impact. When people feel like you’re speaking to them honestly and authentically, they can be more open to your message. (more…)