Aside the need to produce white papers, press releases and talking points about issues and your philosophy of government, modern campaign tools and technology, an effective campaigner, along with his/her team, realizes that all resources at the candidate’s disposal should be exploited for maximum results. These tools include marketing material, publicity/the media, campaign software to remain organized and create a database, as well as making the most use of the internet such as a website, blogs, e-mail and social networks that will add exposure and interaction with the constituents.
Competing political parties must have freedom to campaign in the run-up to the election. This means they must be free to hold meetings and to communicate with voters about their ideologies and proposed policies and programs – through meetings, pamphlets, advertisements or any other legitimate means, including new information and communications technologies. Without such communication, voters will not be in a position to learn about the ideas and solutions offered by different parties and candidates, especially those who are not yet in power.
The election process gets under way well before the beginning of the campaign period. The preparation and updating of voter lists is an important process that often does not get adequate media attention although it is crucial to ensure that the principle of universal and equal suffrage is upheld.
Communications– This is one of the most important elements because an individual must develop a communication plan for earned media, paid media, and direct-to-voter contact with a campaign website, social media, brochures, press kit, press releases, e-mail newsletter, white papers, etc. as mentioned above. Gather as many e-mail addresses of voters in your district as you possibly can, and communicate frequently with them. Plan paid advertising (newspaper, TV, radio) carefully, staying within your budget and target carefully with direct mail. Look for opportunities to place stories and positive mentions in the news media. Pay attention to your on-line profile and aggressively use tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
In countries where election dates are not pre-determined there is usually an official announcement about the date(s) of a particular election. Once that is fixed the authority responsible for managing elections (such as the election commission/commissioner) begins to make preparations to ensure the smooth and secure conduct of the polls. This process, too, needs to be reported so that citizens are aware of and assured about the arrangements. You need to develop a plan to get your supporters out to vote on Election Day. In close races, this can make the difference between winning and losing.
Self-branding/image & creating a distinct identity-There are candidates seeking office due to strong feelings on a single or several issues. However, if the voters don’t share the candidate’s strong feeling, the candidate needs to determine if he is comfortable focusing on other issues. Likewise, decisions need to be made about comfort levels with negative messages including advertising. Will the campaign refer to their opponent(s) in any way? If so, what issues are fairly played? When such questions are answered, can the campaign put together a realistic strategy?
Promises– A candidate should make promises he/she believes in, take a stand on issues, but does not promise that position will be implemented. Moreover, this person should promise to stand up for certain projects not the outcome, do as much research as possible into every issue and promise being made. Most importantly, emphasis should be a value-based platform rather than a specific promise regarding an issue.
Branding-Branding is the promise that the campaign is making. It is demonstrated by the campaign logo, slogan, website, brochures, and direct mail campaigns. Further, it is demonstrated by the way a candidate’s staff answers the phones and the manner in which the candidate conducts himself/herself during public events. It is infused into all actions and interactions. For an effective marketing approach, a candidate should focus on being distinctive. Self-branding with strong yet meaningful taglines and a logo ought to be considered that people can relate. In addition, it boasts a recall factor. Clear, succinct and consistent messaging must printed on all of the campaign literature. This can be accomplished by seeking professional help for graphics and signage.
Internet and Social media – Today, technological advancement has made the internet and social networks become essential elements of electoral campaigns. The advantage of the internet and social networks cannot be underestimated as it allows messages, manifesto and electoral campaign promises of candidate to cross the country borders due to its global accessibility over traditional media such as newspaper, radio, television and magazine.