In case you haven’t noticed, it’s local election time again. Whatever happens we are going to have a change of mayor now that Julie Hardaker has decided to stand down after two very successful terms.
As the new mayoral hopefuls line up, existing councillors go for re-election and new candidates throw their hats into the ring, it’s going to be an interesting journey.
One of the challenges they all face will be how to get their various messages across. Restricted budgets present part of the challenge but the real challenge comes down to choice of media and how to use each one effectively.
I’ve been in the industry for 30 years and have seen unbelievable change over that time. And in the last five years there’s been more change than in the first 25 put together. Looking back to when I first started out in the advertising business, there were two TV channels, a couple of radio stations in every market, a local newspaper and a few other options. If you wanted to get a good word of mouth campaign happening, you could head to the local pub and have a chat to the barman.
Nowadays there are more TV channels than you could ever watch, even more radio stations, outdoor options, daily and weekly newspapers and of course the internet with news and information on everything and the ultimate word- of-mouth weapon, social media. It makes life very interesting for us all and means some hard choices for all the candidates looking to put together a strong campaign.
So here are some free tips for them all.
Tip one: Think in multi layers. You need to have a variety of options in order to reach your audiences. One or two won’t cut it given the differences in media consumption patterns and the fragmentation within each media.
Tip two: Use each media for its strengths and keep every execution as simple as possible. For example, billboards need to be read and understood from a distance by someone who is travelling at least 50km per hour. So try to get your message across in 12 words or less. Radio ads need to paint a verbal picture, convey your personality and have room to breath. Don’t try to fill in the 30 seconds with wall-to-wall words – give yourself space to cut through. Social media is called social media for a reason. It’s about conversations and comments. It’s not a hard sell medium or a place to be too pushy. Use it to express your thinking, not to ram it down people’s throats. Think of it as trying to start a fire that spreads via other people commenting and sharing. Print needs to be clear, simple and visually strong. Use the minimum amount of words you need to get your message across and have a strong call to action – in the case of election it’s likely to be to a website where you can include a lot more information.
Tip three: Remember the rule of repetition. Whatever your messages, make sure you consistently repeat them in every media, in every conversation. If you stand for nothing you’ll fall for anything, so make sure you stand for something.
Tip four: Be yourself. Whatever you put in place, you have to make it a true expression of yourself. Don’t let anyone convince you to do something you don’t think reflects who you are and what you represent.
Looking forward to seeing it all unfold. And the last tip to all the readers – get out and vote. We live in a democracy which is a privilege so make sure you exercise the right so many others don’t have.