An entrepreneur who wants to import goods from another country needs to perform some task in order to accomplish his/her goal. First is to make inquiry on the products, the country where such purchase will be made, find out if it requires their physical present, if that is expedient, they need to procure traveling passport, obtained a visa from the country embassy, purchase a flight ticket and travel. Someone with a vision to lead need to formulate strategy, they need a vehicle that is capable to taking them to destination. The same way political party is a vehicle to a politician seeking leadership position.
According to Webster dictionary, “strategy is a careful plan or method for achieving a particular goal usually over a long period of time”. It also entails the skill of making or carrying out plans to achieve a goal. Put in a simpler form, strategy is a chosen method or plan to bring about a desired future, such as achieving a goal or solution to a problem. It is the art and science of planning and marshaling resources for their most efficient and effective use. Politician that wants to excel in their political career must be vast strategically to undertake a political journey that is often unpredicatable. Most successful and famous politicians are known to be great strategist. It is very important to note here that this method applies to any kind of leadership position whether in religious organisation, political organisation, economic organisation there is always a leadership needs and for such a leader to emerge they must follow an existing process that is acceptable to all.
As a candidate aspiring to leadership position, you must develop a winning strategy to accomplish your aspiration and dreams. You should be able to ask yourself these vital questions such as: Are you a challenger, an incumbent, or running for an Open seat? Are you well-funded, or under-funded? What’s your candidate’s background? Who is your opponent? What are the Cutting issues of this election? You are not expected to know it all, but as a person seeking exalted office, you should have some basic idea and proffers answers to the above salient questions. You don’t need to handle it yourself because there are aids around you to advice you on it, if possible get a consultant to structure your campaign programe.
In doing this for instance you have to develop political marketing tactics that really work. This includes talk show appearances to direct mail leaflets, a wide variety of techniques are used to influence public opinion of a political party, policy or candidate. According to Nick Gibson; “before you start marketing your party or candidate, you’ll need to prepare a public relations strategy. Learn how to deal with the media and generate buzz for your political candidate” The following are political marketing devices that can swing vote in your favour.
Develop A Narrative: The narrative is the story behind a candidate; their history, their beliefs, their personality and all of the traits and characteristics that make them worth voting for.
For example in 2008 Presidential Election between Barack Obama and John McCain, their narrative competed against each other in public domain. John McCain’s narrative was that of a proud war veteran made serious sacrifices for his country, while Obama was that of a political outsider whose fresh approach and focus on creating real change would transform politics. In fact, having a narrative is one thing, crafting a narrative that your voter base can relate to is one of the most important elements of running a political marketing campaign. A good narrative needs to be believable and relevant to the audience whose support you’re campaigning for.
Another example of a political narrative is the brand change of the UK’s Labour Party prior to the 1997 general election. Under Tony Blair, the narrative of the party changed from being an ‘old-fashioned’ left wing party to a more centrist party focused on refreshing and energising British politics. Creating a narrative is a branding strategy not unlike the tactics used by companies such as Nike and Apple. Instead of a product or company becoming a brand, a party or political candidate becomes a marketable brand that people can relate to.
Social Media Marketing: If you need the fastest platform to creating awareness in this 21st century, I can conveniently let you know that Social media is one of the most effective platforms for raising awareness of political issues, encouraging people to vote, and promoting political candidates. Since social media is primarily used by young people, it’s a great platform for energising a voter demographic that’s typically uninterested in mainstream politics.
For instance creating a Facebook page is the common method and cost free. This allows a political marketer to reach wide audience. However, this method is proving to be effective in communicating with existing supporters, not as effective to expand your base easily. Hence you need to device another method to attract new supporter’s base through the use of memes and videos.
It is common to see funny image and interesting videos on Facebook and Twitter users being share. It is a platform to raise awareness of a candidate by creating viral videos and pictures or raise a strong political debate that can work in your favour. However, care must be taking in the process of engineering virility because strong desperation to make a video or image go viral can often have the opposite of the intended effect. You must try as much as possible not to make it too artificial.
Negative campaigning: In some part of the world, winning an election tend to be taking as do or die thing, but it’s not supposed to be that way. You can engage in hot argument without throwing a fist. To win an election only requires a particular candidate to have more votes than their closest rival. The two ways to achieve this is; make strong emphasis to the good things you intend to achieve, then make a strong emphasis to the bad things your rival will do. This has to be done without taking things to the extreme or show sign of malice. Example of this is the attack advertisement; ads that talk about a candidate’s record of dodgy dealings, their questionable history or their political failures. There should be verifiable documentary evidence to show the public for you to be taking serious; otherwise it may expose your desperation for power and counter-productive in an environment with people of rational and independent thinking.
In reality some people felt negative campaign might seem dirty and unsportsmanlike; the fact is if well-articulated with substantial evidence to back it up, there is great benefits to derive from it. Its target is the voters of sane mind who attained election age. This category of people can form opinion on their own, if the issues raised are found to be true about their supported candidate, there is the likelihood of switching.
Negative campaign can be conducted using various news medium. You have the choice to prioritise and leverage on cost base on your target audience, and this in itself is a strategy that will work in your interest. However, you must have something positive on your side and can be incredibly effective when done right; negative marketing can be ineffective without the positive campaign to support it.
From the above, we can understand the importance of strategy as instrument to aspire to political position, and identified three ways to achieve it which is by: Developing A Narrative, Social Media Marketing, and through Negative campaign. In our next series, we shall discuss how the formulation of suitable and attractive manifesto can help leaders to attained political position. Your opinion and feedback is expected on the comment column. Do you like the piece? Kindly share.