It’s no secret that political candidates use digital marketing to support, and often boost, their campaigns. Obama was the first president to really dive into digital marketing and embrace it to spread information and sway voters. In the 2016 Presidential election, we watched as Trump used social media to pull the win. Seeing how some of the most powerful people in the world rely on digital marketing, you can use their strategies to benefit your own business.
Identity – Whether you are an established brand or just starting out, it’s always a great idea to build awareness and market your identity. This establishes you for the future and begins to build you as a viable option in the eyes of consumers. For example, Trump was an established brand through business and entertainment. He piggybacked off of this to to attract attention online, leveraging his existing identity to promote his run for president. Hillary Clinton was the former first lady but didn’t build up or make her branding more appealing digitally.
Takeaway: Focus a large part of your marketing on building your brand and making it known to more people. If you are already an established brand, you should continue this marketing but mold it into establishing credibility and being seen as reliable and trustworthy.
Communication – Candidates often take the same topic, or message, and communicate it differently to voters. Take the 2020 Presidential race – coronavirus is a hot topic but both candidates address it in an entirely different way. This extends beyond the actual information they are attempting to share but is also present in their tone and approach. In digital marketing, tone is absolutely critical and you have but a few seconds to snare attention. How you phrase things is equally as important as what you are trying to say.
Takeaway: In business, you and your competitors are essentially selling the same product or service, which is like a message. Standing out from competition requires delivering that information in a more unique way. It isn’t about what platforms you use or how much you spend on marketing. Creating clever phrases and being able to draw their attention to the heart of your message is key. Try communicating differently than others in your industry and gauge the results.
Positioning As The Solution – One thing that resonated well online was how politicians would frame each other the problem and state that they are the solution. This would turn into memes, GIFs and other forms of entertainment during campaign runs. The interaction from voters was hard to beat and jokes or nicknames were likely to stick.
Takeaway: Unlike politics, keep it clean. You don’t need to bash your competition – while it may work in politics, it is off-putting to consumers and makes your company seem petty. Instead, frame problems in a more generic way. For instance, if you sell toilet paper, don’t attack Cottonelle by name but perhaps highlight the industry problem of rough, scratchy toilet paper and how your soft, fluffy, absorbancy is the solution. This allows you to highlight a well-known problem associated with an industry or brand without losing the loyalty of consumers. This influences your brand online and can provide very successful digital marketing campaigns.
Platform Savvy – President Trump credited his campaign win to the power of social media. Social media platforms are essential ways to reach voters, share facts and information and keep them in the loop. Voters like to feel part of the action and get to know candidates better. With digital marketing, they can interact and be informed immediately and easily with candidates and issues. The more a voter feels connected, the more likely they will form a bond with a politician and vote in their favor.
Takeaway: Social media platforms are extremely powerful for businesses as well. The way they connect voters to candidates is exactly how it connects consumers to businesses. Consumers can form a bond with companies, learning from a brand and feeling valued for their opinions. Staying in the loop and feeling appreciated are big ways in which a customer forms a loyal bond with a brand. Social media is going to be your biggest tool in every aspect of digital marketing – building a brand, increasing sales, acquiring life-long customers, etc.
No matter whom you vote for in any election, you can learn valuable advertising strategies for your business from how candidates promote themselves through digital marketing.
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