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Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Member Blog: Marketing Strategies & Digital Media in the 2017 General Election

By Christian Michaels

Theresa May forced the UK onto another path of uncertainty by calling a surprise general election on June 8th.  A bold yet cunningly strategic move, May announced the snap election at a time when the Labour party is in obvious disarray, highlighting the tactical prowess of the Conservative party in exploiting the weakness of its competitors for its own political gain. Although dissimilar in so many ways, what joins the Conservative, Labour, Liberal Democrat, SNP, and Green parties is the necessity of devising and executing a seamless political campaign. In seven weeks.

As the party leaders traverse up and down the country trying to convince voters that they are the candidate the people can trust, it’s down to an in-house team of specialists to handle the party’s digital marketing campaigns. We’re going to explore how this general election raises some salient points about marketing, digital media and branding.

Social Media Marketing to Engage the Young

Jeremy Corbyn has undeniably resonated with the young voters of our country, with passionate people in the 18-24 age bracket coming out in full force to support the unpopular leader of the Labour Party. However, only around 40% of people who fall into this demographic voted in the previous three general elections, suggesting that all parties are failing in their attempt to reach younger audiences. The young feel disillusioned, so how can political parties make them feel included again?

Young people are a huge proportion of the population and they represent the future; as such, marketing campaigns have to speak to them. This can be done by embracing the channels that they use the most: social media platforms. Most young people use content from Twitter and Facebook to inform the opinions they make, so politicians need to ensure that this content is tailored to a young person’s tastes. This can be done by diversifying the content that’s put out and changing the tone of voice to suit young people. This can be done by sharing humorous things, creating eye-catching images with facts about the opposition emblazoned on them and using social media to speak about issues that the young care about like education, housing, debt, the environment, refugees and social justice.

Having a Comprehensive Digital Strategy

In 2015, the Conservative party spent £1.2 million of its budget on Facebook campaigns whilst Labour only put £16k into their Facebook strategy. Although this probably didn’t play a huge part in Labour’s failure to secure Downing Street, it does raise some unanswered questions about the audiences that Labour failed to reach by not investing in their Facebook campaign. It’s a shame that Labour failed to tap into the potential of this channel, indicating that political parties should capitalise on and invest in all the digital media tools that are available.


Maintaining a Strong, Consistent Brand Image

Whether deserved or undeserved, Politicians have reputations for being liars. Being in the public eye means that they’re placed under intense scrutiny, so any inconsistencies in their policies or public image won’t go unnoticed for long. Having a consistent brand image will help inspire trust in voters; this can be achieved by creating a clear branding strategy which involves establishing their objectives, ethos, principles and policies, and sticking to them.  Ultimately, people will only vote for the politician they can trust and believe has their best interests at heart. This can only be achieved through strong branding.

Although pertinent to the election, these points ring true for businesses small and large. If you want help with your social media marketing, digital media or branding, contact our friendly team.  

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