Jennifer Cromarty, tandemVox Managing Director
As we face a state election this year, I thought it would be timely to share my thoughts on exactly how a political party can win. I think it’s pretty simple, really. The decision-making of voters across the world, since our last Victorian state election in 2014, is testament to this simple idea.
Power has devolved.
Many voters have stopped listening to political leaders. People listen to people who share their values. The inherent power of political connections has passed.
In the 2014 State Election, there were clear lessons to learn:
1. People care about people
People listen and trust those in the community whose job it is to care for people like firefighters, ambulance workers, nurses, teachers. Using these people to speak on your behalf and connect with your audiences as a third-party advocate or champion for your cause, is compelling and authentic.
2. Don’t rely on traditional media to engage undecided voters
In the past, the traditional broadcast media (TV, radio, newspapers) has taken a role of the trusted, objective voice. Likewise, traditional media relied on a mass audience to absorb its content as a key source of news and factual reporting. With the proliferation of social media and other online channels, the idea of reporting on ‘news’ is now owned by individuals, opinion leaders and blog sites rather than larger media entities.
Political parties now have a multitude of niche channels to have conversations with the public. Social media has completely changed how people exchange information and opinions. If you are running a campaign you need to understand the pervasiveness of social media and adapt.
3. Have real conversations with real people
People want genuine engagement and appreciate real conversations outside of traditional media. The Labor Party in Victoria devised a strategy to engage house by house, voter by voter in 18 specific seats across the state. They identified the swinging voters in those seats and had direct conversations with them via phone or door to door. Importantly, they recruited people from within and outside of the party who held values aligned with the Labor movement. Concerns held by individual voters were identified prior to the interaction taking place, to ensure each conversation was tailored to what that particular voter valued most.
According to an article in Sydney Morning Herald back in 2014:
Phone polls, door-knocking and voter modelling based on demographic analysis was used to identify people who were “undecided” and what were their top issues. If an undecided voter’s top issue was health, they would be contacted by a nurse or paramedic; if it was education it would be a teacher; and so on. The potency of this campaign technique rests with the authenticity of the person delivering the message.
In essence, understanding the importance of genuine, authentic conversations (whether face to face, telephone or online) and building strategic relationships is essential to any campaign or strategy and is at the heart of my work with clients.
tandemVox is a registered lobby firm and Jennifer is a registered lobbyist on the Victorian Lobbyist Register.
Jennifer is running an Advocacy for Community presentation and Q&A on Monday 16 April 2018 from 12.00-2:00pm at Centrepoint Arcade, Creative Geelong Makers Hub, 6/132 Little Malop Street. Tickets including a boxed lunch is $45.