Presidential campaigns are often referred to as the original start-ups. Much like a small business, they have to build a team that is nimble and ready to respond to the needs of their audience.
While it may seem like candidates traveling the country giving stump speeches have little to nothing in common with your business, there are lessons every small business can learn from the ways that political campaigns operate.
Whether you’re a supporter of Hillary, Bernie, Donald, or Ted you likely side with them because they are selling you on a vision that aligns with yours. That’s no accident. Presidential campaigns – and all political campaigns – are driven by messages that have been highly tested to resonate with the people they are trying to persuade. Learn what your customers want or need from your company and make sure your messaging points that out.
Those messages will change over time. Candidates are constantly adjusting and fine-tuning their messages to see what will motivate voters to turn out and following their results in the polls. While they use polling data and focus groups, your company can do the same with your customer data and sales figures to see what trends are emerging.
Campaigns also use every available means to communicate with their audiences -- whether it’s Hillary Clinton posting on Humans in New York or Republicans communicating directly with their supporters on Twitter. Businesses should use the appropriate technologies to target, communicate with, and win over their customers. That helps their supporters feel heard and it starts to build a relationship between the voter and the candidate. You can do the same by communicating regularly with your customers over social media.
The way they communicate – and the messages they use – all help each candidate develop a unique brand identity. Then, they use that identity throughout their advertising strategy. For candidates that identity is usually a strong leader who is capable of handling the challenges of the presidency. When you determine what your business’ identity is, be sure to make it clear to your customers.
Every candidate wants to run a winning campaign the same way that every business owner wants to run a winning company. By learning from their successes you can sell your brand and products the way that presidential candidates sell themselves and their vision.
Jeanne M. Buddingh is founder and partner in Buddingh & Associates, Inc., an award-winning strategic marketing consulting firm in Naperville, IL. Contact her at (630) 961-4504 or visit www.BuddinghAssociates.com.