Lessons Learned from the Campaign Trail - Part 1
- August 25, 2011 by Kelli Epp, Public Affairs Specialist
For most of us, campaign season means a barrage of talking heads, stump speeches and rallies. And commercials. So many commercials. Year after year, election after election, it would appear that politicians use the same old tactics to spread their message and motivate voters.
But in reality, each high profile election brings renewed energy - and a hefty financial investment - into communication strategy and public outreach. Politicians spend billions of dollars to identify not just what message you want to hear, but more importantly, how, when and where you want to hear it. For example, many would argue that Texas Governor Rick Perry revolutionized the campaign in his most recent election by forgoing conventional communication tools like mass mailings, yard signs and robo-calls, instead opting for a more personalized and targeted approach that utilized small groups of volunteers comprised of close networks of family and friends. And in his first campaign for President, Barack Obama established an enormous network of supporters through Twitter and Facebook, setting a high standard in politics for the use of social and digital media.
Yet for all the innovative communicating that takes place on the campaign trail, government agencies themselves are often slow to demonstrate a similar commitment to public outreach. As a result, constituents feel left out and that their opinions simply don’t matter to the agencies who work on their behalf. Resentment builds and it becomes increasingly challenging for public agencies to do their jobs efficiently and effectively.
At GDC, we believe that an increased and sustained commitment to public outreach benefits communities by bridging the gap between constituents and their governments. When agencies go the extra mile and do more than what is “legally required,” people feel more informed, engaged and connected to each other and to their elected and appointed leaders.
With so many modes and methods of communication available, many agencies are overwhelmed with the task of creating a cost-effective, comprehensive communications strategy. Stay tuned for the next edition to find out how our strategy of “high touch, multiple touch, personal touch” makes that task a little less daunting.
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