Topics: Podcast, Week in Review, Email, Branding, First-Time Candidates

Campaign Branding


Week in Review - Episode 32 - Campaign Branding

  • Competitor Emails [0:51]
  • Branding for Political Campaigns [2:12]
  • Social Listening Update from The Prosper Group [20:40]

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TRANSCRIPT - Episode 32 - Campaign Branding


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TRANSCRIPT: Episode 32 - Campaign Branding

You are tuned in to the Week in Review presented by The Prosper Group. Where the right turns to win online. Join us each week as we take a look at what is happening in digital advocacy and politics with a right of center focus.

Welcome back to The Prosper Group. Week in Review each week. We cover politics and digital from right of center for campaign professionals, political insiders, elected officials, and candidates for office from The Prosper Group. I'm your host, Dan Huber on today's show. We'll talk about competitor emails, campaign branding.

And your weekly social conversation update using Social Listening from The Prosper Group. All right, this week, we're going to start, as we normally do with the weekly digital tip. Last week, we talked about setting up news alerts this week. We're going to talk about subscribing to competitor email lists.

It's pretty straightforward and simple, some low hanging fruit for your campaign. But stay on top of and see what your competition is saying. It's a best practice that I would encourage you to do simply go out go to their website or whatever it is, and sign up for their email, their email list. Very simple.

Most websites, most campaigns will have a basic sign up. If your website doesn't have a basic sign up for your email address, I would certainly encourage you to do that as well. But a couple of things here, I, I would probably recommend not using a campaign, email address to sign up for someone else's campaign updates.

If I saw that as a campaign manager, I'd probably blast those out of my system or suppress them. But what you can do, I'd use something like a g-mail or an apple email address, just sign up, see what everybody is saying and keep your ear to the ground. Very simple and straightforward.

Next we're going to discuss campaign branding. So I just want to go through this real quick. Your campaign branding is useful for. All sorts of things, but this will probably be particularly helpful for first time candidates, even though the information here applies to all races, your branding, it's important to your digital, but it's important to the entire campaign that you have.

So it's something that ideally will have reflections in pretty much everything the campaign does, whether it's t-shirts collateral video Direct mail, certainly campaigns. Certainly campaigns will use it in their digital presence, but you really want to have a clear and consistent brand for your campaign.

So there's a few things that you want to consider this defining your brand as something you really want to do at the outset of your campaign and that you want to have it ready. When you announce that you're running for office, you need to consider a few things you want to think about. What gives you credibility for your campaign?

What differentiates your campaign? You should think about some questions about your district and the race running for in particular. And maybe even thinking about like the longterm path that you're hoping to follow. So some things you might think about is how conservative is your district or your area on the, on the flip side, how liberal is your district or areas?

You see this a lot, some local elections, you may see just the standard Republican elephant on a sign. This is great. If you live in a district, that leans very conservative. So if you're an an R plus 20 district where, the majority of the voting goes to Republicans, heavy Trump districts - probably represented by a Republican member of Congress. You might want to go with an elephant on your brand. Particularly if you're running for a local county election, maybe, maybe a state delegate, state, Senate, something along those lines that might be a consideration. You might want to consider something else to look at.

Thinking about colors that are important to you in the community. I know that I've seen races in Wisconsin that use green and gold, obviously. There's a professional sports team in Wisconsin that uses green and gold. So probably some correlation that you're looking for there from a general positive feedback.

We see a lot of red, white, and blue. I grew up in Nebraska, I've seen campaigns that use predominantly red. And I think part of that association with the Nebraska, Nebraska, scarlet and cream particularly one candidate I can think of who wasn't as tied to the state and used red, I think to offset that perspective of what that was, but colors do have meaning.

And it's important to think about. Some colors are more compassionate or decisive. Some are more patriotic or progressive liberal. There are certain color schemes, certain color tones, different colors and different messages. So a neon color sends a very different color than, or different, very different message than a pastel color.

These are all things that, as you're thinking about your brand, somebody needs to be, taking into consideration as the candidate that may not be at the top of your mind, although you may think I want to go with standard red, white, and blue, which I would venture to guess. Yeah, probably at least 50% of American political campaigns use red, white, and blue as their colors.

And that's great. There's nothing wrong with that. There's a reason that people do that. It relates to those are our colors as a country, and that's what we see on the American flag. That's what we associate with government and government. So. There's definitely an opportunity there to be intentional about the colors that you're selecting.

Something else you can think about much similar to, do you want a Republican elephant on your branding and your campaign logo or sign? Is there anything about the office that you're running for, or your background, something that you want to truly differentiate or maybe find credibility?

So I think about particularly in local elections, we see for maybe like a county attorney or something like that, you might have someone who wants to identify themselves as a lawyer related to the law. So. They might include a gavel or somebody running for judge. If you live in an area that elects judges, they might include a gavel so that you make the mental connection between the name and know the law and try and really like create some associations that are positive to what you're trying to accomplish.

There. Some other things that you want to think about as you're thinking about your branding are how to refer to your campaign. So there's a couple of things to think about here. What sets you apart? I'm probably going to, a couple of times, refer in this conversation to Adrian Smith for Congress.

So Adrian Smith was the first campaign I worked on full-time back in 2005, 2006, when he was running for Congress the first time. I really enjoyed working with Adrian and managed his campaign. He's a great member of Congress and he's still serving today. And the branding that we established back in 2005 is still consistent with the branding he's using today.

But, Smith obviously is a very common name. It's one that a lot of people have heard. And this district in particular that he ran there was Virginia Smith before him not directly, but had established her name there. So it was a positive name to have, but it's also not the most differentiated name in the world, but Adrian is.

And his website was So that helps differentiate that Adrian. That's one example. I also think about one of our clients that we like to talk about and we work with a lot is at least to phonic and at least a lot of her branding for the campaign really focuses on her first name, Elise, you know, she's established kind of a unique identity with that name and it's something that she's used to really.

You know, differentiate her. So I think depending on the name that you have as kind of a resource, I think about my name Dan, if I ever wanted to run for office, which I'm not saying in any way that I want to, but trying to differentiate as "Dan" would be a little more difficult than trying to differentiate with a name, like "Elise" that has a lot more of a unique characteristic to it.

So I think that's worth thinking about the other thing is, is. When you put your branding together, usually there's some sort of reference to what you're running for if you're running for an elected office. So Adrian Smith is Adrian Smith for Congress and his, his campaign logo has Congress clearly written across it, but there are some situations where.

There are elected officials or candidates for office who may be thinking about running for more than one office. And there's kind of a variability out there every once in a while you see candidates who are thinking about running for governor or US Senate, and they may officially announce for one, but be cognizant of the fact that they may switch to the other.

And so in that scenario, you might have. A sign or branding that focuses on the state. So you might focus on the state of Indiana, Dan Huber for Indiana, as opposed to Dan Huber for governor or Dan Huber for Senate. So there's certainly some considerations there that you want to be thinking about depending on the realities of your race and what you're running for.

So one of the first things, obviously you're going to do, you're going to establish a logo or really it's kind of more. What we call a wordmark usually. So yeah, wordmarks are usually how do we brand a specific name for something? So when you're running for an office, usually your branding around your name, because when you go and vote, you vote for that name.

And so you want to make sure that your branding is focused on. Selling and conveying that name consistently to really ingrain it and voters' minds and establish that kind of positioning of... I want so-and-so to be the member of Congress. So you want to tie in that affiliation, circling back to what I was just saying about maybe Dan for Indiana, in that case.

You're at least trying to reserve the, okay. Dan's running for a statewide office. So I should think of him in a statewide way. So ideally if you're going to run for. One or the other, when people do finally go and vote in the primary election and then the general election, they see, oh, there's Dan, I'm going to vote for Dan.

Although again, not always the easiest to differentiate with, but you know, we have seen it here in Indiana. It's. We've actually elected a Dan to the Senate. So definitely something worth thinking about. So beyond the wordmark again, you're also thinking about your colors very specifically. You want to think about Pantone colors.

For people who work with colors and design, like there's very specific colors that are associated with, and it's based on, going to the color wheel, how much of the different primary colors are involved there, but defining that will help create a consistent experience across your brand. So sometimes it's not just.

Well, really, it's not just about the word markets, also kind of a consistent feel. I go from one material to another, am I getting the sense that this all ties together and part of a bigger thing, I would encourage you for many campaigns to do that as much as possible. Although there's different ways and different approaches to make decisions, but for most campaigns, you're really going to want to try and have a consistent feel.

Both in design elements, including elements within the word wordmark as well as colors. Think about those things as you're, as you're critiquing you know, Adrian Smith's campaign. If you look at Adrian, and look at his logo, you'll notice that the ‘I’ in Smith is dotted with a star.

That also is an intentional thing that gives differentiation. Again, gives that call back to the American flag, that kind of patriotic feel. So I would just encourage you to think about what is it that you're trying to convey? What, what relates you to local things within your state in some places.

Campaigns use a state outline as part of their kind of branding. And there's nothing wrong with that. I think probably some states lend themselves to that more than others. And in other states, maybe you incorporate the state seal. I know in Indiana, we see that frequently. We have kind of a torch and star approach that I think really lends itself to that, some of the state seals, maybe don't.

Yeah. The most traditional seals, I think about Nebraska, for example, I think incorporating the complexity of a seal like that into your branding might be a bit of a challenge and be a little too complex. So there is a certain amount of wanting to keep it simple. And concise in that process. So as you're doing this, and again, you really should tie down your branding before you really fully launch into a campaign.

You know, if you're in an exploratory phase, that's probably a good time to be putting together your branding approach and, a few things to think about absolutely include your consultants and your branding. So when you kick off a campaign, hopefully you've identified a general consultant or at least like someone with some political experience that can help in that decision making process.

Ideally you'll have a digital vendor. A lot of times the digital vendor will have a designer that can help you create that initial branding and give you some options of both kind of the design elements and the colors that you want to have. And you can have a few variations and really hone in on how you want the branding for your campaign to be okay.

Definitely consider the insights on that, but also take into consideration the important details, like characteristics of the office, how conservative, how liberal is the district, are there geographic. Or they're geographic or, natural things that, and inherently define the office you're running for that you want to tie back to, or, maybe even that you want to avoid for whatever reason, maybe there's a geographical advantage or disadvantage that you don't want to draw attention to.

So these are all things to be thinking about along the way. I think I mentioned briefly earlier, you're going to use your design elements throughout the campaign. You should have them incorporated into a website. They should be incorporated in collateral signs. Really, your logo should be included in any positive PR promotion.

Whether it be TV ads, that sort of thing. So, really keep it consistent. talking about consistency and again, talking about Adrian Smith, so that logo, his branding was really established back in 2005 for running for office in 2006. And here we are, 16 years later. Yeah, it's still consistent.

It works for him and, it's something that's really established. In the district and it also allows you to continue using, if you have yard signs, each election cycle, you can get those signs out. So they don't have to be replaced each time. Now on the flip side, there are times that you want to rebrand and again, there are costs associated with that.

So there's advantages to keeping a brand, but. Maybe you want to change up your brand for, for whatever reason, maybe, maybe you're looking to change your persona or the way the district perceives you. So, it could be perhaps you got some negative press and you're trying to change, from a harsher, more solid tone to maybe a little more empathetic.

And you want to convey that through a visual presence and changing your branding. So that might be one of. One reason to do that, maybe you're running for a different office. And so, you want to build off of what you have, but you also want to adjust somewhat, we see presidential campaigns often rebrand between the primary and the general.

Once they've secured a nomination, you'll see. Not just the addition, usually of a vice presidential candidate, which usually goes into their branding, but maybe they adjust the color somewhat. Not, not always, but they think about, how am I going to change my persona? And that does align with changes in Political positions, that sort of thing.

So definitely something to think about when is the right time to rebrand, if that's something you'd want to do, but I would be very intentional about why you would make a deliberate change to your overall branding. If it's not working, obviously you should consider realigning your branding, but if it is.

You should have a good reason for making that change. So take the time to establish and be deliberate about your brands as you head off into a campaign. Most, most candidates for office probably around this time are making their decision if they're going to run in 2022. So definitely think about that.

If you already are running. And if you've been investing in getting your name and branding out there now's probably not the time to make that change. But if you don't have any collateral, if you don't have a website if you've only, put together Palm cards while maybe depending on the size of your race, maybe it is a time that you can tie down your branding and get something that you can be committed to for the long haul.

So that's it today on branding. We're going to wrap up as we normally do with your weekly social listening updates. Every weekday, we send out the am rundown powered by Social Listing from The Prosper Group that's packed with. That's packed daily with a social summary, social trends and politics and a digital best practice.

So let's go ahead and look at the conversations we're tracking. We're going to start with. Some topics that have been pretty sticky that we've been following throughout the year at various points. Some of them pretty consistently the first being filibuster. So this is a conversation that continues to be pushed by the left to end the filibuster.

You know, this is, we have the majority in the house. We have the majority in the Senate and we have a democratic president. So we want to be able to railroad through the things that we want. And, there are certainly progressives or for liberals who are really pushing to end the filibuster so that they can have their way with legislation at the federal level.

That's up 1% to about 150, 2000 tweets this past week. So, it's not a big change, but it's still a sizeable amount of conversation that's going on there. The conversation around the border. We haven't talked about this for a few weeks, but it continues to be a hot topic and I don't think it's going anywhere.

So we're going to continue to follow this as one of our sticky topics. That conversations are 55% this week, over last week. And right now we're measuring about 35,000 tweets that have occurred related to the border conversation. We're continuing to follow gas prices. The week ending September 13th, the average price in the United States for gas was $3, 16 and a half cents per gallon.

That's down 1.10 cents per gallon, but the conversation has gone down 18% this week. Also, I'm guessing as we go into the fall, that's going to continue to drop a little bit. So we'll see how that goes. Current events. So these are, what's happening now. The thing is that we're really paying attention to California recall occurred this week.

California, governor Gavin Newsom was not recalled. That conversation was up 153% this past week. And the other conversation we're following is the Texas abortion conversation. The. Administration’s Justice Department continues to pursue actions against Texas for their heartbeat law.

And yet, despite the new actions that are coming out of the Attorney General's office, the conversation is down 82% this week, week over week. So that's our social report for the week. Check back every week for tracking and analysis of social conversations around important topics of the day. If you want to receive the am rundown in your inbox, every weekday go to https://prospergroupcorp/am-rundown.

Thanks for listening. The Prosper Group Week in Review is produced and published every Friday. Subscribe, enjoy your week, and download again next week. Thanks. You can find our Prosper Group Week in Review podcasts on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. If you like the show, please subscribe and share.

The Prosper Group is an internationally recognized, award-winning digital marketing agency headquartered in Indianapolis. The firm specializes in online media, strategy, and fundraising for Republican political candidates, advocacy organizations, associations, and non-profits. The Prosper Group's best-in-industry work has been recognized for awards dozens of times by prestigious organizations such as the American Association of Political Consultants and Campaigns & Elections.

The firm has worked in tandem with Trump for President 2016, Vice President Mike Pence, Senator Ted Cruz, Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, Congressman John Katko, the National Association of Manufacturers, Fox News, and many other candidates and organizations.

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