A Strong Message Makes for a Strong Candidate Campaign by Sophie Thurber

By at November 2, 2015 | 11:20 am | Print

A Strong Message Makes for a Strong Candidate Campaign by Sophie Thurber

Sophie Thurber

A strong, clear message is the cornerstone for any candidate campaign, plain and simple. If you can’t tell voters who you are and why their vote for you will make a difference, your candidacy is going to be one epic uphill slog. So, where do you start?

  • Get thyself a message box. The good old Tully Message Box may seem like a simplistic exercise for such a complex problem, but its simplicity is what makes it so useful. The message box is divided into quadrants, each with its own question:What do you say about yourself? What do you say about your opponent? What does your opponent say about herself? What does your opponent say about you? Distilling your candidacy into four little boxes forces you to really hone in on what it is that you’re trying to say, in the plainest terms possible.
  • Create contrast. The message box exercise will also help you to figure out how best to emphasize the differences between you and your opponent. This is critical in any candidate campaign—you need to establish why you’re the better choice, and part of that is letting voters know how you and your opponent compare.
  • Keep it short. I say this a lot, but brevity is key. You want to be able to tell someone in one or two concise sentences what your campaign is all about and why you’re the candidate that can get the job done.
  • Repeat, repeat, repeat and then do it some more. Part of message development for any candidate campaign is about choosing a message and staying on it. Yes, there may be different circumstances that require variations on the theme, but your basic message should always shine through. This all means that once you land on your message, you should take time to practice it. You need to be well prepared to bridge back to it when reporters (or voters, or opponents) try to take you off topic.

Messaging for candidate campaigns, in a nutshell, is all about telling people who you are and why you’re the right pick for the job. Keep it short, sweet and simple.

Sophie Thurber, Senior Account Manager The Campaign Workshop; a political and advocacy advertising agency in Washington D.C. that provides strategy, digital advertising, direct mail and training services to non-profit and political clients. Sophie was The Campaign Workshop’s first employee in the Spring of 2009, and has since produced direct mail, print and digital work for all manner of Democratic campaigns and causes.

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