SWOT – Four Questions for Every Campaign by Ron Turner

By at September 13, 2013 | 1:02 pm | Print

SWOT – Four Questions for Every Campaign by Ron Turner

Ron Turner

SWOT Analysis

SWOT analysis is a structured planning method used to evaluate the Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats involved in a project or in a business venture, as described in this Wikipedia article. I have found this is also a useful way to approach political campaigns. For the political environment, here is how we frame the relevant questions using a SWOT formulation. First, we brainstorm and make lists for each category; then we score and rank items in order of importance—using either telephone polls or informal conversations in the community.

Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats

Strengths: What do people like and praise about the candidate? What are the candidate’s accomplishments and abilities? Which personal and professional attributes appeal to voters?

Weaknesses: Likewise, what are the limitations and exposures? What will be exploited by adversaries? Be honest. This is opposition research in the mirror. Discovering the right answers will facilitate a proactive preemption strategy.

Opportunities: What issues resonate in the community? Particularly which issues intersect with the candidate’s passions and abilities?

Threats: Who are the strongest opponents? Is there somebody who I am underestimating? Am I running against the wrong person who may not actually have much support or popularity?

Brainstorming as a group will generate multiple ideas for every category. That’s great. But don’t forget to rank them in importance. Get different points of view. Talk to people in different communities.

Be Sure to Quantify and Prioritize

We conduct recorded telephone polls with questions in each category to quantify personal favorability, the relative importance of current issues, and the impact of candidates’ personal attributes. Voters press digits 1-5 to express their responses ranging from very favorable to very unfavorable, very important to not at all important, and very positive to very negative. The results provide a quantitative SWOT analysis that can either confirm your hunches or redirect your efforts.

I recommend that you take some time and look at your campaign using this framework. Be sure to use some sort of scoring framework to prioritize your efforts.

Ron Turner, Founder and CEO of People Calling People. Services include low-cost automated polls that report voters’ priority issues, test message points, and rank favorability. PCP also conducts live voter outreach programs. In 2011, Ron launched frontrunner2020 to support and encourage those on the journey towards elected office.

People Calling People    Frontrunner 2020    214 295 9553  


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