I’m jumping back into my political posting because it’s time to start rolling out campaign signs, campaign websites, and campaign literature and I have a few opinions on these things. And an opinion that is very near and dear to my heart is the concept of campaign branding. Political campaign branding involves creating a distinct and memorable identity that resonates with voters. It encompasses various elements designed to communicate the candidate’s values, beliefs, personality, and political agenda.

I’m not a political strategist or even an expert, but I do know a few things about marketing. They say it takes an average of 8 touches to make a sale, and it’s generally not one thing that makes the sale, but the culmination of all the efforts. Say you are working on signs and you come up with a great sign design and put them up all over town. Are you done? Nope. That’s just one touch. You will also have, if you are doing things right, a website. Flyers. Mailers. Maybe a newsletter. Videos. Social media. Billboards?

Everything, every single one of those items, should carry through the same branding throughout. What that means is that you need a unified look on all your marketing. If I see your billboard, and then go to your Facebook page, it should be immediately clear to me that I’m in the right place. If I land on your website or your Facebook page, and your Instagram, I should be immediately sure that I found the right person. I shouldn’t have to wonder “Is this the same person that I saw on the billboard?”

We helped a candidate out a severals years ago with her campaign materials. First, we created the logo.

Sherry Shipley Logo to demonstrate political campaign branding

Once the logo was created, she needed yard signs.

Sherry Shipley Signs to demonstrate political campaign branding

Of course, a website too.

desktop, laptop, & cell phone displaying the homepage of Sherry Shipley to demonstrate political campaign branding

And then to top it off, a billboard.

Sherry Shipley's Billboard to demonstrate political campaign branding

And of course, all of her social media was branded as well as her flyers and mailers.

Now you may notice that these aren’t exactly identical and I just said we have to use the same stuff. These all use the same logo, the same colors, and the same fonts. The only difference is that we have varied the colors in the various platforms based on the need of the location. As long as we are pulling from the same color palette, you can mix them up as needed for various platforms. For signage, contrast is the most important aspect. That sign and billboard needs to be readable from a distance when someone is traveling by car. But some places, you won’t have a dark background, so we need the same logo with the dark blue text to show up on white. Even though we’ve swapped the colors, it still is recognizable as the same brand throughout.

A tangent about Yard Signs

Let’s talk about yard signs for a minute, because I have a pretty big pet peeve about yard signs. And that is when someone tries to jam way too much information onto their sign. For the majority of people, signs are going to be read by someone either driving a car or riding in a car. Will there be people who walk by and have more time? Sure. Nothing is without exception. But for most people, they just aren’t going to have time to read that much stuff. Here’s what you need to have on your sign. Your name – as big and bold as possible, easily read from a moving vehicle. And then the office you are running for. That’s it. That’s all you need.

But what about the website URL?
I get the concept here. You want people to see your site and go to your website. But here’s the truth. By the time someone gets to their device to look get to your website, they won’t remember your URL. They’ll just Google your name. Let me tell you a story. Last election there was a candidate running for a local office. I can’t remember who it was or what they were running for, but I would see the yard signs when I was out walking my dogs. I would literally be walking by the sign, slower than a car, and still by the time I was in a place to look it up, I could never remember that URL and I make websites for a living. And so I would Google it. (And just to irritate me, the person hadn’t optimized their site for the search engines or submit their site to Google for proper indexing, so it didn’t come up in my searches. But that’s another blog post.)

So is adding a QR code a good idea?
It might be helpful for someone walking but, but realistically the people in cars aren’t going to have time to scan that QR code. QR codes on your print materials, flyers, door hangers – Yes! For sure. But on your signs, it’s likely just taking up space and distracting from the name and office.

Your job, when marketing yourself as a candidate, is to established a presence that is both memorable but also creates a sense of trust. You want someone to identify your campaign as one they trust, so that when they show up to the voting booth, they remember your name. The coordinated political campaign branding effort is really important, because it will become synonymous with your platform’s message. When someone sees your campaign assets, will it inspire a good feeling in them? How will you ensure it does?

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Amy Masson, Web Developer

Amy Masson

Amy is the co-owner, developer, and website strategist for Sumy Designs. She's been making websites with WordPress since 2006 and is passionate about making sure websites are as functional as they are beautiful.

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