A political campaign is an organized effort, put together to influence the decision-making process within a specific group. In democracies, political campaigns often refer to electoral campaigns, by which representatives are chosen.
A campaign team can comprise of as less as just one inspired individual or a heavily resourced group of professionals. One essential purpose of a campaign team is that they much know how to communicate the message of the election campaign, raise money and recruit volunteers. There are various ways to advertise a political campaign, borrowing techniques from commercial advertising and propaganda. These techniques are bundled up into a formal strategy known as the campaign plan. The plan takes into account the campaign’s goal, message, resources available and the target audience.
Across the world, the environment around political campaigns is changing at an astonishing rate. With the introduction of online media and various other modes of advertising and promotion, the change is no surprise at all.
Given below are a few recent trends in political campaigning-
- The ever-increasing volatility of the electorate– With the introduction of many new candidates, who are popular with the ‘new-age’ voters, election campaigns can no longer as reliably count on the support of loyal, regular voters. A party, therefore, has to continually re-invent itself, innovate and win the support of voters every day anew. It also makes the development of a coherent and timely message even more important: A campaign has to give its target voters a reason why they should vote for their candidate or their party, and not one of the competing ones. This is also a challenge for new parties, which sometimes are very successful at the outset, but then find it challenging to sustain that success.
- New challenges for public opinion research– Related to the development of an appealing and timely message is the importance of public opinion research. The recent years have seen a good deal of talk in the last few years, about the challenges faced by survey research professionals. However, the polling industry is facing new and old challenges. The new ones have a lot to do with the changing lifestyles of voters, the old ones with the hesitation to spend on solid research designs and the incompetence of many with respect to the interpretation of the data. Now more than ever, good public opinion research has a lot to do with listening to voters. In that respect, focus group discussions remain one of the great tools political professionals have to really understand the concerns of voters.
- Authenticity wins elections – Since everyone sees political candidates say something in their campaigns and not keep their word when they are elected. This is why voters have been craving for the real deal these days. They are ready to forget and forgive a lot of their candidate’s character flaws and other shortcomings as long as they are getting the real deal shown in campaigns.
- Digitalization is changing political campaigns– The influence of social media alone on election campaigns has been huge these past few years. The fact that everyone is becoming dependent on their phones for a variety of things and not just for communication purposes, from getting daily news to checking the time, everything is being done digitally. In the past couple of years, politics has found its way in too. Advertises and questionnaires, online polls have started appearing on the web, due to increased use of the internet, which has become a valuable fundraising tool. Apart from that, there are phone calls, SMS, emails sent, reminding everyone to vote. Nowadays, basically everybody is online, and an increasing number of people are more or less permanently online. This has significant consequences regarding the speed of our communication and the diversity of the channels and tools we use. Social media allows citizens to call their leaders out immediately, and to share quotes and footage, which clearly demonstrate that digitalization is changing campaigns.
- Experience is less important– The world is changing so fast that younger leaders may be better positioned to understand current challenges. Indeed, there are several leaders who fit the category of the so-called slim fit politicians. This doesn’t mean experience has become unimportant for voters, but rather that we are no longer in a situation where more experience is always better, meaning that a candidate needs to convince voters that he or she is able to do the job. Once a candidate can make that case and can pass that threshold, other criteria become more critical, and comparatively, young age can even be an advantage. One might say, instead of a lot of experience with not much credibility, a voter in today’s day age will look for a signature accomplishment and a political offer that was appealing to many voters.
The five trends mentioned above are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to political campaign trends that have come out in these recent years. There are many new trends which have already shown significant influence on how an election campaign is marketed these days and many more which are yet to make an impact. All trends are going to be essential and useful for campaigning as long as the message of the campaign is shared with the voters in a proper manner, and these trends have such a broad reach. Since more people get to know about these campaigns with the trends in the recent days, these trends are found to be useful to not only the candidate, but the voters as they get to know a lot more about the political party and their candidate. The candidates because they get to know about what the voters desire and need in a much easier way,