Campaign Strategy Tips from a Political Strategy Firm

by Joe Fuld (He/Him)

Campaign Strategy

Put Campaign Strategy First: Lessons from a Political Strategy Firm

As a campaign strategy firm specializing in political and advocacy advertising, it is challenging to keep strategy as a primary consideration in any campaign. Various concerns, such as creativity and budget, can distract and even overshadow the pursuit of long-term and short-term strategic goals. Campaign tactics should complement good strategy and not impede it. Having clearly defined strategic targets can make a big difference.

What are your short-term and long-term strategic goals?

Balancing strategy with good campaign tactics to reach audience matters heavily. A technique that uses the right tactics can make a big difference in the outcome of your campaign. Do not lock in on a set of tactics until you are sure they will help achieve your short and long-term goals.

What is the connection between a campaign message and strategy?

A good campaign message is a natural extension of your strategy. It is the deliverable that most advocacy and political campaigns need from a political strategy firm. The go hand in hand, but it is not an instant exercise. Research, goals, and budget all come into play here.

Question your message approach: 

Messaging should not be a set-it-and -forget-it-exercise. Keep asking questions about your message like: 

What should I say to my audience to achieve my goals?
Am I talking to the right people with the right message?
Am I using the right tactics to communicate my message? 
Do I have the right communications frequency?
Is my message achieving strategic KPIs? 

It is good to keep revisiting your message approach at least quarterly. Refining and honing you message to achieve goals is imperative. 

What is your right coalition?

We talk a lot about building the right coalition for your campaign. A diverse group can make the difference between winning and losing. Make sure you take the time to build the coalition you need, not the coalition you already have. Also make sure you collaborate with your team and share concrete ideas. Do not just build in name. If you build it, use it. Having a real working coalition will make your strategy better and more effective. 

Who are the right messengers?

Good messengers and storytellers are an imperative extension of your strategy. They are a natural gateway to communicate with your coalition and persuasion targets. Make sure you take the time to recruit and engage coalition partners, donors and endorsers who could become great storytellers for your cause or campaign.  Building a culture of storytelling takes time, focus and training. 

How do you make strategic decisions?

The best strategic consulting firms cannot create a strategy without accurate information and context. That means we need factual information to make good decisions including historical context, research, goals, polling, program evaluation, and on-the-ground intelligence. Making these decisions should be a collaborative effort and overall advance toward the campaign’s short and long-term goals.

How do you get started with a campaign strategy?

Here is a quick checklist to begin forming a campaign strategy with a Political Strategy Firm or on your own:

  • Start with a planning meeting - Make sure you have the right folks at the table; you may need a pre-meeting to get the right people at the table.  
  • Assess your resources - Do a detailed assessment of what you have and need. People, time, and money are the most valuable resources in a political campaign; make sure you understand what you have and what you need to run a winning effort.
  • Define the winning coalition you want - Ask what it looks like and push yourselves to broaden your reach to get what you need. 
  • Focus on list building -  Building lists matter (fundraising, volunteers, endorsers, etc.) Building good lists and having goals and metrics are essential to a well-run campaign. 
  • Build a message - A message box exercise is a core part to building contrastive message-polling, message testing, and research.
  • Define your targets - Use all the data and insights you can to pick the best people to engage with and communicate with.
  • Define metrics to track - KPIs (key performance indicators are vital). Write down a plan to achieve your goals. 
  • Ask and know what success and failure look like - Understanding what success is and what failure looks like is more than just winning and losing. 
  • Keep goals front and center - Talk about your goals at every meeting and with every partner. A big mistake is losing focus of your goals. 
  • Have a timeline - Strategies are time-bound. Make sure you have a timeline with KPIs to achieve your strategy. 

Bottom line: Campaign strategy takes a team. 

Campaign strategy is the roadmap to success. Your campaign is ineffective without a good strategy. A good strategy is a team effort - not a solitary endeavor. Take the time for real collaborative input and focus on goals for a winning strategy with your team.

Want to find out what our Political Strategy Firm can do for you? Drop us a note!